Starvation Mode

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dk82
dk82 Posts: 142 Member
Hello everyone, This is an article I found about the body going into starvation mode. I found it interesting and thought I would share.
http://caloriecount.about.com/truth-starvation-mode-ft28742
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  • Crysta1976
    Crysta1976 Posts: 184 Member
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    Interesting....thanks for posting! =)
  • 4lafz
    4lafz Posts: 1,078 Member
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    Great! thanks for sharing.
  • nickkehagias
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    I'm so glad you posted this. I said this type of thing a thousand times a couple months ago, and people continuously bashed me for being uninformed and unhelpful. Great find.
  • dk82
    dk82 Posts: 142 Member
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    Well, my food diary kept tell me that I was too low on calories and that my body would go into starvation mode. I had heard the if the body goes into sarvation mode that my weight loss would slow down....don't want that to happen!!!! So I decided to look it up for myself.
  • aippolito1
    aippolito1 Posts: 4,894 Member
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    I think the starvation mode thing is very iffy... I think it's more if you're overexcercising and undereating. Obviously your body needs fuel because I experienced it. I was eating 1200 per day plus exercise calories, leaving 200-300 per day but burning close to 3,000 calories a week. I didn't lose for a month, then as soon soon as I increased to 1400 and started eating all my exercise calories, I lost inches. Love the question & answer at the bottom of the page! Sent it to my mom, who is on the HCG diet. :\

    Thanks for posting, useful information even if I'm skeptical about some of it. :wink:
  • aprueitt
    aprueitt Posts: 91 Member
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    Bump to read later
  • July24Lioness
    July24Lioness Posts: 2,399 Member
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    I'm so glad you posted this. I said this type of thing a thousand times a couple months ago, and people continuously bashed me for being uninformed and unhelpful. Great find.

    Hey, don't feel bad I have been saying this for the past year and some change..............

    I don't believe in Starvation Mode, it is a myth...........I was told that it got started in the 80's to push protein powders to body builders and now it is worth its weight in gold.

    I actually am learning the art of Internittent Fasting and I love it. It gives me a lot of freedom from food and freedom in life in general..........
  • MacMadame
    MacMadame Posts: 1,893 Member
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    Part of the problem is that people mean different things by "starvation mode". The most common I hear around here is: if you don't eat enough calories, your body will go into starvation mode and you won't lose weight!"

    But that doesn't really happen, at least not like that, and it certainly doesn't happen if you have a day or two of really low net calories. It takes months of being on a starvation diet (usually defined as eating 50% or less calories than you burn) to get your metabolic rate to drop so low that your intake and outtake match, if that's even possible.

    In one study, calories were restricted to 50% of what was burned and after about 6 months of this metabolic rate dropped to 40%. But that still left a 10% deficit and the subjects continued to lose weight. (They also went a little mad, but that's another issue.)

    OTOH, almost as soon as you start restricting your calories, even if you are only restricting a little, your BMR will go down. Some people call that "starvation mode." However, most of the scientific literature calls that the "famine response". The amount that your BMR lowers at first is actually pretty small and you probably won't notice it. But the higher your calorie restriction and the longer you restrict, the greater the percentage your BMR slows down. At some point, you get to a place of diminishing returns.

    The other thing that happens is that people aren't machines and we don't live in laboratory conditions. So, while the people in studies continue to lose weight when their intake and output is precisely measured, people in real life do things subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) to get their calorie input and output to balance.

    These include fooling ourselves about how much we're eating -- not remembering to log everything we consume, not measuring and our portion size goes up so we're eating more than we log --- fooling ourselves about how much we're exercising -- remembering that we exercised longer than we did or more intensely than we did -- and doing things to burn less calories -- taking the elevator more, walking less, sitting more, taking more naps, sleeping longer at night, etc.

    We can combat some of this by being on MFP. If you log your food, you are way ahead of someone who doesn't, even if you do get your portion sizes wrong sometimes. If you have a HRM to judge calories burned, instead of using some online formula or the number from a machine at the gym that may or may not apply to you, that helps too.

    The other thing that helps is to eat enough calories that your body can perform your daily activities. That will make it less likely that you will do some of those things that lower your energy expenditure (such as sleeping more and slowing down everyday movement outside of exercise). After all, what's the point of restricting yourself to a 1500 calorie a day deficit if you make up 1000 of those calories by a slower BMR and by moving less? You might as well just aim for a 500 calorie a day deficit to start with -- you'll be less frustrated and you'll be eating closer to how you are going to maintain for the rest of your life.

    Then again, when I was first losing, I had massive calorie restriction because of my surgery -- I could barely eat 750 calories a day for a few months there. But I had tons of energy and was losing weight at a fast enough clip. So I don't think everyone has to eat 1400 net calories to lose weight or that no one can lose much weight with severe restriction. The main thing is to make sure you are being supervised by a doctor, if your net calories are well below your BMR so that you can be checked out for any signs of malnutrition and your diet can be adjusted as needed.

    My doctor had me up my protein take as my exercise intensity went up (which had the indirect impact of upping my calories but not to equal my exercise calories) and I also had regular lab work done. Plus, exercising helps raise your metabolic rate and that can combat the slow down from calorie restriction to some extent.

    The bottom line is that if you expend 2500 calories a day and eat 1500, you will lose more weight than if you expend 2500 and eat 2000. The trick is to keep the expenditure the same as you lower your calories. Most people don't do that.
  • LotusF1ower
    LotusF1ower Posts: 1,259 Member
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    I do not go with any starvation mode - well not in the way it is bandied about all the time anyway.

    If there were a thing such as starvation mode in the way people go on and on about it, could somebody please, please enlighten me on a few things:

    1. If starvation mode cause people to stop losing weight explain how come anorexics can end up at 56lbs or just above - surely going by what some people have gone on and on about, starvation mode should surely have kicked in and stopped such drastic weight loss - so much so in fact, that people weighing so little do die.

    2. If somebody were to have a percentage of fat somewhere like 40% and go below their recommended daily calories (ie 1200), how the hell could they suddenly go into starvation mode when they would have loads and loads of fat to burn!

    True Starvation mode, from what I have gleaned from the medical profession, kicks in when somebody has less than 5% of fat on their body.

    One last comment from me on this starvation mode business to, something which really gets me wound up and on my soap box - I find it a bloody insult to all those that have been starved to death in the past, whether because of famine, concentration camps, food being withheld due to torture etc etc, tell those people and their families about this "starvation mode" and they will wonder why the hell it never kicked in for their loved ones and saved them from an excrutiating death!!! :mad:

    Sorry for the rant, I get so mad because Starvation mode is used blase and can be an excuse by some dieters and it truly is an insult to people that have starved to death in the past.
  • MacMadame
    MacMadame Posts: 1,893 Member
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    True Starvation mode, from what I have gleaned from the medical profession, kicks in when somebody has less than 5% of fat on their body.
    For guys anyway. For us gals, it's more like 10-12 %. Does that make us the lucky ones or them? :laugh:
  • stormieweather
    stormieweather Posts: 2,550 Member
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    Well I get equally angry because people call "starvation mode' a MYTH, when, after 4 years of starvation level dieting (less than 800 calories per day) and 1 year of struggling to reset my metabolism and eat normally, I STILL cannot lose any weight eating at what SHOULD be a healthy deficit. If it's not a myth, then WHY can't I lose weight????? I'm over it and I'm over people who think it's a simple matter of eating less. I weigh, measure, log every damn bite I put in my mouth and after a year and a half of doing so, I'm very positive of what I take in. I eat 1200-1400 calories per day. I've done all sorts of exercises and am currently doing only yoga as I'm trying to de-stress my adrenal glands. And not one single pound or inch in nearly a friggin year. Yeah, no such thing as starvation mode.....riiiiiiiiiiiiight.
  • lisajuly
    lisajuly Posts: 240 Member
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    Well I get equally angry because people call "starvation mode' a MYTH, when, after 4 years of starvation level dieting (less than 800 calories per day) and 1 year of struggling to reset my metabolism and eat normally, I STILL cannot lose any weight eating at what SHOULD be a healthy deficit. If it's not a myth, then WHY can't I lose weight????? I'm over it and I'm over people who think it's a simple matter of eating less. I weigh, measure, log every damn bite I put in my mouth and after a year and a half of doing so, I'm very positive of what I take in. I eat 1200-1400 calories per day. I've done all sorts of exercises and am currently doing only yoga as I'm trying to de-stress my adrenal glands. And not one single pound or inch in nearly a friggin year. Yeah, no such thing as starvation mode.....riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    Stormie, I completely understand. I am going through the same thing and after a LONG time, i am just starting to lose weight, albeit VERY slowly. i spent way too long eating around 1200-1300 cals, running 4-5 mi 4x a week and lifting weights....and GAINING weight. My metabolism was fried.

    When i restarted logging in May, i set my baseline for 1600 cals. There are times that when i run, i can't eat all my exercise cals back, but i make sure that I at least net 1200 every day. There's only been @4 or 5 days since I started when i was under 1200 cals net. And I've lost 5.5 lbs since May 4th, which is INCREDIBLY slow when people are losing that in 2 or 3 weeks. i think i lost 2 or 2.5 lbs for the entire month of June (well, technically thru 7/1)

    In that time, I have weighed just about everything. (ok, sometimes lettuce i don't way, lol). I try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. It's been a very slow process and I understand your frustration. I'm not even trying to reach the low end of my weight range...I'm aiming for the middle and I realize it's going to take a while after the damage i've done to my body.

    Anyway, just wanted you to know that I know how it feels. Friend me if you want some support.
    Lisa
  • theartsymom
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    Mine says the same occasionally. However if my MFP says 1200 a day and sometimes I eat slightly under it (about 1100 or 1000) I doubt your body can go into starvation mode for those 100 or 200 calories, right?
  • LotusF1ower
    LotusF1ower Posts: 1,259 Member
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    For guys anyway. For us gals, it's more like 10-12 %. Does that make us the lucky ones or them? :laugh:

    Good question :laugh:
  • LotusF1ower
    LotusF1ower Posts: 1,259 Member
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    Well I get equally angry because people call "starvation mode' a MYTH, when, after 4 years of starvation level dieting (less than 800 calories per day) and 1 year of struggling to reset my metabolism and eat normally, I STILL cannot lose any weight eating at what SHOULD be a healthy deficit. If it's not a myth, then WHY can't I lose weight????? I'm over it and I'm over people who think it's a simple matter of eating less. I weigh, measure, log every damn bite I put in my mouth and after a year and a half of doing so, I'm very positive of what I take in. I eat 1200-1400 calories per day. I've done all sorts of exercises and am currently doing only yoga as I'm trying to de-stress my adrenal glands. And not one single pound or inch in nearly a friggin year. Yeah, no such thing as starvation mode.....riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    My base rate is just over 1400 calories per day, if I were to eat 1400 calories per day because MFP said I should do that, I wouldn't lose any weight. Do you know what your base rate is, your true base rate. That is where you need to start.

    Some people have a high base rate of say 2000 calories per day, this is the calories that are needed to sustain you just for sitting on your butt doing nothing or laying in bed all day, and then when they go on 1200 calories per day, the weight will literatlly drop off, very quickly. - at first anyway, until the excess fluid has all gone, then it gets down to the nitty gritty stuff of burning off the fat and that is an extremely slow process.

    Open up your diary to public, not so that people, me or anybody else can pick holes in it, that is not for anybody to do, if fact, that would be a bloody cheek to be honest, but so that somebody perhaps can suggest something that perhaps you have inadvertently overlooked and anything that may be helpful to you just has to be good.

    You don't deserve to be so frustrated with it after persevering for so damned long, let others see what they can find, it could be right under your nose what you are missing xxx
  • LotusF1ower
    LotusF1ower Posts: 1,259 Member
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    Mine says the same occasionally. However if my MFP says 1200 a day and sometimes I eat slightly under it (about 1100 or 1000) I doubt your body can go into starvation mode for those 100 or 200 calories, right?

    No, it won't, it's us and our brains that stick everything in rigid little boxes, such as numbers to the dot, not our bodies for one or two days :laugh:
  • stormieweather
    stormieweather Posts: 2,550 Member
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    Well I get equally angry because people call "starvation mode' a MYTH, when, after 4 years of starvation level dieting (less than 800 calories per day) and 1 year of struggling to reset my metabolism and eat normally, I STILL cannot lose any weight eating at what SHOULD be a healthy deficit. If it's not a myth, then WHY can't I lose weight????? I'm over it and I'm over people who think it's a simple matter of eating less. I weigh, measure, log every damn bite I put in my mouth and after a year and a half of doing so, I'm very positive of what I take in. I eat 1200-1400 calories per day. I've done all sorts of exercises and am currently doing only yoga as I'm trying to de-stress my adrenal glands. And not one single pound or inch in nearly a friggin year. Yeah, no such thing as starvation mode.....riiiiiiiiiiiiight.



    My base rate is just over 1400 calories per day, if I were to eat 1400 calories per day because MFP said I should do that, I wouldn't lose any weight. Do you know what your base rate is, your true base rate. That is where you need to start.

    Some people have a high base rate of say 2000 calories per day, this is the calories that are needed to sustain you just for sitting on your butt doing nothing or laying in bed all day, and then when they go on 1200 calories per day, the weight will literatlly drop off, very quickly. - at first anyway, until the excess fluid has all gone, then it gets down to the nitty gritty stuff of burning off the fat and that is an extremely slow process.

    Open up your diary to public, not so that people, me or anybody else can pick holes in it, that is not for anybody to do, if fact, that would be a bloody cheek to be honest, but so that somebody perhaps can suggest something that perhaps you have inadvertently overlooked and anything that may be helpful to you just has to be good.

    You don't deserve to be so frustrated with it after persevering for so damned long, let others see what they can find, it could be right under your nose what you are missing xxx

    I've been here a long time. I don't need to be picked apart. For the last year, I've eaten organic, whole foods and very little is processed. I know full well how RMR and maintenance works and have studied how leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and insulin function to metabolize our nutrients. I test my blood sugar periodically and it's normal.

    I am currently operating on the theory that I possibly have adrenal fatigue (due to the years of extreme dieting plus heavy stress) and am attempting to nourish them back to health. This includes not doing any heavy cardio (as all exercise is a form of stress), replacing it with yoga, getting more sleep, as well as increasing my vitamin B, D, C and pantothenic acid. I'm cutting out all stimulants (caffeine, energy vitamins and drinks) and continuing to eat healthy. Whatever happens, happens.

    But I think it is irresponsible to tell people that they can't hurt themselves or put themselves into starvation mode by eating too little. They most certainly CAN... if done for long enough and severely enough. And no, it does not necessarily mean the person will be an anorexic or look like an concentration camp survivor.
  • NWCountryGal
    NWCountryGal Posts: 1,992 Member
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    Thanks for sharing that. Good stuff and interesting, Denise
    Hello everyone, This is an article I found about the body going into starvation mode. I found it interesting and thought I would share.
    http://caloriecount.about.com/truth-starvation-mode-ft28742
  • NWCountryGal
    NWCountryGal Posts: 1,992 Member
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    Exactly, same for me.

    It kills me to see people starving themselves. All a person needs to do is look at a true athlete, one that is savvy about exercise and food. If you are eating balanced meals, getting enough water and a normal amount of exercise to tone or build muscle(for your size and weight)I doubt if you will be hungry. I know not everyone is the same but if something isn't working for you and you are miserable, anyone here, please change it, try something someone suggests that may sound crazy(like eating more healthy foods(proteins, carbs, fats(yes fats)dairy, multi grains, fruit and vegies). If you are suffering what can it hurt to try??

    denise
    I think the starvation mode thing is very iffy... I think it's more if you're overexcercising and undereating. Obviously your body needs fuel because I experienced it. I was eating 1200 per day plus exercise calories, leaving 200-300 per day but burning close to 3,000 calories a week. I didn't lose for a month, then as soon soon as I increased to 1400 and started eating all my exercise calories, I lost inches. Love the question & answer at the bottom of the page! Sent it to my mom, who is on the HCG diet. :\

    Thanks for posting, useful information even if I'm skeptical about some of it. :wink:
  • NWCountryGal
    NWCountryGal Posts: 1,992 Member
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    It works amazingly and the benefits are not just fat loss but feeling great, physically, mentally, and emotionally!!! woohoo!!!!
    Well, my food diary kept tell me that I was too low on calories and that my body would go into starvation mode. I had heard the if the body goes into sarvation mode that my weight loss would slow down....don't want that to happen!!!! So I decided to look it up for myself.