Beating a Dead Horse

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Replies

  • People put about 1,000,000 x's too much weight on "my body will go into starvation mode if I don't eat x."


    Eat the amount of calories you need to feel good during the day(and this actually requires HONESTY with yourself) and you're fine. Your body isn't going to start automatically packing on the pounds after 2 days of low caloric intake.

    I think this whole thing started by people trying to make sure that other weight-lossers didn't just start starving themselves to lose weight, and then the concept was grabbed onto and run with in another direction.


    Honestly, I sometimes wonder how many people have had their progress delayed because of all the harping people try to do about "starvation" on this website.
  • kilburni
    kilburni Posts: 22
    The reason that MFP creates a pre-set deficit for you is that it calculates your BMI, your "lifestyle" (sedentary, active, etc) and figures out roughly how many calories you burn in a day all behind the scenes. Then, in order to get you to lose about 2 lbs per week on average, it calculates out a 7000 calorie deficit per week and spreads this over the days. The following link is a good reference for how many calories you burn in a day...

    http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-burned.php

    The reason that they stick to the pre-set deficit is that it's a good way to lose weight in a healthy manner. If you drop too fast you can suffer health risks or issues with skin not stretching back quite enough. Again, the Biggest Loser contestands have doctors, trainers, and emergency medical staff on hand at all times so a lot of this concerns are negligible.

    Now, for eating back your exercise calories...

    If you eat 1,500 calories in a day and then burn 1,000 of them back off at the gym (on top of what you'd normally burn in a day as calculated at the link above) then you could even be putting your body into a negative for the day which would take away from energy used to "fund" normal bodily functions. Sure, it's a great way to shed weight but the point of this site is to be healthy, not drop 50 lbs in a month, right? Eating back JUST your exercise calories allows you to maintain a daily calorie deficit while being healthy at the same time...just my 2 cents!
  • LittleSpy
    LittleSpy Posts: 6,754 Member
    Honestly, I sometimes wonder how many people have had their progress delayed because of all the harping people try to do about "starvation" on this website.

    I wonder how many people have been successful losing weight for the first time because of all the harping people here explaining that you have to *eat* to lose weight and be healthy.

    I know I'm one.

    I know I never would have gotten this far without MFP and what I've learned here. I've starved myself for MONTHS before and I've never lost as much weight as I have this go-round. I've never been healthier, and I've never felt this good about myself. If so many people can benefit the same way I have at the expense of it taking someone else a couple extra months to lose weight because they want to follow MFP advice and do it in a cautious and healthy way, I think the good of that far outweighs the bad.
  • stormieweather
    stormieweather Posts: 2,550 Member
    It isn't necessary to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable manner. There are mega-tons of diet pills, powders, and deprivation plans available if you want it QUICK and you don't care about any possible side effects. I know, I've tried most of them. But that's not what this site is about, as far as I know.

    An excellent way to lose weight is to not eat. Just exercise and have a carrot stick now and then. You'll lose buckets of weight!! I did that once and got down to 100 pounds (I'm 5'5" medium frame) and looked gawdawful. Like a cadaver. Felt like one too. It wasn't from "dieting", but from working two full time jobs, the 2nd being a very physically demanding one. I seriously do NOT recommend it to anyone.

    I see so many people saying it's just Calories In vs Calories Out. The less you eat, the more you'll lose. Technically, that's true. But if it was an absolute, then I'd not be on a plateau for the last 6 months. My RMR is 1800 (tested by a lab), and I HAD been eating between 1200 and 1400 very carefully logged calories. For SIX months. And not lost a single pound. So about that deficit thing??

    I've said before that, in my opinion, the reason eating your exercise calories works for some people and doesn't work for others is due to inaccuracies in their data - their activity level, their food measurements, their calories burned during exercise. Small miscalculations here and there and you've demolished your pre-established deficit, which equals no weight loss.

    Do what works for you. If you feel energetic, healthy, alert, and are losing weight...more power to you. But don't slam the people here who recommend what works for them.
  • callie365
    callie365 Posts: 689
    Karmas... interesting topic!! Bump... to read later.
  • MTGirl
    MTGirl Posts: 1,490 Member
    Honestly, I sometimes wonder how many people have had their progress delayed because of all the harping people try to do about "starvation" on this website.

    I wonder how many people have been successful losing weight for the first time because of all the harping people here explaining that you have to *eat* to lose weight and be healthy.

    I know I'm one.

    I know I never would have gotten this far without MFP and what I've learned here. I've starved myself for MONTHS before and I've never lost as much weight as I have this go-round. I've never been healthier, and I've never felt this good about myself. If so many people can benefit the same way I have at the expense of it taking someone else a couple extra months to lose weight because they want to follow MFP advice and do it in a cautious and healthy way, I think the good of that far outweighs the bad.

    smiley-signs011.gif
  • Here is my opinion:

    There are good reasons to eat them and there are good reasons not to eat them.

    Good reasons not to:

    1) Most people underestimate what they eat and overestimate how much they burn in exercise (this has been established through clinical studies even; it's not just someone's opinion). If you set up your goals here on MFP to have a 500 calorie a day deficit, it would be really easy for these calculations to completely wipe out any deficit that you have set up.

    2) Unless you wear a HRM or Bodybugg/GowearFit every time you exercise, the amount of calories MFP or the machines at the gym or any other source says you burn is only an estimate. This estimate may be right on for you, but more likely it's high or low. If it's high, then, again, you are eating more than you should to maintain your deficit

    3) If your deficit is higher, you'll lose weight faster and that can be motivating for people

    4) Our bodies don't turn on a dime. Just because you burned an extra 300 calories today, doesn't mean your body will be hungry for an extra 300 calories today. In fact, it's quite likely that you won't be extra hungry today but will be extra hungry tomorrow. Forcing yourself to eat extra calories on the day you burn them when you aren't hungry for them and not eat them the next day when you are hungry for them is not the way to long term success IMO. Most dietitians recommend you think of yourself as a calorie bank and make sure you stay in balance over a period of several days. An example of this would be to eat 100 of the exercise calories today, 100 tomorrow (on your day off from exercise) and not eat 100 at all as a cushion.

    Good reasons to eat them:

    1) If you work out a lot, you may not have enough energy if you don't eat at least some of your exercise calories. Being tired and grumpy and not recovering well from exercise kind of defeats the point of trying to get healthy, right?

    2) Eating your exercise calories is closer to what you'll do in maintenance so it's good practice

    3) It will cause you to lose weight slower and that can prevent certain health problems such as developing gallstones.

    It's really up to you and works for you. When I was losing my weight, I was on a doctor-supervised program so I did what my doctor told me. That did not include eating my exercise calories. However, as my workouts increased over the minimum they recommended, he did have me increase my protein, which had me eating more calories. But it wasn't a direct 1-to-1 correspondence.

    Thanks SO much for posting. I have heard this too and it makes SO much more sense than eating all your exercise calories that day. I haven't lost a pound since I've started trying to eat all my exercise calories. I decided to go back to the way I was told by weight watchers years ago and since then I've dropped 6 lbs. This is how I've been told to do it, so I think I'll stick to this. Thanks again!!
  • Honestly, I sometimes wonder how many people have had their progress delayed because of all the harping people try to do about "starvation" on this website.

    I wonder how many people have been successful losing weight for the first time because of all the harping people here explaining that you have to *eat* to lose weight and be healthy.

    I know I'm one.

    I know I never would have gotten this far without MFP and what I've learned here. I've starved myself for MONTHS before and I've never lost as much weight as I have this go-round. I've never been healthier, and I've never felt this good about myself. If so many people can benefit the same way I have at the expense of it taking someone else a couple extra months to lose weight because they want to follow MFP advice and do it in a cautious and healthy way, I think the good of that far outweighs the bad.
    Did you actually read what I said, or did you just see that I questioned the starvation scare that seems to permeate this website, and immediately decide to jump to it's defense?

    I never said that you should starve yourself, in fact, I said the exact opposite. My point is that your metabolism does not shut down because you're a couple hundred calories under your daily total. A thousandish? It will eventually.

    You know, I could have sworn that I said something about eating enough that it doesn't make you feel bad, but I guess that was just my imagination. If you're eating enough for your RMR, and you have fat stores, guess what your body does when it needs more energy to burn?
  • LittleSpy
    LittleSpy Posts: 6,754 Member

    Did you actually read what I said, or did you just see that I questioned the starvation scare that seems to permeate this website, and immediately decide to jump to it's defense?

    I never said that you should starve yourself, in fact, I said the exact opposite. My point is that your metabolism does not shut down because you're a couple hundred calories under your daily total. A thousandish? It will eventually.

    You know, I could have sworn that I said something about eating enough that it doesn't make you feel bad, but I guess that was just my imagination. If you're eating enough for your RMR, and you have fat stores, guess what your body does when it needs more energy to burn?

    :laugh:

    Did *you* actually read what *I* wrote? Or did *you* actually just become defensive as soon as you saw I quoted your post? Step back and take a look and see which one of us actually came across defensive.

    You made a point, and then I made a point. It's okay to disagree. :wink:
    Or do we agree?

    Edit: And about the eating enough so that you don't feel bad -- we can't always trust our bodies, especially when we've abused them to the point we're severely overweight. I'm currently experiencing this realization. I have to eat more than I what I need to eat to feel good. It's a very bizarre thing for someone who ate so much she used to weigh 270 pounds to have to come up with ways to eat more healthy calories than what I naturally want after adjusting to a 1200 calorie diet for 5 months. I increased my cals to around 1400 1.5 months ago, lost more weight, now I'm having to increase them again. "Listening to your body" isn't necessarily going to work for everyone.
  • BrendaLee
    BrendaLee Posts: 4,463 Member
    I wonder how many people have been successful losing weight for the first time because of all the harping people here explaining that you have to *eat* to lose weight and be healthy.

    AMEN Sista! ;)
  • Well, I know they work out hard core like 6 hours a day, not to mention having the pool and limited food on the ranch. I think they are setting up "real people" like us for failure. Who has time for a 6 hour hard core workout. Um, I have to work for a living. Not to mention I have lost some respect for the trainers and the show in that they are constantly hawking product, working it into to discussions and it is so lame. I know they have sponsers but come on!! I think that you have to expel more calories than you take in to lose weight and dropping 15-25 lbs a week isn't healthy nor realistic. I saw a show on one guy that I believe was a recent winner and he has gained all his weight back and then some for the reasons I mentioned. The ranch is not real life, you won't always have someone forcing you to work out. Ultimately, it is our own personal responsibilty to work hard and eat right and we will be rewarded with a better body and better health. Sorry, didn't mean to go on a tangent. I love the show but it annoys me at times. lol
  • karmasBFF
    karmasBFF Posts: 699 Member
    KarmasBFF,


    I like the way you think and your ability to debate your opinion respectfully. :flowerforyou:

    I wish we had a "Poll" feature where we could see the results of "Did you eat back your exercise calories?" To be answered only by those who have reached there goal. Maybe Mike will consider this. :flowerforyou:

    Last Time:

    5 years ago, I lost 50 lbs. in less than 6 months on phentermine... I was in a size 6/7 (stretch jeans), weighing 138 lbs. (5'4"). I was flabby all over and felt more self-conscious than when I was 189 :noway: , I didn't dare wear sleevless shirts or shorts above to high above my knees because my arms and legs were so flabby. The weight crept back on pound by pound when I could no longer take Phentermine, because you become "immune" to it. I felt like such a failure for not being able to maintain it. :cry:

    This Time:

    I lost a total of 31 lbs. in 1 1/2 years :noway: That might sound like a long time... I Feel Great, Look Great and I CAN say, I never felt like I was on a diet or deprived myself of Anything. I ate every last exercise calorie back :embarassed: I bought a HRM, just to be able to see the exact amount of "Extra" calories I was going to eat. :laugh: The only reason I exercised was to EAT :laugh: After reaching my goal, exercise is a habit now... I can't go more than 3 days without feeling guilty that I haven't done Something. I :heart: this new HABIT :smile: I'm back in a size 6/7 (Stretch Jeans) at 144 lbs. and I'm a "Brick House" :happy: I don't want to lose anymore, but the weight keeps coming off, very slowly, but I'm not even trying. Instead of eating my maintenance calories (1600) I have my daily allotment set to 1400. I workout 2 days maybe 3 days a week, doing what I love (rollerblading, walking my dog, Zumba, etc).

    My Point:

    I told myself when I began this journey "as long as I don't gain I'm good" and every ounce lost was a Celebration. However, I'm one of those people who doesnt' need to see "numbers on the scale" too often. I weighed myself once a month, if that, because I knew if I didn't see a loss I would feel discouraged. So why do it to myself? I wanted to fit into my clothes and that was my "gadge". Now I can look back and say 1 1/2 years was all I had to "invest" in myself to FEEL & LOOK Fantastic about my Body.:bigsmile: How many "1 1/2 years" have you let go by?

    Although, it is every "overweight" persons wish to lose it NOW. You will be so much happier in the LONG RUN, if you GIFT yourself the TIME to Change Your Lifestyle and Learn how to Keep it OFF for the rest of your life...

    Just my .02 :flowerforyou:

    Thank you for your kind words and thank you for sharing! I see your point!

    But you know how you get the gana to lose weight now and it bites you until you realize (or remember, i should say) that slow and steady is the way to go.

    Its this damn warm weather that is making me crazy! Soon we will have to be in tank tops and shorts just to survive the humidity here! and I want to look good when that time comes! Ultimately, (for now), I think I have learned my lesson (again!) LOL
  • karmasBFF
    karmasBFF Posts: 699 Member


    I've said before that, in my opinion, the reason eating your exercise calories works for some people and doesn't work for others is due to inaccuracies in their data - their activity level, their food measurements, their calories burned during exercise. Small miscalculations here and there and you've demolished your pre-established deficit, which equals no weight loss.

    Do what works for you. If you feel energetic, healthy, alert, and are losing weight...more power to you. But don't slam the people here who recommend what works for them.

    I think this is the KEY factor in a lot of the disagreements! I read that recently, too, about people miscalculating "extra" calories and how much of the TBSP you logged is actually sitting on top of the ACTUAL TBSP you served. I did that just today. I put a TSP of mustard in my TSP measure and when I levelled it off, there was probably another 1/2 TSP sitting in my sink. Before I read that (and Jib123 also pointed that out!), I would have never leveled it off, I would have left it as 1 TSP of mustard, but I would have actually eaten 1.5 TSP. And thank God the worst thing about mustard is sodium but imagine if it was mayo or olive oil or any other thing that has worse values that simple mustard. Also, I've read that extra is only what is OVER your estimated expenditure for that period of time (ENTERS the METS concept.)

    Thank you for pointing this out. I think this is probably the most VALID argument presented in this thread! (Even though you started off kinda smartypants about it! :laugh: :wink: :flowerforyou:
  • Laceylala
    Laceylala Posts: 3,094 Member
    People put about 1,000,000 x's too much weight on "my body will go into starvation mode if I don't eat x."


    Eat the amount of calories you need to feel good during the day(and this actually requires HONESTY with yourself) and you're fine. Your body isn't going to start automatically packing on the pounds after 2 days of low caloric intake.

    I think this whole thing started by people trying to make sure that other weight-lossers didn't just start starving themselves to lose weight, and then the concept was grabbed onto and run with in another direction.


    Honestly, I sometimes wonder how many people have had their progress delayed because of all the harping people try to do about "starvation" on this website.

    If there was a "like" button on this site, I'd hit it for this post. Totally agree!
  • BrendaLee
    BrendaLee Posts: 4,463 Member
    Karma, I've been feeling overwhelmed with the warm weather coming, but it's making me head in the opposite direction- I want to eat more. Explain that logic to me? lol
  • AnneElise
    AnneElise Posts: 4,221 Member
    I think the whole idea is you really can't be healthy if you are eating too little. It really depends on how fast you are wanting to loose weight. This website creates a deficit for you when you put in your weight loose goals. When you work out you are adding to that deficit. If you want to loose quicker, change your goals on the website.
    simple.
  • Karma, I've been feeling overwhelmed with the warm weather coming, but it's making me head in the opposite direction- I want to eat more. Explain that logic to me? lol

    Seriously----that's hilarious. I want to eat more too. I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation :noway:
  • ka_42
    ka_42 Posts: 720 Member
    This is a really long thread and I'm really curious about what will be said! I'm bumping this for reading later (when I'm not supposed to be working) karmasBff - great post!
  • Sparksfly
    Sparksfly Posts: 470 Member
    I think it can work either way for you.

    In high school I did the typical starvation diet, everytime my mom said I was gaining weight. I would workout like a fiend for a week while eating no bfast, a soft pretzel at lunch, and whatever light lean cuisine crap I had in the house. I would loose like 6 lbs in a week, but I felt like *kitten*.

    College I gained about 25 lbs by my junior year so my doctor said I should try a 1200 calorie a day diet. NOT suggesting eating exercise calories back. I lost the twenty pounds in about three months and kept it off until I was about 23?

    Last year I joined MFP (exactly a year ago) and basically stuck to the 1200 calories a day and not exercising. I definately lost weight and this site helped me keep off the 15+ lbs for about 10 months. I maintained from about May- January (by choice) up a few lbs one week, down a few the next until I decided to keep this thing going.

    Feb I started again to continue my original goal of about 30-35 lbs lost. I am trying to stick to 1200 cal on days I don't work out and then eat back about half of my exercise cals when I do workout.

    If I get home from the gym and my diary says I have eaten 1000 cals so far that day and have 1100 cals left from my workout, believe me I will eat some of those to have a substantial dinner (not starve myself!) and maybe dessert :blushing:

    since Feb I have lost 6 or so lbs (20+ total pounds ), maybe more bc I haven't weighed myself in a while. I am almost back down to my high school weight and bought a pair of SIZE 6 shorts last night.

    It's working for me this way now. I could go back to the earlier ways I have done it in the past, but I would definately be more miserable and would NOT know how to feed my body correctly.

    There isn't any pressure on me to drop the weight really quickly and there is no way I could stay at that weight if I wasn't able to enjoy life while getting healthy!
  • MercuryBlue
    MercuryBlue Posts: 886 Member
    My opinion (without reading all the replies 'cause I'm super busy... so sorry!) is that you should do what works for you. That is, some people HAVE to eat their exercise calories. Some people eat their exercise calories and don't see any loses whatsoever. For me, I've always done best eating about half of my exercise calories.

    We're all different people with different bodies, and different metabolisms. What works for one person won't work for everyone. There's no telling how each individual person is going to react to diet and exercise. Sometimes it's not as simple as, "Eat 1200 calories, exercise, eat all your exercise calories back." Some people can eat less than 1200 per day safely, some people need more.

    I believe that 'Eat 1200 per day, exercise, eat your exercise calories back' is a good starting point for someone who is JUST starting to try and lose weight. From there, it's a matter of paying close attention to your body and how it is reacting. If you're not seeing any results, try eating fewer calories and see what happens. Or go the opposite way- eat MORE calories, and see what happens. Eventually, you'll find something that works for you.

    The problem with THIS way of thinking is that it goes against that instant-gratification part of society. We want results- and we want results NOW! People don't have the patience to sit down and actually try to REPAIR their metabolism. Sometimes it can take three or more weeks to notice a change. So if, for example, your body is in starvation mode and you don't know it, when you start eating more calories, you might see a gain for a while. Then your body will adjust, and you'll start dropping pounds again. So many people just don't make it to that point because as soon as the scale goes up, they abandon the process. So begins the yo-you process again. When you're taking time to stop and LISTEN to your body and figure out what works for you.... oh, no! You're taking 'TIME'. This 'time' is precious when you have these unrealistic, self-imposed goals about how you 'should' be losing weight. Especially when your neighbour is losing 2 pounds per week and you're only losing a pound in a half. GASP! You're a failure!

    At the end of the day, do whatever you want. But if what you're doing clearly isn't working, it's probably time to re-evaluate where you're at and make some changes. Progress is not something that happens overnight- have realistic expectations.