Can eating too few calories stop you from losing weight?

I've been doing MFP for a little while now, and at the beginning it was a real struggle to stick to my calorie allotment. Now it's gotten much easier, and there are more and more days where I'm fine several hundred calories under my goal. (My goal is in the 1400s, and sometimes I feel full when I hit 1100-1200.) Should I intentionally eat more? I've heard that your body can go into starvation mode if you eat too few calories and make it harder to lose weight. I understand if you're literally starving yourself. But shouldn't I listen to my body and stop eating when I'm full?

I'm by no means at risk of being anorexic or anything. I'm just on the lower boundary of "overweight" in terms of my BMI, or the upper bounds of "normal," depending on the day. I would have no problem at all eating more calories. Just not sure if I should be.
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Replies

  • KatieHall77
    KatieHall77 Posts: 128 Member
    edited June 2018
    Good question!
    If you're truly feeling full and satisfied, you might be getting enough.
    My advice is to start weighing and measuring your servings for everything. Most of us (myself included) will assume that we've eaten one serving, but it's usually so hard to visualize that we wind up eating 2-3 servings.

    if this is not the case with you, and you're already sure of how much you're getting, my apologies.
    Actually 1200 isn't too bad, assuming you're not like, seven feet tall.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,932 Member
    Only if you easy so few that you die.
  • Alyssa_Is_LosingIt
    Alyssa_Is_LosingIt Posts: 4,696 Member
    Only if you easy so few that you die.

    This is not true.

    After we die, our bodies decompose and we continue to lose weight. Though bloating can be an issue in the beginning.

    Jk.

    OP, starvation mode is a myth. You will not halt weight loss by eating too few calories. If this were the case, then starving children in Africa would be a whole lot fatter.

    I agree with @kimny72 about the negative consequences associated with consistently undereating, though. It's definitely not healthy or sustainable, and for the most part you should be trying to eat a little closer to your goal, especially if you're exercising. Though a day or two of undereating is probably fine as long as it doesn't become a habit.
  • solieco1
    solieco1 Posts: 1,559 Member
    Only if it causes you to give up and go on a binge regularly.
  • lacyphacelia
    lacyphacelia Posts: 58 Member
    Isn't there a sticky around here for adaptive thermogenesis? I'd see those links posted all the time in similar questions. A sticky would be helpful for general information.
  • diannethegeek
    diannethegeek Posts: 14,776 Member
    Isn't there a sticky around here for adaptive thermogenesis? I'd see those links posted all the time in similar questions. A sticky would be helpful for general information.

    There are at least two, currently:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1077746/starvation-mode-adaptive-thermogenesis-and-weight-loss/p1

    And

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/761810/the-starvation-mode-myth-again/p1

    You can also nominate new stickies here: https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10260479/nominate-posts-for-announcement-status-stickies#latest
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,736 Member
    I’m currently trying to only eat when I’m hungry so I can break out of the habit of eating based on what time of day it is. And yesterday for example I only had 1000 calories, today’s looking slightly more .. I don’t think you should ever eat for the sake of it, I agree with eating only when your feeling hungry and stopping once you are full

    I think there are some specific circumstances where "eating for the sake of it" would be a good practice. For example, if I'm about to go for a long run in the morning, I may not be hungry. But I'll eat something light because I know from past experience that if I run more than 10 miles or so, I can't do that on an empty stomach.

    Another example would be people with specific medical conditions or taking certain prescription drugs.

    I have a history of getting distracted and not eating for days. Then I eat(for days). My hunger cues have been jacked up for 20+ years. And I don't have a full cue. I do have some craving and satiety cues, but they're not perfectly reliable either. I know that my situation isn't exactly uncommon. So yeah, if your hunger and satiety cues are on point, Eat from hunger to satiety.

    That's not to say that I have no hunger or satiety cues, just that they aren't reliable and by the time they're noticeable, I'm either REALLY hungry or totally overstuffed.
  • fb47
    fb47 Posts: 1,058 Member
    I’m currently trying to only eat when I’m hungry so I can break out of the habit of eating based on what time of day it is. And yesterday for example I only had 1000 calories, today’s looking slightly more .. I don’t think you should ever eat for the sake of it, I agree with eating only when your feeling hungry and stopping once you are full

    I hope you don't eat 1000 calories on a regular basis.
  • Mandylou19912014
    Mandylou19912014 Posts: 199 Member
    fb47 wrote: »
    I’m currently trying to only eat when I’m hungry so I can break out of the habit of eating based on what time of day it is. And yesterday for example I only had 1000 calories, today’s looking slightly more .. I don’t think you should ever eat for the sake of it, I agree with eating only when your feeling hungry and stopping once you are full

    I hope you don't eat 1000 calories on a regular basis.

    I’m aiming not too, I think minimum 1200 would be better .. Some days I will probably eat a lot more so it would even itself out
  • Mandylou19912014
    Mandylou19912014 Posts: 199 Member
    I’m currently trying to only eat when I’m hungry so I can break out of the habit of eating based on what time of day it is. And yesterday for example I only had 1000 calories, today’s looking slightly more .. I don’t think you should ever eat for the sake of it, I agree with eating only when your feeling hungry and stopping once you are full

    I think there are some specific circumstances where "eating for the sake of it" would be a good practice. For example, if I'm about to go for a long run in the morning, I may not be hungry. But I'll eat something light because I know from past experience that if I run more than 10 miles or so, I can't do that on an empty stomach.

    Another example would be people with specific medical conditions or taking certain prescription drugs.

    Yeah definitely, I think I would pass out if I exercised on an empty stomach! Generally speaking I’m trying to just eat when I’m hungry unless of course I really need to
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    fb47 wrote: »
    I’m currently trying to only eat when I’m hungry so I can break out of the habit of eating based on what time of day it is. And yesterday for example I only had 1000 calories, today’s looking slightly more .. I don’t think you should ever eat for the sake of it, I agree with eating only when your feeling hungry and stopping once you are full

    I hope you don't eat 1000 calories on a regular basis.

    I’m aiming not too, I think minimum 1200 would be better .. Some days I will probably eat a lot more so it would even itself out

    I think this is a good mindset. If this just happened one day then the ramifications would be the same as overeating - largely irrelevant.

    Drawing from the checkbook and finance analogy it seems that when someone goes into debt they would want to eradicate all debt as quickly as possible. That being said does it make sense to stop paying your rent in order to pay off debt? You may be trading a lesser risk in the short term for higher risk in the long term.