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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/27/13 2:40 P

Interesting.. I have heard that around the water fountain as well and always have wondered about it. Wouldn't environmental factors have an effect as well? We certainly don't live in a biosphere of controllable variables. Considering activity level, exercise, LBM, etc. would effect how many calories a person requires to maintain their weight. Anyways, that's more in reference to maintenance calorie needs as opposed to BMR. My maintenance calorie needs are significantly higher than they were when I was 50 lbs heavier but my entire lifestyle has changed. I actually require around 300-400 cals more a day than I did when I was overweight, sedentary and didn't exercise.

I also wonder if previous studies took into account lean muscle loss during weight loss as a factor that would decrease a person's BMR. So few people who lose weight actually strength train to combat lean muscle loss; the treadmill is synonymous with weight loss but not the barbell. I imagine that would play a significant role on the difference of an individual's BMR who has always been a healthy weight vs. a person who has lost a significant amount of weight (and muscle!) at the same healthy weight.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/27/2013 (14:51)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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9/27/13 1:07 P

Just for anyone else who happens to be reading:

"There are studies that show that those of us who have lost a considerable amount of weight will always have a lower metabolism at our goal weight than those who were always that size. "

The most recent studies I've seen suggest that this is not true, that the effect is not permanent and often not even that large (especially if you haven't cut calories that low to begin with). There is plenty of anecdata here to that effect as well if you've been around -- people who were eating, say, 1300 calories a day and no longer losing, who were able to slowly increase their calories to 1600 or 1700 without gaining, then reduce again to 1500 and see a slow loss. That sort of thing.

One significant barrier to trying to lose weight myself was the perception that even trying was going to wind up screwing me up and actually *make* me heavier in the long run. I only engaged in lifestyle change for health reasons, not for losing weight. Yet now having done it, I feel perfectly comfortable at maintenance weight and maintenance calories. So I don't want to see this belief go unchallenged, lest it discourage someone else like it discouraged me.

GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,765
9/27/13 7:37 A

Thank you all for that info.

9/26/13 8:28 P

The minimum calorie amount has more to do with meeting nutritional needs; than "starvation mode." Yes, people can do "very low calorie diets" and lose weight. After months and months, the rate of weight loss may decrease. After months and months, you may feel so fatigued that you will not be burning the amount of calories 24/7 that you would if you were eating more and having more energy.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
9/26/13 1:20 P

It is a rather confusing thing, isn't it?

My understanding is that "starvation mode" is when your body slows your metabolism after a significant period of insufficient calories to allow for basic body functions. While in "starvation mode", weight loss should slow (since your body is actually using less calories than before), but not completely stop or reverse. I can't remember where I saw it, but I have seen speculation that the body may retain more water due to the hormonal changes required for the slowing of the metabolism, giving the impression that no fat is being lost for a period of time.

That said, the "minimum number of calories" is an attempt to ensure that enough foods are ingested to get in all of your basic required macro and micro nutrients. It doesn't actually do any such thing (since you can eat that number of calories with very few micro nutrients), but I suppose they have to start with a pretty broad generalization here and hope everyone learns enough about basic nutrition to fill in the rest themselves.

There is also the concern that having your body lower the metabolism will not only slow weight loss, but also cause a permanent lowering of the metabolism. There are studies that show that those of us who have lost a considerable amount of weight will always have a lower metabolism at our goal weight than those who were always that size. The idea is that eating more calories and slowly losing over a greater length of time will slow the metabolism less than doing a major drop in calories and losing the weight more quickly.

Realistically, consistently eating so little over an extended period of time is just not the best plan. It is far more difficult to get sufficient nutrition in less calories, our bodies don't function at their best with insufficient nutrition, and our bodies tend to "use" as much muscle as fat to fuel themselves when they don't get enough calories. Since losing muscle is not the best plan, then it makes sense to eat enough calories and do enough activity to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing.

I've been in the same position as you of losing significant weight during periods when I was unable to eat. I also know that I lost a significant amount of muscle during those periods. That weight / muscle loss was unplanned and unavoidable, and also unsustainable. Now that I'm in a position to plan my weight loss, I'd much prefer to take the time to maintain nutrition, maintain muscle, and maintain my metabolism at as a high a level as possible.

I honestly don't see any possible benefit to deliberately eating so little that it drops your body in to "starvation mode", with the exception being for those who have a medical need for extremely fast weight loss and do so under medical supervision with the support of supplements to maintain basic nutrition levels.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/26/13 1:00 P

There is a general misconception of what the starvation response actually does. Although there is metabolic adaption, you would still lose weight just not as much as you *should* lose at the rate of deficit you are creating because your metabolism slows down.

This article may help you understand better what the starvation response is:

"Most people believe that ”adaptation” means your metabolism will slow down so much that you stop losing weight completely. Obviously, that doesn’t happen. Everyone will lose weight on a very low calorie diet (VLCD). Metabolic adaptation means that your metabolism drops enough that your weight loss slows down as your diet progresses (sound familiar?) and you don’t lose as much weight as predicted/expected (sound familiar?) On starvation diets, you also may suffer from undesirable side effects that make life miserable (sound familiar?) and make regaining the weight more likely (sound familiar?)"

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/26/2013 (13:04)
GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,765
9/26/13 12:40 P

I am 67 years old. There have been periods in my life where I could not eat much for weeks due to health or other issues. And I lost significant weight. However all the information I read states that you have to eat a minimum of calories to lose. I am confused and don't know what to think. Any comments?

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