Weight Loss Support - Thoughts on Eat more to weigh less and metabolic damage?




sparklegirl07
04-16-2013, 11:55 PM
So, I've stalled for about 6-7 weeks now and I've been trying to figure out if I should up my cals or if this is a water/bloating issue due to some stomach/TOM issues I've been having.

So, as I was reading, I came across the group Eat more to weigh less on mfp. I've been pondering over doing a "metabolic reset" which is essentially eating your maintenance calories for 4-8 weeks to bring your metabolism level back up.

I was wondering what your thoughts/experiences were on this, especially since the consensus on this forum seems to be that starvation mode is mostly a myth. Is it worth doing a metabolic reset?


JohnP
04-17-2013, 12:42 AM
Most of the time a diet break is more for psychological reasons rather than physiological reasons.

That said - if you've been dieting without a break since 172 lbs it couldn't hurt to take a break and practice maintaining for a while.

Here is a good article on a full diet break. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/the-full-diet-break.html)

I think it's important for you to recognize the difference between fat loss and water loss. Sounds like you do understand it but if you don't understand it fully you should educate yourself so you don't draw poor conclusions like many people do. Example - I was stalled for 3 weeks and then I went to the circus and touched a monkey and the next morning I dropped three pounds. Therefore everyone who is stalled should go touch a circus monkey.

racrane
04-17-2013, 08:59 AM
I take a maintenance break as often as I feel like I need it. Like the article said, you have control. I would rather do that than lose control and binge.


betsy2013
04-17-2013, 09:07 AM
I've never thought about taking a maintenance break, but actually that sounds like a very positive thing to do. While there are many success stories on 3FC about people who have lost and successfully maintained, there are as many if not more of people who have lost and unsuccessfully maintained; i.e., they gained it all back.

Mentally, it would seem as though being able to take a maintenance break would help with "training" us to be successful in maintenance. Instead of going into that bad mental zone of thinking that we can eat more, not track our calorie intake, etc., we would hopefully develop/maintain the same eating habits only with more calories being allotted.

Sounds like it would give us a good break and reinforce our newly developed eating habits -- win-win.

sacha
04-17-2013, 09:26 AM
It takes some pretty extreme stuff to create metabolic damage, I would wager the vast majority of people tend to confuse fluctuations/actual plateaus/natural plateaus with "metabolic damage".

I've taken a week long break within my 4 months for psychological reasons, not physical. It's worth a shot.

Amarantha2
04-17-2013, 09:29 AM
I personally do think the starvation mode is a myth & weight loss stalls at various points because when we lose weight we simply need less calories but it is only human to continue to try to eat the same amount, plus maybe we are getting less careful about tracking, etc., (not saying that the OP is, just responding generally).

That said, nothing wrong with experimenting with a break or whatever might freshen up the program.

Silverfire
04-17-2013, 09:43 AM
Great article JohnP.

annieway
04-17-2013, 01:52 PM
Agree, excellent article, John.

I've been taking intermittent breaks around my business travel. Approximately once a month I have a one week business trip, often to interesting places. I'm something of a foodie and depriving myself of new food experiences in India, for example, would be demoralizing for me. Also extended flights (15 hours to India) with limited food choices, even in business class, and all the stress around travel in general is not conducive to staying strictly on plan. Typically I'm traveling with others and having to go to dinner with various people, and making a big fuss about what I can and can't eat is embarrassing.

So I have given myself permission to eat more but not go completely crazy during those weeks of travel. I stay away from breakfast buffets which are the least interesting and potentially most damaging meal of the day for me, and have a protein bar or shake instead. Then I eat whatever is presented during the rest of the trip, but I don't eat all of it and I do limit desserts to a taste or two.

I have continued to lose weight slowly overall and do not gain substantially during one of these trips. I can live with this. I have reconciled myself to slow weight loss, and it provides a good balance for me.

CherryPie99
04-17-2013, 02:41 PM
I can only speak for me, but on my journey down I had 2 nasty stubborn plateaus. Both times I upped my calories and almost immediately dropped 3 pounds.

Jen

LockItUp
04-17-2013, 03:07 PM
I took a 2 month diet break and maintained. For me the break was needed mentally, though I'm sure there are a few ways it benefited me physically. I focused on lifting, and lifting heavy, and man it was awesome.

I've found that since I started losing again, I've been eating higher than before (even though I weigh less), that it's coming off much easier than in the couple months prior to my break.

All that said, I don't think the benefits I'm seeing have anything to do with starvation mode, or metabolic reset.

If you are stalled out anyway, it's worth a try right?

glitterhairdye
04-17-2013, 03:22 PM
It's a great psychological break for you - you'll get to eat more and practice what maintenance is like. It may help you from getting off track. I think starvation mode is a myth despite what MFP tells me, it's all psychological. Maybe try it for a week then get back on plan?

JohnP
04-17-2013, 06:14 PM
I can only speak for me, but on my journey down I had 2 nasty stubborn plateaus. Both times I upped my calories and almost immediately dropped 3 pounds.

This is why understanding the difference between fat loss and water loss is important. (Not saying you don't)

Amarantha2
04-17-2013, 10:17 PM
I also wanted to add I thought the article John posted was excellent.

Arctic Mama
04-18-2013, 03:50 AM
I've taken several voluntary maintenance breaks and a few 'forced' ones on this journey, too. It has helped me physically only when I'm showing clear signs of acute physiological stress from losing. The mental benefits, on the other hand, are far more obvious and where the true value of maintenance breaks shows up (that, and in giving us practice in HOW to maintain, which is truly underrated and under-explored in the field of weight management).

Refeeds and eating maintenance calories for a few weeks is good for the body AND soul, as far as my experiences have gone. I'm convinced, even when the physiological/nutritional/endocrine sciences have not always agreed in their data as to whether it is effective or not.

berryblondeboys
04-18-2013, 07:24 AM
I think refeeds and maintenance breaks are good things, but I think that people who are trying to lose weight are too conscious of the calendar. They see "break" as "I won't be losing any weight, so I can't take a break!"

Reality is though, if they are diet fatigued and force it anyway, they are likely to overeat here and there anyway and see negligible loss or no loss anyway as they try to force themselves to stay on plan and since they are diet fatigued, they will continue to struggle.

A maintenance break can refresh and recharge the head and the body. so the stall for 2 weeks can be followed up by good losses for a couple months, so in the end, the maintenance break could help you lose weight faster and easier... BUT... try to convince someone of that who is fighting to stay on plan.

My problem is that I try to do planned maintenance breaks and the end up full out eating too much. I haven't found that balance, I don't think.

THOUGH.... I took 2-3 weeks off in March and managed to eat at maintenance level it appears - intentionally, and it appears to have not stalled me or made me gain (had to tell as I have month 3 week stallouts and then big whooshes).

So while I could be mad as heck at myself for not being at maintenance yet. At least I haven't regained massive amounts either. If you don't consider 20 pounds massive amounts. :-)

JenMusic
04-18-2013, 07:56 AM
Reality is though, if they are diet fatigued and force it anyway, they are likely to overeat here and there anyway and see negligible loss or no loss anyway as they try to force themselves to stay on plan and since they are diet fatigued, they will continue to struggle.


Melissa makes a VERY good point here! Whatever you're going to do - lose or maintain - make it part of your plan. Then you really know what you're doing and how it affects you. Don't get so tired (mentally or physically) that you lose control of your plan.

freelancemomma
04-18-2013, 10:33 AM
So, as I was reading, I came across the group Eat more to weigh less on mfp. I've been pondering over doing a "metabolic reset" which is essentially eating your maintenance calories for 4-8 weeks to bring your metabolism level back up.


All I can say is that none of the leading obesity experts I've interviewed have ever endorsed this approach or cited research to back it up. Not that the experts know everything, but until overwhelming evidence to the contrary comes in, I'll go with what they've told me, which happens to align with my own intuition.

Freelance

krampus
04-18-2013, 12:38 PM
Echo everyone else's sentiments that a "planned" break is better than a totally unplanned fit of reactive overeating, which is more or less inevitable for every dieter because all that time being spent hungry at a deficit catches up to you. A planned maintenance break can minimize instances of snap overeating...for a lot of people, not EVERYONE since no two people's bodies/minds work exactly the same way.

I'm trying to lose a little fat and have been eating at a very small deficit for 3 days and already want a diet break >_______________<

Radiojane
04-18-2013, 12:54 PM
I have never done a refeed/taken a break/ whatever you want to call it for the express purpose of breaking a stall or upping my metabolism. I take breaks for mental reasons - mostly, I want to cheat a little and just maintain. About every six weeks or so, depending on food based holidays, work etc, I take a week to ten days where I allow a few more carbs, go a little over my calories, skip a swim etc. I never full out quit my plan. Generally, I expect to gain and unless I've been HEAVY on the carbs and put on water, I usually maintain or lose a little.

It's not scientific - but keep in mind that your mental status plays into this, and if the stall is frustrating, a break may be what you need to get your head into the game, but I wouldn't do it to counteract metabolic damage, because I doubt that's an issue.