Weight Loss Support - Eating MORE to lose weight??




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Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 12:55 PM
I think I've run amok when it comes to research on different kinds of diets & weight loss methods. And I don't necessarily believe everything I read (thank god!) but the idea of "eating MORE to lose weight" is absolutely lost on me.

I understand the basics of it - but really, if you intake LESS CALORIES than you need, should you not - BY DEFINITION - LOSE weight?? I've read all about the effects that eating too little has on metabolism. But some "diets" (granted, mostly fad diets) such as MediFast have people eating 800 -1000 calories PER DAY. And MediFast is one that promotes HEALTHY eating. Created by doctors, I believe? But of course most things I spend time reading claim that anything below 1200 calories will cause your weight loss to stall... anyway - does this confuse anyone else??


CrazedLedZepFan
03-07-2008, 01:12 PM
That's because your body goes into starvation mode and starts conserving calories or whatever. That's why you can't cut them down to 800 (thank God, who'd want to?)

horsey
03-07-2008, 01:17 PM
I don't know, I cut my calories quite low for awhile and exercised and I lost weight, but I got sick twice partly because it's NOT healthy. Bodies respond differently it seems. If you start out at 1500 or so calories and exercise you can always adjust your daily intake and go down a bit more if you aren't losing. But yes most "experts" say don't go below 1200 calories. For me it's about exercising hard, maybe start with 20-30 min of cardio and work up to more. Plus do some light weights as muscle helps get the metabolism going faster....


Glory87
03-07-2008, 01:28 PM
It definitely happened for me. I lost weight eating 1400-1600 calories and I was very obsessive about using Fitday to count calories. I ate under 1600 calories from July 2004 to around March 2005 (around 7 months) and went from 200 lbs to 140 lbs.

Then, my weight plateaued from March to June. I did everything to shake it. Went down to 1200-1400 calories, worked out more, increased cardio, did higher intensity. Weighed myself obesessively. I recorded EVERYTHING I ATE - there is no chance I was eating more, I very carefully and honestly counted calories. Did not lose 1 single pound from March - June (not even one of those low weird weights if you sleep in on a Saturday - NOTHING). This made me kind of crazy until I realized I hadn't GAINED a lb either.

In June 2005, I decided that my body was done losing weight and I should begin maintenance. I very slowly, agonizingly (this was very scary) raised calories to 1800 or so. I was still counting in Fitday every day, so I'm pretty sure I was keeping a 95% accurate record.

After increasing my calories from 1400 or so to 1800, I lost 2 lbs in July 2005. Just got on the scale one day and it said 138. That was pretty cool. I hit 135 after a 3 week long business trip to Singapore, Australia and Japan. I actually wasn't recording calories during this time - but it was a business trip in foreign countries with catered pizza lunches! I have no idea what I was eating, but it sure wasn't 1400 a day, heh. I did do a ton of walking. That was November 2005.

I got home, went back to eating 1800 calories and I was down to 127 by February 2006. And I have remained at 127-130 ever since, still eating around 1800 calories a day.

I really can't explain it. My own personal pet theory is my body just got tired of not QUITE getting enough food at 1400 calories and started conserving fat and slowing my metabolism to keep me alive. Yay body. When I started eating a little more (but still slightly under maintenance for someone of my height/weight/age/gender/activity), my body responded by losing the rest of the excess weight since I was getting plenty to eat and "I didn't need it."

I never went the ultra low calorie route, but I definitely had SOMETHING happen after 7 months of 1400-1600 calories that didn't end until I started eating a little more.

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 01:29 PM
Just how much do we really KNOW about metabolism? I mean, literally - I should be eating 1800 calories a day to MAINTAIN my 190 pounds. But I've been consistently eating 1300-1500 per day since I hit 170 & I have GAINED 20 pounds. See? that's just NOT right. I use FitDay to track my caloric intake & believe me, I count every single thing that goes into my mouth.

D'oh!
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/eder/250px-D_oh.jpg

JayEll
03-07-2008, 01:30 PM
I think the basic idea is that when the body is under the stress of not having enough nutrition (which isn't the same as calories!), it tends to hold on to what it has for self preservation. Obviously, though, it's still possible to starve to death...

The reason not to go below 1200 calories is that one can't get sufficient nutrition when eating that little for an extended period. Part of what the medically supervised plans that go below 1200 do is to monitor the person and make sure they are taking supplements so they get enough nutrients.

Active exercise usually means a greater need for calories, and sometimes a person can be eating, say, 1300 cals and exercising heavily, but not getting enough nutrition anyway. That person may actually lose faster by upping their calories (and continuing to exercise). That has happened to a few folks here on 3FC.

Jay

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 01:34 PM
That person may actually lose faster by upping their calories (and continuing to exercise). That has happened to a few folks here on 3FC.

Jay

heh! I wish it would happen to me that way! - Anytime I've ever "increased" my calories in order to "un-stall" my weight, I have only gained weight.

I really do think that everybody's body reacts differently to the same things. Just like some people are allergic to peanuts but most are not. Or some people do well by taking Tylenol for headaches while some need something stronger.

I think I am still discovering things about how the body works, and how MY body works. :shrug:

Glory87
03-07-2008, 01:43 PM
Have you gone to see a doctor - gaining 20 lbs on 1800 calories a day definitely doesn't sound right (although everyone is different).

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 02:16 PM
Have you gone to see a doctor - gaining 20 lbs on 1800 calories a day definitely doesn't sound right (although everyone is different).


Oh yes, I have a doctor. I thought maybe - JUST MAYBE - my thyroid was outta whack... but those tests showed nothing outta whack. All my whack is in! :rofl: :shrug:

...and I even thought that since I'm in perimenopause, maybe it is my HORMONES that are screw'n with me! But apparently (according to doc) they're NOT, altho she DID say that the hormonal rages CAN & DO make a difference in how the body reacts to certain "changes." I'm not quite sure what she meant by that... :?: but she assured me that my body is "capable" of losing the extra weight (again) so I can only assume that *I* am doing something WRONG.

Right? :dizzy:

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 02:21 PM
Here's my today food (thus far), which is a typical day for me - so far today I have consumed 872 calories:

Coffee
Honey Nut Cheerios w/skim milk
Peanut M&Ms
South Beach Diet Grilled Chicken Caesar Wraps
1 small cucumber
1 medium tomato

Tonight for dinner I will most likely have soup & a half tunafish sandwich, or fish (salmon) & baby carrots and blackeye peas. I'm drinking PLENTY of water (I'm always good about that!) - no sodas (except diet, but haven't had one today anyway) and no sweet tea.

So.... what do y'all think?

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 02:29 PM
And here's something interesting in the way of "Metabolism":

What determines your metabolism?

Metabolism is controlled by the thyroid gland in the neck, which in turn is governed by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The speed of your metabolism depends on complex chemical messages, which are sent to your brain by your body, telling it how much it needs to keep going. "Your body size and composition determine how much food you need to produce energy. The heavier you are the more energy your body needs to keep going, so the higher your metabolic rate," says Dr Steer.

This means that, contrary to popular opinion, if you're overweight you'll have a faster metabolism than someone who is slimmer - a big body like a big car needs more fuel.

So see? I do not get it, apparently.

oakgiraffes
03-07-2008, 02:46 PM
Glory,

Your story is interesting to me. I lost 70lbs. in a year's time. I have 50 more to lose but have been stuck on a plateau for 15 months now. I work out like a dog. And nothing happens. So I'm going to try what you have done and increase my calories and see what happens.

I also have an appointment with my doctor next week, to see what advice he can give me.

Annie

jillybean720
03-07-2008, 02:51 PM
And here's something interesting in the way of "Metabolism":

What determines your metabolism?

Metabolism is controlled by the thyroid gland in the neck, which in turn is governed by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The speed of your metabolism depends on complex chemical messages, which are sent to your brain by your body, telling it how much it needs to keep going. "Your body size and composition determine how much food you need to produce energy. The heavier you are the more energy your body needs to keep going, so the higher your metabolic rate," says Dr Steer.

This means that, contrary to popular opinion, if you're overweight you'll have a faster metabolism than someone who is slimmer - a big body like a big car needs more fuel.

So see? I do not get it, apparently.
The problem with the quoted info is that it basically only includes those who are big and those who are not--it doesn't include those who used to be big and have lost weight, nor does it include those who have yo-yoed with their weight for years. Both of these things have been proven to lower one's metabolism (unless you're doing a lot of strength training exercise to retain and build muscle). So, for example, someone who started out weighing 300 pounds might need 3500 calories to maintain that weight, but if they've dieted off and on and gone up and down and settled back at 300 pounds again, their body might only need 3000 calories now to maintain that weight because they've messed with their metabolism so much. (Note: these numbers are purely made up as an example.)

Everyone is different. I think the only way to know how many calories you need in a day is to have your BMR (or RMR--I forget which it is they test, resting or basal) professionally tested.

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 02:56 PM
You make an excellent point, Jill, & Yes - I HAVE yo-yo'd for years now. Up/down, up/down, & up again. Since I was about 26 years old (I'm 44 now) I have lost & gained 30-40 pounds at least 6 times. 190 is my highest weight ever - my previous highest was 178.

But I have never read anything that specifically points to yo'yo-ing as a metabolism killer. I'm going to do a massive search & read up on what I can regarding this.

BTW, JFTR, puppies make me happy, too! :D

Glory87
03-07-2008, 03:08 PM
Glory,

Your story is interesting to me. I lost 70lbs. in a year's time. I have 50 more to lose but have been stuck on a plateau for 15 months now. I work out like a dog. And nothing happens. So I'm going to try what you have done and increase my calories and see what happens.

I also have an appointment with my doctor next week, to see what advice he can give me.

Annie

In any case, it might be a good idea to "practice maintenance" for awhile. Give yourself a few more calories a day to play with (which feels unbelievably decadent) so you can have more opportunities for healthy food (olive oil, peanut butter, avocado, nuts - great stuff you might have been eating less of while losing weight due to high calorie cost). Do everything you would normally do to lose weight - plan meals, weigh yourself, food journal, just allow more healthy calories a day. Slowly increase, while keeping an eye on the scale over time to figure out YOUR maintenance calories.

Glory87
03-07-2008, 03:11 PM
Here's my today food (thus far), which is a typical day for me - so far today I have consumed 872 calories:

Coffee
Honey Nut Cheerios w/skim milk
Peanut M&Ms
South Beach Diet Grilled Chicken Caesar Wraps
1 small cucumber
1 medium tomato

Tonight for dinner I will most likely have soup & a half tunafish sandwich, or fish (salmon) & baby carrots and blackeye peas. I'm drinking PLENTY of water (I'm always good about that!) - no sodas (except diet, but haven't had one today anyway) and no sweet tea.

So.... what do y'all think?

If my weight were stuck, I would try extremely clean eating for awhile - no processed foods (SB wraps) and no candy (peanut M&Ms). I think the Honey Nut Cheerios are kinda iffy too (for a clean eating goal - plain would be okay for me).

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 03:12 PM
...those who have yo-yoed with their weight for years... have been proven to lower one's metabolism...


From MSNBC Health - Diet & Nutrition:

"...myths that tie weight cycling (also known as yo-yo dieting) to greater regain at the waist or to increased difficulties in future weight loss attempts are unfounded, according to the National Institutes of Health. Research does not support dieting history influencing waistline fat and difficulty losing weight, which both tend to increase with age..."

Maybe it matters what you read, who wrote it, who published it, & who's "doing it"... :dizzy:

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 03:19 PM
If my weight were stuck, I would try extremely clean eating for awhile - no processed foods (SB wraps) and no candy (peanut M&Ms). I think the Honey Nut Cheerios are kinda iffy too (for a clean eating goal - plain would be okay for me).


I eat one treat per day - usually 150 or less calories - but some days I incorporate Peanut M&Ms. I have learned - FOR ME - I have to give myself some sort of treat per day, or I'll eventually go crazy & binge.

As for the Honey Nut Cheerios... that was by my doc's suggestion - I have lowered my bad cholesterol & raised my good cholesterol since I started eating them. But I don't always eat them - sometimes I have oatmeal, sometimes bacon & eggs with a slice of whole grain toast, and sometimes I have just fruit.

And I couldn't live if I had NO processed foods whatsoever, because I am NOT a kitcheny-cook-recipe-eater type of person by any means. Most of my veggies come from the freezer or a can, and I never cook anything from scratch. I'd LOVE to have a desire for cooking, but alas, at 44yo, I doubt I'll ever develop one.

Kinda sad, huh? :^:

JayEll
03-07-2008, 03:54 PM
Hey BeachPatrol,

Every time I try raising my calories, I stall or gain, too! Heh! So, in my case I guess I'm just not at "starvation mode"--- :lol:

All these different "findings" just point out that each of us has to find out what works in our own case. Some people will need to eat more to lose, others can't. Some have higher metabolism, others don't. Everyone seems to benefit from exercise, though--and from tracking foods. If I don't track what I eat, then I don't know what I should change, or even if there is anything I could change!

Jay

Beach Patrol
03-07-2008, 04:26 PM
I think you're right Jay!

I've lost weight by using different diets/eating methods in the past, but the one thing that was always constant in my success was EXERCISE. And I just haven't been able to the past 6 months. Well - year and a half, really. My body RESPONDS to exercise. Walking & weight lifting. Those are my mainstays, no matter what foods I have chosen to include or exclude. :^:

So I will SURE be glad when I can EXERCISE again. I'm really hoping that will kick-start me on my weight loss efforts, and maybe THIS TIME, once I finally DO lose the weight, I won't gain it back again! ;)

jellydisney
03-07-2008, 07:18 PM
Beach Patrol, how much exercise do you get? Upping strength training can really boost your metabolism, and cardio is excellent for calorie burning. Are you sedentary? I think a sedentary lifestyle can really contribute to a weight that just doesn't budge!

Sort of a non sequitur, but sometimes I wonder if people should really undergo a lifestyle change and move to the city. You walk EVERYWHERE when you live in the the city, and your body stays trim just by virture of having to use your legs wherever you go.

jellydisney
03-07-2008, 07:25 PM
Oops, I posted before I read your post about exercising!

I hope you will be able to exercise again soon!


Also, when I read your post about what you are eating... If I ate what you ate, I would lose weight. However... I think age plays a HUGE role in metabolism. I'm in my 20's and I know I could lose weight while still eating M&M's (and ice cream and alcohol! thank god!). However, I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that when I'm older, this will not be the case, and I will not be able to be as frivolous about my food choices. I don't know how old you are, but if you are at least 35-40, age could be playing a big role as to why you're struggling now vs. in the past....

Just an idea, hope I didn't offend. Everytime I see your avatar, it inspires me to get into shape so I can get into a bikini and look half as good as you do in that pic! :)

hepmelly
03-12-2008, 01:42 PM
you might try adding some extra fiber to your diet, and really watching sodium.
Try adding some all bran to your yogurt at lunch or snacking on some during the day..it's very low calorie, so it's not something huge to worry about.