Hoarding Calories

Hi, so if you eat 1000 calories, then burn 500 calories, apparently your body will "know" you are not getting enough food and will "hold onto" the calories you take in, because it "thinks" you are starving.

Does nobody else think this is bull****? Your body is a machine. If I eat a certain amount and burn a certain amount, I am going to lose weight, surely? My body does not "know" or "think" anything, as far as I know.

Any research I do leads me to think that starvation mode only happens to people who are actually starving, i.e. people who are eating far too little for a long, long time.

And as for people saying "my metabolism is ****ed", as far as I am aware, metabolism is the speed that your body burns energy. Presumably, if you are not burning your energy fast enough, you either have a hormone problem (thyroid etc) or you are not doing enough activity to warrant your body burning the energy you are putting into it.

Am I wrong about this?

I am fully supportive of the idea that people shouldn't eat far too little, but this is because this minimises the likelihood of giving up because it is too hard, and falling back into old habits, and it's easier to keep going long term, not because your body is some magical thing which can somehow start hoarding calories instead of using them.
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Replies

  • BarackMeLikeAHurricane
    BarackMeLikeAHurricane Posts: 3,416 Member
    Eating very few calories can cause some adaptive thermogenesis but never enough to stop or reverse weight loss. You might see a reduction in BMR of maybe 10% at the most, but mainly it's bs.

    The other time it's somewhat relevant, is in the very lean. Your maximum calorie deficit is 31.4 x pounds of body fat. If someone is 130lbs and 10% body fat, they only have 13lbs of fat left. Their maximum calorie deficit would be about 400 calories. If they go below this, they will lose lean tissue (muscle, organs, etc.) but for the obese/overweight this isn't a problem.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,303 Member
    I think you are right OP. A body can't ignore the need to burn calories, it can only become more efficient at it.. As long as there are fat stores, the body will use them when it needs energy.
  • Calliope610
    Calliope610 Posts: 3,769 Member
    Looks like this is gonna be good.
  • s_violet
    s_violet Posts: 2
    Completely agree with you! If you try and find research behind the starvation mode myth, as I like to call it, the research isn't very sound. Ketosis however is something completely different.
    There was one study, I think, where a few people they experimented on, lost weight quickly and were then put on a maintenance diet. On average they required less calories to maintain than someone who was the same weight but had never dieted.
    I can only guess that due to muscle being lost alongside fat, perhaps they ended up with less muscle, and it seems to be generally agreed that you burn more calories while resting if you have more muscle. But this was a really small study anyway.
    I'll try and post you the link to the study if I get chance.
    And yes metabolism will slow as you lose weight.. because you are.. losing mass..
  • janessanessa
    janessanessa Posts: 299 Member
    My body does not "know" or "think" anything, as far as I know.

    glad my brain works, i am thankful I am able to "know" and "think" lots of things. :)
  • AlexPaige
    AlexPaige Posts: 72 Member
    Reading the title made me think this was going to be a thread about people who save all their calories throughout the day for one big splurge. Oh, how wrong I was.
  • timbrom
    timbrom Posts: 303 Member
    Hi, so if you eat 1000 calories, then burn 500 calories, apparently your body will "know" you are not getting enough food and will "hold onto" the calories you take in, because it "thinks" you are starving.

    Does nobody else think this is bull****? Your body is a machine. If I eat a certain amount and burn a certain amount, I am going to lose weight, surely? My body does not "know" or "think" anything, as far as I know.

    Any research I do leads me to think that starvation mode only happens to people who are actually starving, i.e. people who are eating far too little for a long, long time.

    And as for people saying "my metabolism is ****ed", as far as I am aware, metabolism is the speed that your body burns energy. Presumably, if you are not burning your energy fast enough, you either have a hormone problem (thyroid etc) or you are not doing enough activity to warrant your body burning the energy you are putting into it.

    Am I wrong about this?

    I am fully supportive of the idea that people shouldn't eat far too little, but this is because this minimises the likelihood of giving up because it is too hard, and falling back into old habits, and it's easier to keep going long term, not because your body is some magical thing which can somehow start hoarding calories instead of using them.

    And what happens to machines when they run out of fuel?
  • chandanista
    chandanista Posts: 986 Member
    I didn't believe it until it started to happen to me. Now I do.

    I upped my calories last week. I had been very tired and my loss slowwwweeed way down from what it was.

    I'm down a half pound already. Same activity level.

    I don't know the science behind it and won't pretend I do. I just know it was suggested, and I've tried it, and I'm happy with results so far.
  • WendyTerry420
    WendyTerry420 Posts: 13,276 Member
    My body does not "know" or "think" anything, as far as I know.

    glad my brain works, i am thankful I am able to "know" and "think" lots of things. :)

    Same here!

  • brower47
    brower47 Posts: 16,356 Member
    Hi, so if you eat 1000 calories, then burn 500 calories, apparently your body will "know" you are not getting enough food and will "hold onto" the calories you take in, because it "thinks" you are starving.

    Does nobody else think this is bull****? Your body is a machine. If I eat a certain amount and burn a certain amount, I am going to lose weight, surely? My body does not "know" or "think" anything, as far as I know.

    It's not about your body being sentient outside of your brain. It's about your body needing certain amount of different macro and micro nutrients to function properly. It's about more than just the calories. Netting 500 calories makes it nearly impossible, without a very, very specific and monitored diet, to get everything your body needs. If it doesn't get what it needs, certain processes are hampered or shut down, the same way a car 'knows' to stop running when it runs out of gas.

    Now eating very low calories one day will not cause your body to shut down because the body doesn't operate one a strict 24 hour period. Doing this over the long term however will cause your body to run out of certain vital nutrients and that's when your body will 'know' to start failing.

    It is a complex machine and like any complex machine, it needs complex parts, maintenance and fuels to operate. Fail to maintain proper upkeep and you will be earning yourself a complex machine that will need complex repairs to get it back up and running as it should.

    So just eat properly, with enough calories, macros and micro nutrients now so that you never have to fix any damage later.
  • Happymelz
    Happymelz Posts: 536 Member
    the fact is, your body needs a minimum # of calories to function. If you eat 1200 calories but burn 500, then your body only has 700 to use to do regular everyday things...like digesting food...breathing...pumping blood...letting you stand up, etc.

    There are formulas online that help you determine what your body needs just to function properly. Google BMR calculator.
  • annakow
    annakow Posts: 385 Member
    I didn't lose one pound in 3 weeks just because I wasn't eating enough...I was eating between 1000 and 1300 plus doing Tae Bo nearly every night. I decided to eat more and top up my intake to 1600 calories and I lost a pound in last 3 days...Maybe it doesnt work with everybody but it does work with me.
  • evileen99
    evileen99 Posts: 1,564 Member
    The metabolic slow down that can occur with severe deficits doesn't occur after just one or two days--it takes a long time. So not likely to happen after a week or two.
  • WendyTerry420
    WendyTerry420 Posts: 13,276 Member
    Reading the title made me think this was going to be a thread about people who save all their calories throughout the day for one big splurge. Oh, how wrong I was.

    I do this a LOT! I also hold off on eating breakfast until I am truly hungry, which usually takes a few hours.
  • YogaNikki
    YogaNikki Posts: 284 Member
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  • rowanwood
    rowanwood Posts: 510 Member
    Hey, if you want to net 1000 calories, it doesn't hurt me. It might hurt you, but I'm sure as heck not going to argue with anyone about it.


    *noms foods*
  • shirleygirl910
    shirleygirl910 Posts: 503 Member
    Don't assume it's fat you are burning.
  • Greenrun99
    Greenrun99 Posts: 2,065 Member
    Let me know how that works out for you with a "Help I have been eating 1000 calories and I am stuck!!! What am I doing Wrong" Thread.
  • sunlover89
    sunlover89 Posts: 436 Member
    So explain to me why I lose weight at a faster pace eating 1600-1800 calories a day as compared to 1200 calories a day? Hmmm... maybe it's because my brain, which controls my bodily functions, reduces my metabolism when I'm not eating enough to sustain it.

    And can someone explain why the opposite happens to me?!
  • lilcassers
    lilcassers Posts: 163
    This is absolutely true. Your body goes into whats called "starvation mode" and pumps off a bunch of hormones, one being insulin. This is unhealthy and will contribute to weight gain.

    For example, I burn about 600 calories per day working out so I make sure to eat 1,800. It is unhealthy for any woman to go under 1200.