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Old 10-07-2010, 05:58 PM   #1  
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Question How long will a body hang onto "Starvation Mode"?

Hello all--
I've been having great success and have stalled the past few weeks. Scale isn't budging. I am eating whole foods and counting calories and keeping it at a normal level for weight loss, and I have been having success. I don't really want to eat more, because I have been feeling really satisfied with what I've been doing (1500-1700 calories per day, give or take).

Anyway, I was wondering if I might be underestimating and in the "starvation mode". Can you stay in this mode forever? Or do you eventually move past it? Or does it depend on your body type? Just wanted to get some thoughts on it. I don't really want to think about making any changes for another month or so, so I'll just wait it out, but thought I'd ask...

Thanks for reading!
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:20 PM   #2  
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I agree with Meg- I don't think you are at Starvation mode at all, but maybe trying a slight tweak like having 2 days a week where you hit 1800 calories per day might help shake things up

I'd say if you were eating 1200 calories or less for a few weeks then you might be entering SM.
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:31 PM   #3  
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I exercise daily strength and cardio.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:28 PM   #4  
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I don't think that number is low enough to go into starvation mode.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:27 PM   #5  
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If you've begun your strength training somewhat recently, it could be water retention, or you're gaining muscle (which, as we all know is heavier than fat.) This may cause a frustrating stall on the scale, but you're still losing fat and building all that great calorie burning muscle! (Muscle burns calories even when you're not doing anything, fat does not.) Do you take measurments? Maybe you're still losing inches?

A lot of pepole advocate for zig-zagging, i.e., cycling higher and lower calorie days throughout the week but aiming for the same weekly average. Sometimes our bodies get really efficient at maintaining a certain weight once it "knows" it's always going to get the same amount of calories/exercise. As others have mentioned, shaking things up a bit, or "tricking" our bodies a little can help push through a stall.

Lastly, other people might even advocate for a "cheat" day where you allow yourself to eat what you want (within reason)...again, just as a way of "tricking" your body and kind of "re-setting" the thermostat, so to speak. Of course this doesn't work for everone as it can sometimes cause a "slippery slope" back to bad habits. Still a good idea to stay away from trigger foods, etc.

I'm certainly no expert...just kind of throwing you the same advice I've read/learned after hanging out here for the past 10 months

Congrats on your loss so far. Stick with it, you're doing great!
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:47 AM   #6  
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The last time I hit a stall I felt just like you do. I was wondering if this would last forever too. And it is really frustrating to work very hard and not see any results for a few weeks. But this will pass. You are on your way. 30 lbs. is a lot of weight! Your body just needs a little rest to re-group. Your body uses a lot of energy burning off the fat and it just is getting use to your lighter self.
The last stall I had lasted for 3 weeks. I was very sad. I did some reading on calorie cycling (google it). So I gave it a try and my stall broke. I have been doing it ever since. I eat between 1200-1700 calories a day. I made up a weekly schedule to alternate.
You are really doing something right because you have lost a lot of weight! It will start back again
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:15 AM   #7  
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My doctor said that 1200 calories is needed atleast a day or the body will go into starvation mode. I aim for 1200-1500 calories a day with some exercise and I have been loosing weight, any lower and the doctor said it would come off much slower.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:24 AM   #8  
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I think it's different for everyone. I have never found 'starvation mode' to factor into my weight loss. I'm not sure I believe it exists.

Pretty much... I eat too much I gain weight. I don't eat enough I can't function. Just gotta find the happy medium and work with it.

Last edited by ValRock; 10-08-2010 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:59 AM   #9  
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I recently went through a scale stall that lasted about 8 weeks. Keep calorie counting and exercising and the scale will eventually move again. I think our bodies need time to adjust sometimes after a period of loss.

You are doing great, keep at it!
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:34 PM   #10  
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I'm one of those people who believes strongly that starvation mode is an over exaggerated nutritional "boogyman" of sorts to prevent people from crash dieting and ruining their metabolism.

Depending on the study a few point that anything less than 1200 for an extended period of time will lead to SM while others say anything less than 1/2 your BMR. Some studies claim that the body will hang on to EVERY calorie and will stall weight loss, while others claim this is redic. and a simple reduction of 30% in your BMR (or less) will happen. However, lets be honest, at the end of the day this all boils down to the individual.

How long have you been stalled? A lot of factors can play into that, and some even find themselves losing none one week to losing 5-6 the next. Or even not budging for a month while their body catches up and then dropping 5 in a week.

From personal experience I was eating about 1300-1400 at that weight, so maybe eating more isn't really the key but eating less and exercising more is?
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #11  
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I was stalled when I was eating 1600-1800 calories a day and exercising 7 hours per week.

I needed to reduce my caloric intake. The exercise was really just gravy.

(Note, I also have PCOS, which makes things a little harder, so your results may be different.)

You may want lower your calories for one week. Stick to 1400-1500 for 7 days and see where that takes you.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:48 PM   #12  
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Im not going to spout my opinions about "starvation-mode", however, if youve been dieting for a while, and eating in that calorie range for the whole time, then its possible your body has ADAPTED metabolically to those calories.... basically your body has learned to run off of 1700 a day (basically, become more "efficient"--- not a good thing when were talking fat loss) Hence the stall..... i also suggest lowering calories
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:33 PM   #13  
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Oh, those pesky plateaus are frustrating!! My suggestion is to mix it up. Whenever I reached a plateau (and I had 2 real doozies), I found that changing up a few things really helped.

For example,
1) look at the types of food that you are eating - are you eating high carb? If so, try reducing your carbs & incorporating more protein.
2) do something completely different for your workouts. Get a new DVD, go for a bike ride, anything to throw your body a curve ball.
3) increase your water & watch your salt intake
4) get more sleep
5) try cycling your calories - make sure your average is about the same (say, 1600 a day), but rotate high & low calorie days without going under 1200. E.g.:

Mon 1700
Tues 1500
Wed 1800
Thur 1400
Fri 2000
Sat 1200
Sun 1600

My only word of caution here is that you need to continue to be diligent about feeding yourself healthy foods vs. filling those calories up with nutritionally poor choices.



I hope some of this helps. Keep a positive outlook & know that this is just your body adjusting to your weight loss. I always had this happen as I approached a new "level" - basically, every 25-30 pounds. Seems like my bod really need a chance to adjust to where it was before it could take any more weight off.

Congrats on your success so far!! You are doing GREAT!

Last edited by cherylmn; 10-08-2010 at 02:34 PM.
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