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CLICKMASTER1 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 89
4/3/12 12:25 P

The Starvation Mode myth has been viral for a long time. There are always two sides to a myth...the right one and the wrong one. The science is well understood and the only reason you believe it to be controversial is because you looked at the internet and found both sides.

It's a bad myth as well because it derails diets, causes people to give up or eat more when they shouldn't, gets blamed for plateaus which have REAL causes, etc. So, no, it's not a gray area which should be laid to rest. It's a meme which needs to be killed and that is what SP should be doing rather than promoting it as truth.

Good luck and good health!!

PS: dammit...I meant for this to be a private reply and clicked on the wrong icon...duh. So much for multitasking.

Edited by: CLICKMASTER1 at: 4/3/2012 (12:29)
DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
4/3/12 12:19 P

I don't think anyone has addressed the fact that the OP says she doesn't reach her calorie goal because 1) she doesn't have enough food to go around or 2) she's bored with it and doesn't eat.

I would suggest taking a hard look at what you spend your grocery money on each month. Are there a lot of processed ready-to-eat foods? The consumer pays for the processing and convenience. Does your family eat out a lot? If so, cut that down to a rare treat and focus on cooking your meals. When you shop, purchase ingredients instead of ready made stuff that you just heat and eat. Look at your store's ad each week and built your menu around the specials. In the produce section, look for what's in season and on sale and your dollar will go a lot farther than buying out of season (more expensive and probably not as tasty) fruit and veggies. Look for markdown meats you can freeze for later use. You may even want to look into couponing, if you have the time to devote to it. There are numerous threads about this with some spectacular ideas...just do a search for "grocery" or "budget" and they'll come up.

If that's still not enough to make ends meet, look into other areas of your monthly expenditures that could be cut. There are also food pantries, Angel Ministries, or other aid.

As far as boredom, you don't have to eat tasteless "diet" food. Just make the best choice possible at the time and make small changes in the way you (AND your family) eat every day. Those changes will begin to snowball and you'll notice a difference.

Lastly, are you doing any strength training? I don't see any mention of it in your original post. 60 minutes of cardio 6 days a week is too much, IMO, especially if it's steady state. Check out spark for some total body workouts you can do with little or no equipment 2 or 3 days a week, then throw in 2 cardio sessions and you should be set.

If you wanted to share your trackers folks could give you more specific advice.

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
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Posts: 1,708
4/3/12 11:48 A

OK, so this sparked(no pun intended) my interest. So I google starvation mode and found it is a highly controversial term. It also is defined in various ways that can cause folks to think one way or another about the term. It is too complex for me to try to explain in any scientific ways and even they don't have the answers either.

I can understand where one can think that if a person has plenty of fat to burn that there is no way that they could ever go into starvation mode. And I partially agree with that. True starvation mode is really for the truly starving folks that get to under 5% body fat and therefore don't have enough fat to burn and so the body robs the other body parts for nutrients.

That being said, FAT does NOT have all the nutrients that a person needs and so if we are not intaking the balanced nutrients we need, the body either has to rob other body parts are suffer the ills of some nutrient deficient affliction. Which there are many of. Even some of the folks that call starvation mode a myth acknowledge that one's body metabolism slows down as their intake/burn quotient comes closer to 0. So maybe it is overkill to say starvation mode or that one's body will gain weight due to metabolism shutdown.

But the fact is, that if one eats too little, they risk some deficiency of some kind and they can definitely feel the lack of energy to exercise. Which means they are more than likely to just sit around and do nothing, which to any thinking mind, means their metabolism is going to slow down. Kind of a perpetual way to gain weight if you ask me.

That being said, I think arguing over the exact science of "starvation mode" is not only unnecessary, but unfounded by any valid studies to be totally true or false. It's a kind of shades of gray kinda topic. But it is something that most folks can grasp without having to get a masters degree in nutrition. So I hope we can put this disagreement to rest and just accept that like so many other things and terms, they have their bell curve of accuracy and their outliers of totally off the mark. ;-)

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (78,364)
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Posts: 2,170
4/3/12 9:14 A

CLICKMASTER1: You have raised a very interesting question. I have looked at the the articles that you have posted, but found that really there is no scientific article referenced directly looking into if a metabolic slowdown happens or not. Those articles express an opinion, and fall short of proving it with scientific evidence. Many people just fall for opinion, so many authors don't bother to reference scientific articles.

But I am in no way criticizing you, actually I think the effective Forums/Message Boards are for raising questions and looking for objective answers to these questions. If you happen to come across a scientific article that evaluates metabolic rate when the subjects are overtraining and undereating, please post the link again here at the Fitness and Exercise message board. That would be enlightening. I will also look for an objective answer, and if I come across such an article, I will post it here.

As UNIDENT pointed out, I personally have experienced a lot in my long past of diets an extreme slowdown of the metabolism when my caloric intake was restricted. Even today, I am sure that once I start eating again at 1500 kCals per day, all my exercise activity will be just miserably slow (which will make me hate it) and I won't even want to get up from my chair for the daily chores. Although 1500 kCals for a male is considered the safe limit here at SP, it clearly is too low for me! I have burned more fat at a higher caloric intake, and I am right now at a weight of 15 years ago.

SERRANO85 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 16
4/3/12 7:42 A

Thank you each one of you for taking time and give me tips and advice I truly appreciated...

CLICKMASTER1 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 89
4/3/12 7:05 A

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain what I have already explained. Nor, is this forum the proper place to resolve petty disagreements and clutter topics with information not helpful to the OP. So, I will simply refer anyone who questions my comments about "starvation mode" to the following articles. If you have questions, please feel free to message me. I will reply as time permits.

Good luck and good health!!

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
4/3/12 2:39 A

See, CLICKMASTER, this is one of those ill-educated poor advice moments.

If you had more experience on Spark you would realise from the hundreds of posts about it, that lots of sparkpeople members find their weight loss stops when they eat too little, and starts again when they eat more.

Whether we call this "starvation mode" or something else, or how we try to explain the apparent conflict with the laws of thermodynamics, SOMETHING is going on here. It is absolutely definitely possible to slow and/or stall weight loss by eating too little. It happens. A lot.

You're not sufficiently experienced to be offering the advice that you do. I did ask somewhere else for your qualifications and did not receive a response there - will you front up yet?

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
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Posts: 1,708
4/3/12 12:21 A

Sometimes I also have a tough time reaching my calorie intake goal, mostly due just to not liking to eat so much. To get a good balanced diet I eat lots of fruits, nuts, vegetables. So at the end of the day I may be a couple hundred short and so I grab a banana, orange, yogurt, etc. to get a quick 100 calories of good food. As far as cost goes, I have found that it has been so much cheaper eating good food than it was when I wasn't watching my foods so much. Getting foods that are in season usually makes them very cheap.

If you are working out as much as you say, then you really do need to eat enough to support your body. Whether one wants to call it starvation mode or not, when your body needs a nutrient, it will find a place to get it. If not in the foods you ate, then in your stored body parts. Burning fat is great, but letting your body strip your bones of calcium or whatever isn't. Keep the faith

CLICKMASTER1 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 89
4/2/12 10:39 P

I have a huge problem with the article you referenced and another article in SP which also talks about "starvation mode". The only starvation mode is starvation. And, the following statement is not true.

"If you’re not eating enough calories to match your activity level, your body just simmers and no real progress is being made."

The above quote is simply false. As long as we maintain a caloric deficit we will burn fat. The greater the deficit, the more fat we burn.

What is true, however, is if we do not take in enough calories, we may begin burning lean tissue as well as fat and that's generally considered a bad thing.

Our bodies have no way of violating the thermodynamic principle of conservation of energy. If we require 2000 calories per day to satisfy our energy demand, then 2000 calories per day has to come from somewhere. And, if it can't come from outside our body (the GI tract), it will come from fat and/or lean tissue.

I'm not suggesting we should try to starve. I'm only pointing out that there is no magic biochem mechanism in our body that will, in the absence of sufficient caloric intake, stop burning fat. That is a myth.

Good luck and good health!!

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
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4/2/12 6:35 P

Hi Serrano,

Below is a link to a SparkPeople article SparkPeople's Registered Dietitian Becky Hand wrote that may help you have a better understanding why calories are king!

Coach Nancy

JUST_BE1 SparkPoints: (26,481)
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Posts: 376
4/2/12 4:54 P

There is a lot of info out there about why your body needs the calories it does. A quick search can answer that question.

As for increasing your calories without increasing your budget to much, foods such as 100% fruit juice, nuts, avocados, raisins, whole grains ect are calorie dense and are good for you.

SERRANO85 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (754)
Posts: 16
4/2/12 4:14 P

Ok so I'm burning 500 calories a day and I'm struggling with my intake of 1300 and 1700 a day. I'm overwhelmed with this because as crazy as it sounds I can't afford so much food because we're a big family so just imagine besides sometimes I'm full and also I'm board of the same food. So my question is why do I to eat more? Should I not work out so often( I work out 6 days a week 60 min a day) anyway if someone can guide me or give me tips I would really appreciated...

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