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Eating too FEW calories makes you fat!
Old 04-07-2010, 06:17 PM   #1
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Eating too FEW calories makes you fat!

OK..... I thought that was the stupidest thing I every heard. Except that I (age 61) was consuming about 900 calories a day on low carb since Christmas and not losing any weight. And I only need to lose 15 lbs.

My wife started on a Healthy Diet program. She drinks 48 oz of water every day and eats between 1400-1600 calories a day. She charts what she eats every days for records. The first week she didn't try to died and just drank the water. The next week she did 1500 a day with the water and lost 5 lbs. The third week she drank more water and ate less per day down to 1400 cal a day, and lost 3 lbs. The next week she cut the calories per day to 1300, and lost 2 lb. This last week she only consumed 1100 calories a day and she GAINED ONE HALF POUND.

She was devastated. When she went over the calories with the trainer and she said that her body had gone into starvation mode and was conserving by reducing her metabolism. She needed to eat more.

UNBELIEVABLE. Without her data, I wouldn't have believed it. Apparently my bod has been in starvation mode since Christmas, and its no wonder I can't lose. I've switched to her dies and water drinking.

Z
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The Chili-Dog Diet
Old 04-07-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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The Chili-Dog Diet

Does the converse of this also work ?

If I double my calorie intake I would lose a pound or two a week ?
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
OK..... I thought that was the stupidest thing I every heard. Except that I (age 61) was consuming about 900 calories a day on low carb since Christmas and not losing any weight. And I only need to lose 15 lbs.

My wife started on a Healthy Diet program. She drinks 48 oz of water every day and eats between 1400-1600 calories a day. She charts what she eats every days for records. The first week she didn't try to died and just drank the water. The next week she did 1500 a day with the water and lost 5 lbs. The third week she drank more water and ate less per day down to 1400 cal a day, and lost 3 lbs. The next week she cut the calories per day to 1300, and lost 2 lb. This last week she only consumed 1100 calories a day and she GAINED ONE HALF POUND.

She was devastated. When she went over the calories with the trainer and she said that her body had gone into starvation mode and was conserving by reducing her metabolism. She needed to eat more.

UNBELIEVABLE. Without her data, I wouldn't have believed it. Apparently my bod has been in starvation mode since Christmas, and its no wonder I can't lose. I've switched to her dies and water drinking.

Z
One question: Was her/your activity level consistent? Any possibility that there was a lot more activity (more gym time, stair climbing, housework, shopping, running around after kids/grandkids etc.) during the weeks of higher weight loss?

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Old 04-07-2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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Your body adapted to the lower calorie level and plateaued. You should vary your calorie intake so your body doesn't do that.

See if you can find "The Rotation Diet" on line for more info.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:40 PM   #5
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One question: Was her/your activity level consistent? Any possibility that there was a lot more activity (more gym time, stair climbing, housework, shopping, running around after kids/grandkids etc.) during the weeks of higher weight loss?

Amethyst
Nope. exactly the same except for lowered caloric intake.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:41 PM   #6
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Your body adapted to the lower calorie level and plateaued. You should vary your calorie intake so your body doesn't do that.

See if you can find "The Rotation Diet" on line for more info.
Been there, done that. Didn't have any affect on either of us.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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She was devastated. When she went over the calories with the trainer and she said that her body had gone into starvation mode and was conserving by reducing her metabolism. She needed to eat more.

UNBELIEVABLE. Without her data, I wouldn't have believed it. Apparently my bod has been in starvation mode since Christmas, and its no wonder I can't lose. I've switched to her dies and water drinking.

Z
This is exactly what Weight Watchers teaches also. I'm sure the weight loss is temporary - I've never seen any overweight persons coming out of concentration camps - but it has got to be an unhealthy way to lose weight. The body is pretty smart and it makes sense that when it detects too few calories coming in that it takes actions to deal with it.

When you have stress the body slows down stomach movement, narrows blood vessels etc, to get the blood to the muscles ready for whatever action is required (stress = fight or flight to the body)

So, it all makes sense to me
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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Eating Too Few Calories Stalls Metabolism - Weight Center - EverydayHealth.com

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The most effective way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you expend, creating a calorie deficit. But if your calorie intake dips too low, says Lummus, your body could go into starvation mode. "Your body will start to store fat because it thinks it is not going to get anything," says Lummus. "You will be at a point where your body is kind of at a standstill."

Lummus says that when your body goes into starvation mode, your metabolism slows to a crawl, burning calories as slowly as possible to conserve its energy stores. This is why people who cut their calories too much may reach a plateau and stop losing weight.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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Been there, done that. Didn't have any affect on either of us.
What did you do?
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #10
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I think it's pretty well established that overly restricting calories lowers the metabolism. Most "experts" don't recommend going below 1000 for women, and even 1200 is sometimes considered a minimum. It depends on your size. If you're very physically active, you need to eat more than that.

What's really bad is that if you do this severe calorie restriction for too long, your body sheds muscle as well as fat - it's dangerous.

However, there are plenty of folks that insist the metabolism doesn't change to adjust to caloric intake. I never understood that simplistic point of view. The body is a very complex organism.

When dieting you need to restrict calories somewhat AND exercise at the same time so that you body holds on to the muscle and mostly sheds fat.

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Old 04-07-2010, 08:48 PM   #11
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I'm confused about why you did low caloric intake on a low carb diet. I thought one of the cool things about low carb diets like Atkins was that you didn't have to worry about how much food you ate or how many calories you consumed - the carbs was the only thing to worry about.

IIRC, Atkins, in his 1972 book, did say that many people also happened to lower their caloric intake while on his diet. It was not part of the diet, just an unintended consequence. He didn't go into too much detail other than to mention it, but throughout the book he said "eat when your're hungry".

Following along with the theme of our modern diet causing more health problems than it is preventing; I do recall reading at some time that our bodies responses to changes in caloric intake is about the same as it was eons ago when we were all hunter-gatherers. Fat cells are created to store energy to be expended during lean times. But during times of near starvation the body tries to hang on to the fat and will burn muscle first.

I think you should just restrict the carbs and not worry about the number of calories.

I reduced my carb intake starting two weeks ago tomorrow. I'm not really counting the total carb intake, I would guess it is somewhere in the range of 30-40 grams total per day, but other than Easter dinner I have cut out bread, potatoes, rice, juices, sodas, etc. I'm not even bothering to weigh myself. But the past several days I have found that my pants are all fitting much better, and several times today I found myself pulling them up by the waist because they were almost falling off.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:00 PM   #12
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I read someplace (and can't find the reference now, so don't know how authoritative it was) that drinking too much water (48 oz doesn't seem that excessive) is bad because could lose too much salt / minerals.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:04 PM   #13
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I read someplace (and can't find the reference now, so don't know how authoritative it was) that drinking too much water (48 oz doesn't seem that excessive) is bad because could lose too much salt / minerals.
I think this is only an issue if you are eating no food at the same time. Otherwise, the salt/minerals is easily restored by food.

It becomes dangerous for runners who are drinking a lot of water during a long run and not taking in any other nutrients. Not really an issue for people eating meals.

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Old 04-07-2010, 09:46 PM   #14
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As others have said, I thought it was pretty well understood that too few calories will slow your metabolism. Makes sense, even w/o understanding the mechanics. People evolved, and the ones who made it were the ones who survived the lean times. One way is to slow the metabolism. And then, when you do eat, you really put the fat on, to save that for the next lean time.

I'd also be careful about assigning significance to a single pound either way. 16 Oz of water is about one pound. One pair of shoes versus another, or a belt, etc, makes a difference. The body just varies.

When I was serious about losing weight, I measured myself every day at work, on the same scale, at the same time, and w/o getting into too much detail, followed the same 'procedure' each day, as much as possible. I even factored in the pair of shoes I had that weighed significantly more than the others. Even with that, I could have variations of 2 pounds from day to day, easy. Never paid attention to any single measurement, I looked at the running averages and trends. If you start responding to single readings, you will find yourself in the classic 'under-damped' cycle, and you'll probably be doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

It drove me nuts to see all these diet articles that said to only weigh yourself once a week, because of the variations. Most of my career was involved with measuring things. Trust me, if the measurement you are making is unstable, you take MORE readings (and apply statistics to them), not FEWER! /rant

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Old 04-07-2010, 10:16 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the comments...... however, I wasn't asking for advice. I've been a low carb dieter for a long time, but since xmas I have really tried hard, and have simply not been able to lose, and I'm not going below 800 calories a day.

I was just commenting that my wife's "healthy eating program" has everybody in her group steadily losing weight if they stay between the range of calories given, and drink at least 48 oz of water a day. They eat a variety of foods, keep their roughage up, and they are steadily losing weight.

Funny thing is with all the water, I have the same lack of hunger that I had on low carb, and I'm not having edema problems. Its amazing, but with the data my wife has collected for almost 4 weeks, its clearly real.

z
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:34 PM   #16
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I read someplace (and can't find the reference now, so don't know how authoritative it was) that drinking too much water (48 oz doesn't seem that excessive) is bad because could lose too much salt / minerals.
Like Audrey says, outside of the hospital hyponatremia usually only happens during excessive exertion without eating-- like Ironman triathlons, marathons/ultra-marathons, and aircraft carrier flight-deck operations. It's hard to do by accident, and people usually do it to themselves by deliberately over-hydrating.

I go through a 32-oz water bottle during a 90-minute taekwondo workout and I still feel dehydrated. If I'm wearing sparring gear then I'll go through that volume in the first hour. I probably sweat way more than necessary by drinking so much water, but I'd rather do that than dehydrate and add a bunch of cardiovascular stress to an already stressful workout.

As for dieting and carbs, I never eat too much-- I just don't work out enough. But I've finally decided that it's better to load up on yummy protein than a bunch of carbs, even if that adversely affects my beer & sugar consumption.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:34 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the comments...... however, I wasn't asking for advice.


z
One of the fascinating things about this forum is that advice is almost always given. Including to people who aren't posting but are the subject of posts. Mark that in a column of characteristics of ERs or aspiring ERs.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:15 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the comments...... however, I wasn't asking for advice. I've been a low carb dieter for a long time, but since xmas I have really tried hard, and have simply not been able to lose, and I'm not going below 800 calories a day.
I know how frustrating that can be, so I apologize if I misinterpreted what you were trying to do with your OP.

But I still am really curious why you would do both low-carb and low-calorie dieting. Unless you are 4' 11", weigh 49 pounds and lead a sedentary lifestyle, 900 calories is way too low.
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As a guide to minimum calorie intake, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low.
I do admire your willpower though. There is no way I could have gone 3-4 months on 900 calories per day. Not without guns and barbed wire being involved.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:04 PM   #19
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I was just commenting
What was your objective. I don't get the point.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #20
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One of the fascinating things about this forum is that advice is almost always given.
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I know how frustrating that can be, so I apologize...
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What was your objective. I don't get the point.
I'm with dex - what is the point, why should anyone be surprised at, or apologize for providing info on the original post?

If I started a thread, describing how the paint was peeling on my deck, I sure would not be surprised that people chimed in with suggestions.

I think it would be odd for me to come back and say - 'Oh, I didn't want any help or analysis, I just wanted to tell everyone my paint was peeling.'.

So, what is the point? Most people have mirrors in their home if they just want to talk to themselves. I don't get it. Or, if you want to do it electronically, start a blog with the 'comments' feature turned off. But if you post to a discussion forum, expect, and don't apologize for.... discussion.


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