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Old 03-13-2014, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Metabolic adaptation?

Hi everyone,

I've been browsing many forums lately (weight loss/body building forums), and there seems to be a consensus that eating below 1200 results in metabolic adaptation?

I don't quite understand the reasoning behind this. Right now I eat about 800-1000 calories, which is less than my BMR and TDEE, but it is 70% veggies, 30% protein, with occasional cheese and yogurt here and there. I use full fat mayo sometimes, I get a LOT of food for this calorie range when it's vegetables. Basically I don't feel deprived, I keep my carbs under 100g a day only because they make me feel like crap and make me insanely sleepy.

I work out 5 days for an hr on my treadmills, my HRM logs my calories around 450, I put it into MFP as 400 in case it's not accurate. So if I'm not hungry, exercising well, is there any reason to be worried about this metabolic adaptation? There have been days where my net on MFP reads 700, but I'm scared to eat more when I don't feel the need to eat.

So many people have been telling me this, that's I'm starting to wonder if I'm approaching weight loss the wrong way? I've been doing this for 3 weeks and lost 1 lb. Not much to go off of, but what do you guys think?
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
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Okay first of all I think I'd like some more information. What is your weight right now? Are you male or female? Are you weighing and measuring your food? Are you eating any other types of foods? Do you have cheat days?

I'm asking this because what you are saying doesn't make sense. From what I read I think you are saying that 70% of your calories come from vegetables; however you also say that you are keeping your carbs to <100g per day. Vegetable calories are predominately carbohydrate derived- about 80% of the calories from vegetables come from carbohydrates.

Your experience also doesn't jive with the information that you gave. Even if you are a 120lb female you are working out very intensely and should be experiencing hunger and weight loss at that calorie deficit. I think you may not be describing your food intake correctly. Do you keep a journal?

I'm not trying to be overly critical I'm just trying to help, but something is missing here because what you wrote does not add up at all.

P.S.- To a certain degree your metabolism will slow down when you reduce your calories. But like people said before when you asked about starvation mode it is mostly a myth. You will continue to lose weight especially if you are working out.

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Old 03-13-2014, 05:48 PM   #3
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Hi Locke,

No worries at all. Sorry when I meant carbs, I mean I don't eat any starch/white flour products like rice, pasta, potatoes, cookies, cakes. I do eat oat bran with fat free fage yogurt in the morning.

I'm female, 169 lbs and 5'1. 26 yrs old. My carbs are less than 100g almost everyday with just veggies and oat bran. My sample menu looks like this everything is measured with my kitchen scale and i use MFP to add up calories.

breakfast
-2 tbsps oat bran with yogurt =150

lunch
-8oz cabbage +.5 cup persian cucumber + 4 oz chicken breast +1 tbsp mayo
=350

dinner
-8 oz steamed broccoli and cauliflower + can of tuna + 1 tbsp low sodium teriyaki sauce= 215

snacks
-almonds (23 pieces) -160 calories
-100 calorie granola bar

This has been my standard menu for the past 3 weeks. I'm not bored of it yet, i'm sure i will be soon, but I don't feel hungry eating this. I work out with a HRM and the calorie reading is always pretty high so i input as 400 standard everyday. I feel better, and my stomach is protruding out a lot less, I have no access to weights as of yet, so i didn't think water weight would be an issue here? I don't think I've given this enough time (only three weeks) but I don't want to start down the wrong path if you get what I mean?

I just feel like I could have lost 2 lbs or so by now, but I haven't. So is metabolic adaptation also a myth? Is there a good website to get credible information? My friend is a personal trainer who tells me I need to be in a certain heart rate zone to burn fat, I just can't keep track of all these rules. For now working on my diet is something i want set, I like the menu above but I also don't want to eat unnecessarily. Sorry for the length of this post! I appreciate your help.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:52 PM   #4
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My suspicion would be not enough food. Personally I've found that if I eat too little everything stalls. Once I got super frustrated at how good I had been with no result so I went out and had a big fat cheat meal. The next day I weighed in and had lost 1.3lbs.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:59 PM   #5
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Grains, especially wheat can mess up a person's metabolism. I would totally change your breakfasts around. I am grain free but even if I was not I would never have a cereal of any kind, including oats, for breakfast and not yougart, too much sugar even a full fat one. You are raising your insulin and putting your body in hold on to fat and calorie mode.

If you try grain free for a month, I bet you can eat 1.5 times your current calories and your weight is just going to plummet.

I do agree 100 grams of carbs is good but from what you listed I think you might be underestimating your carbs. And veggie carbs are fine but grain carbs can mess up a lot of people.

You can always go back to grains. If you are insulin sensitive though it might really help. At least try no grains/yougart/sugar at breakfast for a bit. Get good protein and fat at breakfast. Try your own bulletproof coffee if you like coffee.

But it does sound like maybe too few calories. Also our bodies adapt to our exercise routine so you might want to change that up, get some strength in. And don't be afraid of full fat. Coconut oil and grass fed butter are my wonder foods.

Push ups and sit ups, planking, bunch of stuff don't need weights.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by diamondgeog View Post
Grains, especially wheat can mess up a person's metabolism. I would totally change your breakfasts around. I am grain free but even if I was not I would never have a cereal of any kind, including oats, for breakfast and not yougart, too much sugar even a full fat one. You are raising your insulin and putting your body in hold on to fat and calorie mode.

If you try grain free for a month, I bet you can eat 1.5 times your current calories and your weight is just going to plummet.

I do agree 100 grams of carbs is good but from what you listed I think you might be underestimating your carbs. And veggie carbs are fine but grain carbs can mess up a lot of people.

You can always go back to grains. If you are insulin sensitive though it might really help. At least try no grains/yougart/sugar at breakfast for a bit. Get good protein and fat at breakfast. Try your own bulletproof coffee if you like coffee.

But it does sound like maybe too few calories. Also our bodies adapt to our exercise routine so you might want to change that up, get some strength in. And don't be afraid of full fat. Coconut oil and grass fed butter are my wonder foods.

Push ups and sit ups, planking, bunch of stuff don't need weights.
I actually use full fat mayo and eat regular blocks of cheese now and then. The oat bran and yogurt is actually very little food. It's 2tbsps which i cook with water, add 1 tbsp fat free plain greek yogurt. The reason i eat this is because it keeps me full for hours! I mean i can wait a full 5 hours after eating (if i hydrate properly) but its my only source of grains. Maybe ill try grain free though.

I just feel so comfortable with this menu, i hate to change it, but I also dont want to put all this effort in and have it hinder my weight loss. This is all new to me.

I do have a kettlebell at home, will that suffice for weights? Maybe ill try a different cardio now and then too, thanks!
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:29 PM   #7
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Kettlebells are fine. Just look up proper technique. They can be dangerous if done wrong.

The thing I always tell people is you can always go back to grains. I think everyone should, preferably try two months free and see how it goes. But at least give it a month.

And get good fats. In addition to the ones I listed avocados are good and macadamia nuts and oil. Stay away from vegetable oils and margarine, the omega 6 can be very harmful to a lot of people.

Wild caught seafood and grass fed protein sources are best if you can find them. And lots of people will have vastly different ideas, that's all good. Just listing what has worked for me.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:47 PM   #8
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Great! thanks diamond, I will look into those tips
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:52 PM   #9
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As I understand metabolic adaptation it means that if you eat below a certain amount (I'm not sure there is any one magic number) that your metabolism slows and so you lose less weight than you would have lost had your metabolism not slowed. It doesn't mean, however, that you don't lose any weight at all. If you eat fewer calories than your slowed metabolism burns then you will still lose. You might be losing more slowly though.

The bigger concern with only eating 700 or 800 calories is that it is hard to get nutrition when you eat that way. On the menu you gave I'm not sure you area really getting all the vitamins and minerals that should be eaten for good health.
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:48 AM   #10
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Hi Koshka,

How do I figure out how much I need? (nutrient wise) When I input my calories into MFP, I'm usually over in the vitamin percentages. I keep my foods colorful (lots of veggies) the main thing I did with my diet was cut out carbs, all processed carbs and put vegetables instead. I just feel that I get a lot more food, for a lot less calories, I just started realizing how low it was.

I also take a multivitamin daily. Thank you all for the responses! Greatly appreciated. I think I will branch out with more vegetables and see how it goes for a month or so. If I'm still at 1lb loss in 2 months, I'll know to switch things up.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:56 AM   #11
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I'm a little confused, is this a fancier word for starvation mode? When you're body acclimates to lower calories and then you stop losing?

I say give it more time like you said if 2 months go by and you don't see a loss, you can increase your cals. You could also eat almonds, higher fat and calories, but they have the good stuff! Assuming you're not eating a ton and they're not covered in sugar

I really miss chocolate covered almonds!! I used to pick them as my "healthy snack" ha!
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:49 AM   #12
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One pounds loss in three weeks, it rather does seem like you are going about this the wrong way.

Just as there is a lot of junk food out there, there is also a lot of junk information. I think you need to go visit your doctor and ask them for some good sources of information on all this stuff that you are confused about or a referral to a nutritionist dietician who can help you understand all this stuff properly.

Ask the doctor/dietician why below 1200 is too low even for a little person like you. Ask them to give you information to explain why the body needs more than 1200.

Ask them why some people think eating grains is harmful and why the mainstream of scientists in the field do not agree.

Ask them to explain how fat is burned with exercise. (Fat is being burned all the time by the way. But the body also makes fat if you don't eat it. Fat and carbs burn together in a healthy diet in a ratio that changes the longer you exercise. The longer you exercise the higher the ratio of fat to carbs. But this is technical. ask your doctor for a source of reliable technical information on this and other relevant matters.

ask the doctor if you could have insulin resistance. They can do a test on this. Have you had other tests done, e.g. your thyroid. If you are young its unlikely to be this but no harm in checking into it.

Ask the doctor why you might be sleepy eating carbs. (Not all carbs are equal btw. I find myself getting frustrated with the way people talk about carbs as if a potato were the same as as salad sandwich on wholegrain bread and a bag of lollies. There is a difference between carbs. Carbs are not the bogieman. Refined sugars are the bogieman for people who can't eat them in moderation - and that is most people on a diet forum.)

A lot of people are confused about the nature of carbs. Ask the doctor for sources of good explanations about the nature of carbs.

The thing is, you are probably getting confusing and conflicting information by taking your info off the web. There is a lot wrong information out there. And if you don't have enough basic knowledge and education to be able to sift the junk from the truth, then you should ask someone who is able to do that for you i.e. why i suggest you speak to your doctor.

You want to find some names of good reliable properly qualified and well reputed writers on this subject. The authors of famous diet books should not be in this list. Ignore those people until you have a solid grounding in basic nutritional information. Yes not everything these say is false. But misinformation gets mixed up with fact and you end up confused with a lot of unhelpful ideas about how to lose weight and stay healthy.

Eat the way you think you can eat for the rest of your life. If you think you can live on a diet of 70% vegies, 30% protein and a 1tbsp of fat, then that's probably fine because it does seem to fit with the basic distribution of carbs, protein and fats.Yours does not seem to be a problem of distribution but of total calorific intake. Note you can also get fat on vegies if you eat too many veggie calories - i would remind you that fat cows do exist - :-). And it seems you can have trouble losing fat if you don't eat enough calories.

What's good about fruit and vegies is that they are
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:12 AM   #13
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So how much do you weigh? I don't see that anywhere here. If you way 120 lbs and have lost 1 lb in 3 weeks, I'd say that is normal. If you weigh 300, then I'd say there is something wrong.

I found that by changing my macronutrients around, my weight started to fall off, eating the same amount of calories. I eat a high amount of carbs but I was eating low fat, I started adding more avocado and nuts into my diet and I started to lose weight. I didn't change around the other things too much. I still eat bread, grains, fruit as well as legumes as my main source of protein. It was just ensuring that I added fat that made the change for me.

I would say you need to play around and figure out what works for you.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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Did you pick up that intense workout regimen from nothing three weeks ago too? If so, you may be experiencing some water retention as your body adapts to the new routine. Fluid retention can easily mask several weeks' worth of fat loss.

For what it's worth, it's not unusual for me to go several weeks without seeing any weight loss on the scale. I don't lose a little each week - I lose in "whooshes" - typically three weeks hovering around one number, then one week in which I lose a few pounds.

It's not too unusual not to see your scale march cooperatively down by a certain amount week after week, although it would be nice if you could get that kind of short-term feedback on what you are doing. So give it a little more time, a month or two, to evaluate how well what you are doing is working.

I think you can get away with eating a little more, but I doubt that any kind of metabolic adaptation or starvation mode is responsible for what you are seeing here.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:33 AM   #15
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Nelie she's 5 foot one inch and weighs 169 pounds. She tells us in her second post.

I know its a bit weird how most posters don't give the relevant information - height weight age gender but there you go. people think these things aren't important.

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