Is starvation mode really a thing?

Getting opinions here about starvation. I'm a big girl trying my hardest to lose weight. I've lost 19lbs so far, and started 11 weeks ago. I'm eating 1500 calories a day. I'm currently 377. I just feel like at this weight, I should be losing more. Mfp tells me 2500 calories a day.. I think that's insanity. Lol. And now I'm wondering if my body is holding onto the fat for energy. Any one had this happen or have tips to help me?
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Replies

  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,493 Member
    Starvation mode is a thing ("adaptive thermogenesis") but it's a response to LONG TERM calorie restriction (like years). 11 weeks wouldn't really count.

    You're losing an average of almost two lbs per week-- which is a reasonable rate.

  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,266 Member
    Starvation mode isn't really a thing, but there are a few things that can happen:
    - with an agressive calorie deficit, your body can try to conserve energy by cutting down on less essential processes (hair growth, nails,...) and by making you feel more tired (you might become less active without realizing it - less fidgeting, less moving around,…)
    - also, an aggressive calorie deficit stresses the body, and stress can cause water retention.

    Aside from that, other things to consider:
    - depending on the accuracy of your food logging, you might be consuming more than you think: are you weighing everything you eat? Verifying that the food database entries you're using are accurate?
    - MFP (like other calculators) uses statistical averages to calculate a calorie goal - you may or may not be average, you might potentially have a slower metabolism than average
    - have you started exercising? That can also cause water retention, masking fat loss on the scale.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,266 Member
    edited August 2021
    PS: I'm wondering: MFP tells you 2500 calories for what? Weight maintenance? If so, nearly 2lbs of weight loss per week at an intake of 1500 sounds pretty accurate - a calorie deficit of 1000 calories per dag equates to around 2lbs lost per week.
  • Ladyamanda87
    Ladyamanda87 Posts: 36 Member
    Sorry forgot to add yes I weigh everything:)
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,761 Member
    FYI - The activity setting is nothing to do with purposeful exercise.
    Sedentary, Lightly Active etc.. are to estimate your daily activity and movement patterns, not your exercise.
    Things like your job, household chores, childcare......

    Best of luck, stick with it but try not to be impatient.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,266 Member
    edited August 2021
    I just put in my weight, age, etc and selected to lose 2lbs a week and it says 2500 calories I can consume. I also put it on sedentary because I'm not exercising yet. I do have a low active thyroid so I know my Metabolism is super slow. I actually have thyroid cancer, and finding that out was a huge reason why I've been able to stick with this for 11 weeks. Honestly I usually give up by now. But I want as less recovery issues as possible and that has a huge impact on my weight.

    I'm wondering if you haven't made an error in the goal settings somewhere? 2500 as a goal for 2lbs per week would mean 3500calories for maintenance, which seems too high for you (granted, I only know your weight and activity level, not your age or height).
    Obviously this is theoretical, since you're eating 1500, not 2500.

    I know we all want the weight gone sooner than later (especially since you are thinking of recovery post-surgery, if I understand correctly?) but nearly 2lbs per week is a good rate!
    Are you okay eating 1500 calories, or are you struggling with it?
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 526 Member
    edited August 2021
    If I were you - just to check and see if the calorie goal is ~accurate --- use a TDEE calculator and also put in your lifestyle/activity level as 'sedentary' and see what your TDEE is.

    Subtract a moderate amount of calories from that to lose weight (some online calculators will do this for you to give you a calorie goal).

    If you are losing 2lbs per week, then I'm not sure what you are concerned about....losing MORE weight than that per week usually comes with some other not so nice things so you really don't want to be doing that aggressive of weight loss anyway.

    For reference just as an example: I'm 34F, 5'3", 118lbs and my TDEE is usually estimated to be ~1500 (I eat 16-1700 and am maintaining my weight)......so I'm not sure it's actually 'insanity' for your calorie goal to be somewhere over 2000...just think you should use another option to check it. **Edit just to add that I choose 'sedentary' as my activity level as well when using a TDEE calculator just bc I don't want to include my intentional exercise, I simply log that exercise in MFP and eat those calories back so due to my activity there are days I eat over 2000 calories as well. Including any intentional exercise I think just depends on what makes the numbers easier for you in your head....
  • Ladyamanda87
    Ladyamanda87 Posts: 36 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    I just put in my weight, age, etc and selected to lose 2lbs a week and it says 2500 calories I can consume. I also put it on sedentary because I'm not exercising yet. I do have a low active thyroid so I know my Metabolism is super slow. I actually have thyroid cancer, and finding that out was a huge reason why I've been able to stick with this for 11 weeks. Honestly I usually give up by now. But I want as less recovery issues as possible and that has a huge impact on my weight.

    I'm wondering if you haven't made an error in the goal settings somewhere? 2500 as a goal for 2lbs per week would mean 3500calories for maintenance, which seems too high for you (granted, I only know your weight and activity level, not your age or height).
    Obviously this is theoretical, since you're eating 1500, not 2500.

    I know we all want the weight gone sooner than later (especially since you are thinking of recovery post-surgery, if I understand correctly?) but nearly 2lbs per week is a good rate!
    Are you okay eating 1500 calories, or are you struggling with it?

    Hmmm maybe I did make an error somewhere. I'm 34, and 5'5. I'll try to go back and see if I messed up. Thank you! I'm doing better then I thought with 1500. I know 2lbs a week is a good weightloss, I just always feel like it's not good enough.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,392 Member
    There is a group here called, "Larger Losers" for those with a lot to lose, you would find support and empathy and information there - if you'd like to join the group, here's the link:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/133315-larger-losers

    If you do join, then you can find it again either in the Main "Community" index, or by going to "Groups" in the dark blue navigation bar at the top (when in "Community")
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    If I were you - just to check and see if the calorie goal is ~accurate --- use a TDEE calculator and also put in your lifestyle/activity level as 'sedentary' and see what your TDEE is.

    Subtract a moderate amount of calories from that to lose weight (some online calculators will do this for you to give you a calorie goal).

    If you are losing 2lbs per week, then I'm not sure what you are concerned about....losing MORE weight than that per week usually comes with some other not so nice things so you really don't want to be doing that aggressive of weight loss anyway.

    For reference just as an example: I'm 34F, 5'3", 118lbs and my TDEE is usually estimated to be ~1500 (I eat 16-1700 and am maintaining my weight)......so I'm not sure it's actually 'insanity' for your calorie goal to be somewhere over 2000...just think you should use another option to check it. **Edit just to add that I choose 'sedentary' as my activity level as well when using a TDEE calculator just bc I don't want to include my intentional exercise, I simply log that exercise in MFP and eat those calories back so due to my activity there are days I eat over 2000 calories as well. Including any intentional exercise I think just depends on what makes the numbers easier for you in your head....

    Okay thank you. I'll check it now! I know 2lbs a week is good, and healthy. I just thought it would be more at first. It's hard to be this big and when I lose 20lbs I feel no different but someone else loses 20 I can definitely tell lol. I just need to chill and focus.

    no your fine....2500 would be maintenance based on other calculators.

    But yes 2lbs a week is pretty good.

    As for starvation mode....no. Simple answer.

    But logging is tricky too....using correct entries is as important as weighing food in grams and logging it all.

    As well remember that there are stress hormones that can cause water retention, there is a "whoosh" thing that can happen where all of the sudden you drop a bunch of weight...usually water weight but there are some good reads on it.

    slow and steady...slow and steady...
  • EyeOTS
    EyeOTS Posts: 362 Member
    From what I've read, starvation mode isn't completely fake but is greatly exaggerated
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,700 Member
    My all time favorite article on starvation mode, adaptive thermogenesis, and metabolic adaptation:

    https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/starvation-mode/