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Old 03-07-2008, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Eating MORE to lose weight??

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??
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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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?)
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:17 PM   #3
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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....
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:28 PM   #4
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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.
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Last edited by Glory87 : 03-07-2008 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:29 PM   #5
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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!
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:30 PM   #6
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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
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:34 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 03-07-2008, 01:43 PM   #8
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Have you gone to see a doctor - gaining 20 lbs on 1800 calories a day definitely doesn't sound right (although everyone is different).
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:16 PM   #9
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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!

...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?
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:21 PM   #10
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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?
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BUT PERPETUAL DISSATISFACTION AIN'T NO PICNIC EITHER!


You CAN have ANYTHING you want,
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:29 PM   #11
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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.
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CHANGE IS HARD.
BUT PERPETUAL DISSATISFACTION AIN'T NO PICNIC EITHER!


You CAN have ANYTHING you want,
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:46 PM   #12
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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
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beach Patrol View Post
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.
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:56 PM   #14
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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!
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BUT PERPETUAL DISSATISFACTION AIN'T NO PICNIC EITHER!


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Old 03-07-2008, 03:08 PM   #15
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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.
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