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Calorie Deficit vs Starving Yourself

pie_eyespie_eyes Posts: 13,149Member Member Posts: 13,149Member Member
I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?
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  • msf74msf74 Posts: 3,501Member Member Posts: 3,501Member Member
    Well a calorie deficit (all diets which achieve weight loss in reality) is a form of starvation in that you are not providing your body which sufficient calories / nutrients to maintain its current state.

    The greater the deficit the greater the possible adverse effects (leading to the conclusion that a moderate to low deficit would suit most, but not all, scenarios better than a steep one.)

    Balanced against this are the health risks of carrying excess weight over the long term.

    Pick your poison.
  • ClosetBayesianClosetBayesian Posts: 834Member Member Posts: 834Member Member
    msf74 wrote: »
    Well a calorie deficit (all diets which achieve weight loss in reality) is a form of starvation in that you are not providing your body which sufficient calories / nutrients to maintain its current state.

    The greater the deficit the greater the possible adverse effects (leading to the conclusion that a moderate to low deficit would suit most, but not all, scenarios better than a steep one.)

    Balanced against this are the health risks of carrying excess weight over the long term.

    Pick your poison.

    Calories and nutrients are not the same thing, thou.
  • msf74msf74 Posts: 3,501Member Member Posts: 3,501Member Member
    msf74 wrote: »
    Well a calorie deficit (all diets which achieve weight loss in reality) is a form of starvation in that you are not providing your body which sufficient calories / nutrients to maintain its current state.

    The greater the deficit the greater the possible adverse effects (leading to the conclusion that a moderate to low deficit would suit most, but not all, scenarios better than a steep one.)

    Balanced against this are the health risks of carrying excess weight over the long term.

    Pick your poison.

    Calories and nutrients are not the same thing, thou.

    Fair point and perhaps I should have left out the nutrient part.
  • TeaBeaTeaBea Posts: 13,711Member Member Posts: 13,711Member Member
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?

    You hear about morbidly obese patients losing weight on 800 calories a day. This is with MEDICAL help (injections & so on). There is something about having lots and lots of weight to lose, that protects existing lean muscle.

    But, fast weight loss is not the same for all sizes. When we get closer to goal we become more at risk for losing existing lean muscle. Losing body fat (just body fat) lowers our overall body fat %. Reducing our body fat % is healthy. Reducing our body fat % gives us a lean look, not a doughy (but smaller) one.

    We are not all nutritionists. If I (a total amateur) tried to meet all my nutritional needs on 1000 calories a day, I would fail more often than not. 1200 gives me a much better shot. 1200 for women, 1500 for men.

    Google weight loss and hair loss. This is just one example of what crash diets can do for you.
    edited February 2016
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    TeaBea wrote: »
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?

    You hear about morbidly obese patients losing weight on 800 calories a day. This is with MEDICAL help (injections & so on). There is something about having lots and lots of weight to lose, that protects existing lean muscle.

    But, fast weight loss is not the same for all sizes. When we get closer to goal we become more at risk for losing existing lean muscle. Losing body fat (just body fat) lowers our overall body fat %. Reducing our body fat % is healthy. Reducing our body fat % gives us a lean look, not a doughy (but smaller) one.

    We are not all nutritionists. If I (a total amateur) tried to meet all my nutritional needs on 1000 calories a day, I would fail more often than not. 1200 gives me a much better shot. 1200 for women, 1500 for men.

    Google weight loss and hair loss. This is just one example of what crash diets can do for you.

    Actually, in most states in the US, and many other regions outside the US, you're a nutritionist if you choose to call yourself one.
    Dietitian is a legally protected term, but you can call yourself a nutritionist.

    Harvard actually has a 1200 calorie sample plan that meets all the nutrient requirements for an average woman.
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/getting-your-vitamins-and-minerals-through-diet
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    I am in a calorie deficit at anything less than 3000 calories. The biggest difference is going to be the results. Many very low calorie diets (especially not under the care of a doctor) will increase muscle loss, increase metabolic adaptation, and depending on the protocols, can lead to hair loss, skin issues, or even hospitalization if you aren't getting the right nutrients.
  • TeaBeaTeaBea Posts: 13,711Member Member Posts: 13,711Member Member
    Keliwar65 wrote: »
    I have been losing weight since 12/14/2015 and have currently lost 34.4 pounds from the 270 starting weight. It includes a very calorie restrictive diet, and counting calories consistently. While some say it is not good to cut calories as severely as I have, if you look up the diet of a person with gastric bypass, they drop to 600 per day...for months before that can even hope to get back to 1,100 calories per day.
    So I decided to take their approach. ..I have not eaten large amounts for years, but always seemed to stay in the same weight range. Although over the last 26 years I went from 220 up to 270...
    Even 1,200 will add weight currently, so I'm tying to work out a balance, as I continue to lose weight. But under 1,000 I hold or still lose slowly, over 1,000 seems to be the tipping point where I gain.

    See a doctor. Honestly, if you gain at anything more than 1,000 calories you have a medical issue (or you are a very petite senior WOMAN). Gaining at anything over 1,000 is not normal, especially for a man. It's more likely you are underestimating what you are eating. Do you weigh your food?

    Gastric bypass PATIENTS have medical support to reach nutritional needs. These are not do-it-yourself projects.

    There's a good reason MFP recommends a minimum of 1,500 calories for men.
    edited February 2016
  • Need2Exerc1seNeed2Exerc1se Posts: 13,589Member Member Posts: 13,589Member Member
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?

    For me, about 500 calories on average.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    Keliwar65 wrote: »
    I have been losing weight since 12/14/2015 and have currently lost 34.4 pounds from the 270 starting weight. It includes a very calorie restrictive diet, and counting calories consistently. While some say it is not good to cut calories as severely as I have, if you look up the diet of a person with gastric bypass, they drop to 600 per day...for months before that can even hope to get back to 1,100 calories per day.
    So I decided to take their approach. ..I have not eaten large amounts for years, but always seemed to stay in the same weight range. Although over the last 26 years I went from 220 up to 270...
    Even 1,200 will add weight currently, so I'm tying to work out a balance, as I continue to lose weight. But under 1,000 I hold or still lose slowly, over 1,000 seems to be the tipping point where I gain.

    It is mathematically impossible to lose weight at 1100 calories but gain weight at 1200. The biggest issue, people eat more than what they actually think.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 35,222Member Member Posts: 35,222Member Member
    A calorie deficit just means you're taking in less energy than you are expending...I expend about 2,800ish calories per day...if I eat 2,300 calories per day I would have a 500 calorie deficit.

    Pretty sure I'd be pretty much starving my body of required nutrients and energy with anything less than about 1,500 calories...and I've never even approached that.
  • hazleyes81hazleyes81 Posts: 296Member Member Posts: 296Member Member
    I don't think this was a debate on what calorie intake should be but on the semantics between "deficit for weight loss" and "starvation." That's just what it is, semantics, although with starvation I consider it more along the path to death with a weight loss deficit having a pre-death end point in mind, so to speak. The 1,000 calorie line is arbitrary in a sense, but also good sense. You CAN survive on less than that, at least to a certain point. After all, there are people in the world doing just that. Your health can and generally will be compromised, and the 1000-1200 calorie lower limit is probably chosen based on likelihood to get adequate minimum nutrition.
  • LounmounLounmoun Posts: 8,361Member Member Posts: 8,361Member Member
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?

    I think starvation is when you are not consuming enough calories to support your basic body functions and fuel your activities. Starvation is technically a calorie deficit but an extreme unhealthy one. You will lose weight and be unhealthy/die depending on how long you do it.
    A healthy calorie deficit to me means eating enough calories to support your body. You do eat fewer calories than you burn but enough to fuel your body. You lose weight, remain healthy and alive.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 33,799Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I read that your body doesn't go into starvation mode unless you don't eat for 3 days

    It takes 72 hours of zero calories to have any down turns in metabolic processes. And no, starvation mode does not exist. What most people are referring to is adaptive thermogenesis. This is a naturally occurring part of dieting. To what extent can be determined by many factors (training, how large of a deficit, etc..).
  • pie_eyespie_eyes Posts: 13,149Member Member Posts: 13,149Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I read that your body doesn't go into starvation mode unless you don't eat for 3 days

    It takes 72 hours of zero calories to have any down turns in metabolic processes. And no, starvation mode does not exist. What most people are referring to is adaptive thermogenesis. This is a naturally occurring part of dieting. To what extent can be determined by many factors (training, how large of a deficit, etc..).

    Interesting
  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 4,606Member Member Posts: 4,606Member Member
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?
    Not trying to sound funny but, starving yourself IS a calorie deficit, a calorie deficit is not necessarily starving yourself...
  • SciranBGSciranBG Posts: 97Member Member Posts: 97Member Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    [...] What most people are referring to is adaptive thermogenesis. This is a naturally occurring part of dieting. To what extent can be determined by many factors (training, how large of a deficit, etc..).

    “Maintenance of a 10% or greater reduction in body weight in lean or obese individuals is accompanied by an approximate 20%-25% decline in 24-hour energy expenditure. This decrease in weight maintenance calories is 10–15% below what is predicted solely on the basis of alterations in fat and lean mass. Thus, a formerly obese individual will require ~300–400 fewer calories per day to maintain the same body weight and physical activity level as a never-obese individual of the same body weight and composition. [...]"

    So I wonder how this plays into the recommended 1200/1500 recommended minimum intake?
  • VerdenalVerdenal Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    pie_eyes wrote: »
    I think starving yourself is defined as eating less than 1000 calories. But what's really the difference between the two?

    Everyone's caloric needs are different. Some people can't lose weight unless they eat less than 1,000 calories. No matter who you are it takes weeks and weeks of extremely low calorie eating to actually starve yourself.

    https://examine.com/faq/how-do-i-stay-out-of-starvation-mode/
  • jennk5309jennk5309 Posts: 203Member Member Posts: 203Member Member
    The difference depends on What your metabolic rate is. I thought 1500 calories a day would be okay for me for weight loss, but I felt like I was starving all the time and would then overeat. I got my resting metabolic rate tested and it turned out that my metabolism is 35% higher than other women my height and weight. I need about 1800-2000 calories a day to lose 1.5-2 lbs a week. Therefore, 1500 was starving for ME. Or at least it felt like it, and I certainly couldn't stick to it!
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