Is this a thing? (losing more when eating more calories)

First let me preface by saying I know about weight fluctuations, that the scale isn't always super accurate, and especially for women, our weight can be all over the place.

My question is basically: does eating too few calories cause stalls/can eating within what you are recommended to eat allow you to lose more steadily?

I have had calories everywhere between 1,000 a day and 1,800 a day. I went through the normal phases of restricting too much assuming I would lose more weight that way (I didn't), and being scared to eat too much or I will gain or won't lose (also incorrect).

I would gradually lower my calories, my weight would "Stall". Not really a stall, basically just the scale not moving for a few days. This was before I realized that was super normal. But during those dumb moments, I kept trying to eat less and less until it was maybe 1,100 calories a day. This was on days with exercise and me being in the 250s.

Yet when I now eat around 1,600 calories a day (before exercise) like MFP tells me to do, and I don't stubbornly resist, suddenly I am losing the 1-2 lbs a week I intend to.

I have heard people talk about how if you eat too little, your body holds on to the fat it has, or something like that. Is that still true or is this just a total coincidence?

I guess it doesn't matter, I was more just curious. And happy I can eat more.
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Replies

  • justanotherjenn
    justanotherjenn Posts: 64 Member
    ccrdragon wrote: »

    I have heard people talk about how if you eat too little, your body holds on to the fat it has, or something like that. Is that still true or is this just a total coincidence?

    This is not true - the body burns calories whether you feed a certain amount or not. Your body will not 'hold on to fat' like this.

    That's one of the things I was curious about. There is so much misinformation out there.
  • justanotherjenn
    justanotherjenn Posts: 64 Member
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    No, it's not a thing. Science is a thing and there's no way around energy balance. What trips up many people is how incredibly inaccurate we can be in our efforts to calculate/track/manage/evaluate our own energy balance for the sake of weight control.

    For sure. I had "calorie fear" for so long because it's like everyone touts 1,200 calories being some magical number for everyone, that if I was given more than that, I would be like.. nooo that's too much for me.
  • justanotherjenn
    justanotherjenn Posts: 64 Member
    pinuplove wrote: »
    From personal experience, eating too little has a noticeable effect on my NEAT. Not to the point I don't lose weight, but I can see how someone might perceive it that way in the short term.

    I'd rather eat more and in return feel better and move more while getting essentially the same results.

    Definitely! I am soooo much happier eating those extra 400 calories a day, that I don't even know how I managed to eat so little.
  • justanotherjenn
    justanotherjenn Posts: 64 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    First let me preface by saying I know about weight fluctuations, that the scale isn't always super accurate, and especially for women, our weight can be all over the place.

    My question is basically: does eating too few calories cause stalls/can eating within what you are recommended to eat allow you to lose more steadily?

    I have had calories everywhere between 1,000 a day and 1,800 a day. I went through the normal phases of restricting too much assuming I would lose more weight that way (I didn't), and being scared to eat too much or I will gain or won't lose (also incorrect).

    I would gradually lower my calories, my weight would "Stall". Not really a stall, basically just the scale not moving for a few days. This was before I realized that was super normal. But during those dumb moments, I kept trying to eat less and less until it was maybe 1,100 calories a day. This was on days with exercise and me being in the 250s.

    Yet when I now eat around 1,600 calories a day (before exercise) like MFP tells me to do, and I don't stubbornly resist, suddenly I am losing the 1-2 lbs a week I intend to.

    I have heard people talk about how if you eat too little, your body holds on to the fat it has, or something like that. Is that still true or is this just a total coincidence?

    I guess it doesn't matter, I was more just curious. And happy I can eat more.

    Not in the sense that the body just holds onto fat...but the human body strives for homeostasis and in a large energy deficit the human body will shut down or slow down non-essential functions like growing hair, nails, and in some cases loss of menstrual cycle, etc. This helps the body conserve energy and thus decreases the CO part of the equation...all of your body's basic functions require energy (calories)...and quite a lot of them.

    Additionally, most people in a steep deficit will notice a decrease in their NEAT if they're paying attention...decrease in involuntary movements like fidgeting...more lethargic and fatigued in general so less general movement, etc. Exercise also tends to not be as productive.

    Large deficits also really mess with your hormones and throw everything out of whack, and while a calories are far and away the biggest factor in weight management, hormones also play a roll. In a large deficit, cortisol in particular is elevated which can inhibit fat loss and also cause water retention.

    This is super helpful. Thank you!
  • LyndaBSS
    LyndaBSS Posts: 6,971 Member
    When I started here, I was at 1200 calories for a 2 lb/week loss. I was hungry and a little stressed and changed to 1370 calories for a 1 lb/week loss. That's when the weight started coming off.

    Oh, if it matters, this was a plant based diet with seafood, eggs and some dairy (pescatarian). I don't eat lite this or no fat that. No reason to.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,617 Member
    what some people find is that an increase in calories - they move more (more steps, more fidgiting) as well as sleeping better and working out more effectively - all of which contribute to increased weight loss

    It can also help with overall satiety and adherence.