Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Why eating too little calories is a bad idea.....

1111213141517»

Replies

  • barneshallbarneshall Posts: 451Member Member Posts: 451Member Member
    I have been on MFP since 2011 but only used it properly and the forums for the last 6 months, the number of posts I see (mostly) from women eating 1000 calories and under or netting less per day when they could lose by eating a higher and healthier intake is heart-breaking. When I used MFP in the past and was a serial starter, I have eaten quite low calories (Around 1300) because I hadn't really a clue what I was doing so I hope this post goes some way to educating those who think that the only way to lose weight is to starve yourself and it will save me typing out the same response repeatedly :lol:

    What is a healthy weight for you and what rate of loss is healthy?
    The BMI range is a good place to start. You can calculate your BMI here http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
    US & UK departments of health* recommend a steady weight loss of 1-2lb per week for those who are obese. If you have any medical concerns it's best to consult with your doctor.

    The science behind weight loss/maintenance/gain
    If you're new to MFP you may or may not have heard the term CICO being thrown around.
    CICO is an energy balance of Calories In & Calories Out.
    To lose weight your CALORIES IN must be less than your CALORIES OUT (CI<CO)
    To maintain weight your CALORIES IN must be the same as your CALORIES OUT (CI=CO)
    To gain weight your CALORIES IN must be more than your CALORIES OUT (CI>CO)

    Understanding how your calorie allowance is calculated8kn2ubmrqx6s.jpg

    Eating low calorie but still not losing weight
    There are many posts already on this subject but in summary, those who are eating low calorie and not losing weight, for the most, this is down to logging inaccuracies either in underestimating calories in or overestimating calories out. Using measuring cups or estimating/eyeballing portion sizes are very inaccurate ways of calculating the calorie content of meals. Using the MFP database/Machine Readings/Non-HR fitness trackers for calorie burns can also be an inaccurate method of determining burns.

    Net Calories and Eating Exercise Calories Back
    Your initial calorie allowance is essentially a net figure - the way MFP is set up you are intended to eat back your calories burned as they are not accounted for in the calculations to acquire the figure. If you ate none of your exercise calories you are putting yourself in a larger deficit than you have set yourself in MFP. This may be ok if you're set at lower rate of weight loss, however if you're already at 2lb per week loss (1000 calorie deficit) then you could be getting less food than you need to fuel your body sufficiently. Going back to "Mildred" above if she didn't eat any of her calories back she would be netting under 850 calories on her active days and this would no doubt impact her energy levels and her running performance.

    The Negative Effect on Weight Loss from Undereating
    Some people may well be able to stick at a 1000+ calorie deficit for long periods of time, however for a lot of us what actually happens when you are being overly restrictive is that we can only manage it for a short while because it's too drastic and we are simply hungry so we decide to pack it in and go back to the way we were eating before and end up in a vicious cycle of binge and restrict that doesn't actually achieve anything.

    The Short & Long Term Effects of Undereating Without Medical Supervision
    In the short term undereating can have the following effect (this is by no means an exhaustive list):
    • Mood Swings
    • Fatigue
    • Constipation
    • Hair Loss
    • Menstrual Irregularities
    • Dizziness
    • Brittle Nails
    • Poor Skin Condition
    • Headaches

    In the long term it can have far more negative effects, such as:
    • muscle loss
    • gallstones
    • electrolyte imbalances
    • organ damage
    • bone density loss
    • vitamin/mineral deficiencies
    and whilst you might feel fine now, there is not always an advance warning of the long term effects.

    Other useful posts that can be read in conjunction with this one:
    Accurate Logging
    Weight Loss is Not Linear
    Why am I not losing weight?

    *https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html *http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/should-you-lose-weight-fast.aspx

    I have been told by a dietician that I am not eating enough, I usually have 3/400 calories spare on an exercise day (3days per week) I have lost only 1.2 kilos in the last 8 months so if I start eating back the calories burned as per MFP, Will I put on weight? How long will it take to adjust? Any thoughts please, I feel quite lost
  • alteredsteve175alteredsteve175 Posts: 1,685Member Member Posts: 1,685Member Member
  • dianefinnegan1dianefinnegan1 Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    I have a hard time reaching my 1200 calories a day. I was banded back in 2007 and tho I have put on about 20 pounds since my initial weight loss, I feel full with the amount I am eating with all the fat and under 20 carbs per day. I guess I will be able to gauge if I am not eating enough if the scale doesn't move???
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 17,189Member Member Posts: 17,189Member Member
    I have a hard time reaching my 1200 calories a day. I was banded back in 2007 and tho I have put on about 20 pounds since my initial weight loss, I feel full with the amount I am eating with all the fat and under 20 carbs per day. I guess I will be able to gauge if I am not eating enough if the scale doesn't move???

    Scale by itself isn't a great way to know - even then need usually more than 30 days of say trend weight to really discern what's going on with it.
    Have to see past the noise of normal water fluctuations.

    Measure in the known 2 or 3 spots you gain or lose fat first to get an idea too.

    And undereating sadly can have some bad side-effects before you can discern from either of those that things are going the wrong direction.

    For instance body can adapt and cause you to move less to conserve energy.
    If that doesn't work lower level functions can be slowed down for same reason - nail/hair growth, skin replace, ect.

    You feeling full and your body being fully fed are 2 different things.

    And I'm betting that 1200 a day was base calories when you are truly at the activity level you selected. And only that.
    Did you pick Sedentary?
    Do you actually have household responsibilities weeknights and weekends that keep you moving - or truly hitting the couch/chair when you get home from a desk job/commute and all weekends? Former is lightly-active

    Did you pick a weight loss rate that was reasonable - if 20 lbs to lose, 1 lb weekly is reasonable for about 5-10 more lbs, then 1/2 lb weekly would be.

    And that base calorie goal has NO expected exercise to it. You'd eat that 1200 (if even correct amount) only when no exercise.
    You do more, you eat more.
    You do less, you eat less. (that's the kicker direction that caused 20 lb gain)

    In a diet a tad less in either case.
    That's the life lesson regarding weight control MFP is trying to teach.

    If your shrunken stomach makes it easy to feel full then it's working - but then you need to eat more frequently if you truly need to meet a goal.
    A goal is something you meet, not try to come way under.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 6,278Member Member Posts: 6,278Member Member
    barneshall wrote: »
    I have been told by a dietician that I am not eating enough, I usually have 3/400 calories spare on an exercise day (3days per week) I have lost only 1.2 kilos in the last 8 months so if I start eating back the calories burned as per MFP, Will I put on weight? How long will it take to adjust? Any thoughts please, I feel quite lost

    This may be more suitably discussed in its own post as opposed to as part of this much longer thread.

    @heybales has discussed some good points above; but, in general, if you are receiving professional advice from a registered dietician who has seen you in person and knows your case history and is caring for you on an ongoing basis... how can our generic and faceless and varying quality non professional opinions and suggestions override that advice?

    Now if you've tried that advice and it doesn't work, or are asking if you should seek a second professional opinion because the first one sounds outrageous, then I can see crowd sourcing answers on the internet.

    But in your case I would address your concerns with the advising dietician and ask them directly to explain the mechanism that under pins their advice and why they think it applies to your case. There is a good chance that it may.
    edited December 2019
  • dianefinnegan1dianefinnegan1 Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    heybales, I have increased my calories but now I find I go over on fat. What happens then??? I am still learning how to put food together to try and get as close as possible to cal, carb, fat and protein. Can you go over on fat and still loose??
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 6,278Member Member Posts: 6,278Member Member
    heybales, I have increased my calories but now I find I go over on fat. What happens then??? I am still learning how to put food together to try and get as close as possible to cal, carb, fat and protein. Can you go over on fat and still loose??

    For weight management only your calories matter.

    For health reasons you may choose to emphasize some macros more than others.

    I generally consider my (set to default) MFP goals as calories are what I want to manage, protein= a desired minimum, fiber=a desired minimum, sodium= something I wish I would not exceed as often as I do, and since I am usually neither very low or very high in terms of total fats, I view then as something where I don't want my saturated fats to be too high, i.e. I would like to see them under 15 grams for myself
    edited December 2019
  • EmilyEnoughEmilyEnough Posts: 46Member Member Posts: 46Member Member
    ellie7187 wrote: »
    I'm voting for this to be stickied as well. Great info!!!

    Sort of in line with this, something I've always wondered because it's been preached in various diets and programs I've tried (or friends have tried)...is "starvation mode" a real thing? Meaning you eat so few calories (or your calorie deficit is so massive) that your body hangs on to weight and fat instead of shedding it?

    I'm not not really asking for myself as I make sure to eat almost all the calories I'm allotted daily (I love food! Haha) but I've always been curious and never found a definitive yes or no on the web.

    I am 5'3" and through a medically founded weight loss company did a 6 mos long diet of 800 cals a day but OVER 125gms of protein, for a consistent loss of 2lbs a week with no additional exercise.

    When I eat the recommended 1200 to get my "loss to post to the feed" I sit at the same weight unless I workout. Not all of us want to workout. Ive done my fair share. macro based weight loss works for me.... 125 gms of protein in a day is SO MUCH nutrition.. i am STUFFED and dont desire more but my calorie load is too low for mfp standards. For ladies 4"10'-5" 2', I don't like this. They have a broad standard in place that Does work for many, even most. But not for all.

    Be sure to eat. Food drives metabolism. 💓
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 13,295Member Member Posts: 13,295Member Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    ellie7187 wrote: »
    I'm voting for this to be stickied as well. Great info!!!

    Sort of in line with this, something I've always wondered because it's been preached in various diets and programs I've tried (or friends have tried)...is "starvation mode" a real thing? Meaning you eat so few calories (or your calorie deficit is so massive) that your body hangs on to weight and fat instead of shedding it?

    I'm not not really asking for myself as I make sure to eat almost all the calories I'm allotted daily (I love food! Haha) but I've always been curious and never found a definitive yes or no on the web.

    I am 5'3" and through a medically founded weight loss company did a 6 mos long diet of 800 cals a day but OVER 125gms of protein, for a consistent loss of 2lbs a week with no additional exercise.

    When I eat the recommended 1200 to get my "loss to post to the feed" I sit at the same weight unless I workout. Not all of us want to workout. Ive done my fair share. macro based weight loss works for me.... 125 gms of protein in a day is SO MUCH nutrition.. i am STUFFED and dont desire more but my calorie load is too low for mfp standards. For ladies 4"10'-5" 2', I don't like this. They have a broad standard in place that Does work for many, even most. But not for all.

    Be sure to eat. Food drives metabolism. 💓

    Uh how does one eat only 800 calories and get over 125 grams of protein? That means over 600 calories from protein. Do you only eat protein powder and canned tuna or what? Also, among other things, that leaves with you dangerously low levels of fiber and fat. It's gonna make your digestive system a mess.

    Obviously, I'm not sure, but I figured that "through a medically founded weight loss company", coupled with the low calories and representations about nutrition, probably implied one of those plans with a lot of proprietary shakes/powders/supplements/bars involved. They're usually quite nutrient dense . . . in the nutrients that are mainstream-accepted as the completely essential ones.

    Without intending to make any assumptions whatsoever about the post/poster you quoted, I do wonder as a generality if these VLCDs, nutrient-dense though they are, may contribute to long-term lower TDEE levels via body composition compromises and something at the upper ranges of normal adaptive thermogenesis. The high protein levels should mediate those effects somewhat, but it seems like I see that sort of phenomenon (low TDEE) in some of my friends around my age (64) who've long-term alternated VLCDs (often without that protein, usually without strength exercise but maybe with cardio), with regain, over a period of decades.

    I'm purely speculating, though; and certainly a healthy weight, especially maintained long term, is a crucial way to reduce health risks.
  • s_rivera_92s_rivera_92 Posts: 71Member Member Posts: 71Member Member
    Was eating 1200 for about a week. Maintained weight for 3 days. Bumped it up to 1550. Consistently loosing .4lbs each day since (on off days from the gym).
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 4,010Member Member Posts: 4,010Member Member
    ellie7187 wrote: »
    I'm voting for this to be stickied as well. Great info!!!

    Sort of in line with this, something I've always wondered because it's been preached in various diets and programs I've tried (or friends have tried)...is "starvation mode" a real thing? Meaning you eat so few calories (or your calorie deficit is so massive) that your body hangs on to weight and fat instead of shedding it?

    I'm not not really asking for myself as I make sure to eat almost all the calories I'm allotted daily (I love food! Haha) but I've always been curious and never found a definitive yes or no on the web.

    I am 5'3" and through a medically founded weight loss company did a 6 mos long diet of 800 cals a day but OVER 125gms of protein, for a consistent loss of 2lbs a week with no additional exercise.

    When I eat the recommended 1200 to get my "loss to post to the feed" I sit at the same weight unless I workout. Not all of us want to workout. Ive done my fair share. macro based weight loss works for me.... 125 gms of protein in a day is SO MUCH nutrition.. i am STUFFED and dont desire more but my calorie load is too low for mfp standards. For ladies 4"10'-5" 2', I don't like this. They have a broad standard in place that Does work for many, even most. But not for all.

    Be sure to eat. Food drives metabolism. 💓

    125 grams of protein is a lot of *protein*. Without knowing exactly what you're eating, it's not at all clear that represents "SO MUCH nutrition." Our bodies need protein, but we need other things too.

    Yes, this.
Sign In or Register to comment.