Pages


"You can have the results you say you want, or you can have all the reasons in the world why you can’t have them. But you can’t have both. Reasons or results. You get to choose."


Susan Carlson

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calorie Deficit?

I was reading a blog today (apologies as I can't recall whose blog!) and they had been told they were not eating enough to lose weight.  This didn't surprise me, but the number of people commenting who didn't know this could be a problem did surprise me.

I guess I learned the extreme of this process at an early age.  My sister had anorexia nervosa as a teenager and as part of that we learned about her body burning muscle instead of fat and also how her body quickly stored any extra food as fat once she began eating again.

I have heard it called 'putting your body into starvation mode'.

You can google many articles about this process.  But in my non technical speak: if your body thinks you are starving it stores fat and burns muscle in order to keep you alive longer.  It also slows your metabolism right down in order to make the stores it has last.  It's a very fundamental survival mechanism.  And like all our bodies 'mechanisms' some people are more efficient at this than others.

What does that mean when we are trying to lose weight in a 'sensible' way?

Basically that if we don't eat enough to stop our body from thinking it is 'starving' our weight loss might slow, stop or even reverse. 

The 'right' amount of calories can change over your weight loss journey.  If you exercise a lot your 'net' calories may be reduced even if your eating stays the same.  As you build muscle your basal metabolic rate (BMR: how much you burn sitting doing nothing) might increase so you burn more even without exercise.  So what works today and has you losing a lovely weekly number may need adjusting over time.    

And there is that 'balance'.  We all know that eating too much can also slow, stop or reverse your weight loss!  Also that if we do not change anything else as our body 'shrinks' it uses less energy to do most activities.  So this is not a blanket answer for slowing weight loss.

There are many formulas for calculating the optimum energy in requirement for weight loss.  Many tools for measuring calorie burn.  Calculators for estimating your BMR.  But our bodies are not all made to an exact blueprint.  What works for Mary may not work for Joan.  Not for any 'reason' other than they are different.

So if you are not happy with how your weight loss is going, if you are losing less than the recommended 0.5 to 1% per week, don't assume you are eating too much, don't automatically jump on the treadmill for extra 'burn'.  Instead consider increasing your calories.  If you try adding a few hundred calories per day for a trial period (remembering if your body has decided you are starving you may put on a little at first before your body decides it is safe to start letting go of fat) you may be surprised at the result.

Oh and I do put my money where my mouth is when it comes to this - I eat slightly over the recommended WW allowance as I find it speeds up my weight loss.  Being only 6 weeks in this time around I am still working on getting that number right, but I know from past experience that I have a decent metabolism (oh yes, it took a LOT of calories to get to this weight) and my weight loss is very slow on the allocated number of 'points'.

I hope this helps someone who is struggling with slowing weight loss.

♥♥♥

7 comments:

cmoursler said...

GREAT POST!!! I am really working at not going too low on calories.
I succeed a little too well sometimes. lol.

Diz said...

Yes but it is also wise to point out for idiots like me, that this does not mean eating 500 extra calories. It's more like 200 or 300 more a day that will do the trick. And choosing something healthy like a protein to help you feel full works wonders. Unless you're only eating like, 300 to begin with. Then you might need slightly more (like...oh...about a 1000 more). :)

Fiona said...

Sorry I should have said 100 or 200 extra LOL!

Tina said...

I read a post like this on the WW threads I think yesterday? A lady commented how she wasn't eating all her daily points and was also storing all her exercise points.. hence a very low loss if any, each week. She came back to say thankyou to those who recommended she eat all her points and hey presto!! A damn good loss the following week!

Miz said...

yesyesyyes
when I was working to lose weight the less I ate (lets say it was 1000 cal. I cant recall) the more muscle I shed and the more fat my bod held on to.

when I increased (clean foods but up to 1500) I grew leaner and now, with more muscle on my frame, I eat a LOT of clean healthy foods and stay lean.

great post.

Don't think it...Do it! said...

Thank you for this info...well researched, well said (for those of us who need simple speak!) and it makes sense!

Emma said...

That might have been my thread on the boards yesterday?? I will certainly be putting it into practice this week, as hard as eating that much is for me right now! I am just going to incorporate some nuts etc, small amounts of food that are high in calories and see how that goes for me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calorie Deficit?

I was reading a blog today (apologies as I can't recall whose blog!) and they had been told they were not eating enough to lose weight.  This didn't surprise me, but the number of people commenting who didn't know this could be a problem did surprise me.

I guess I learned the extreme of this process at an early age.  My sister had anorexia nervosa as a teenager and as part of that we learned about her body burning muscle instead of fat and also how her body quickly stored any extra food as fat once she began eating again.

I have heard it called 'putting your body into starvation mode'.

You can google many articles about this process.  But in my non technical speak: if your body thinks you are starving it stores fat and burns muscle in order to keep you alive longer.  It also slows your metabolism right down in order to make the stores it has last.  It's a very fundamental survival mechanism.  And like all our bodies 'mechanisms' some people are more efficient at this than others.

What does that mean when we are trying to lose weight in a 'sensible' way?

Basically that if we don't eat enough to stop our body from thinking it is 'starving' our weight loss might slow, stop or even reverse. 

The 'right' amount of calories can change over your weight loss journey.  If you exercise a lot your 'net' calories may be reduced even if your eating stays the same.  As you build muscle your basal metabolic rate (BMR: how much you burn sitting doing nothing) might increase so you burn more even without exercise.  So what works today and has you losing a lovely weekly number may need adjusting over time.    

And there is that 'balance'.  We all know that eating too much can also slow, stop or reverse your weight loss!  Also that if we do not change anything else as our body 'shrinks' it uses less energy to do most activities.  So this is not a blanket answer for slowing weight loss.

There are many formulas for calculating the optimum energy in requirement for weight loss.  Many tools for measuring calorie burn.  Calculators for estimating your BMR.  But our bodies are not all made to an exact blueprint.  What works for Mary may not work for Joan.  Not for any 'reason' other than they are different.

So if you are not happy with how your weight loss is going, if you are losing less than the recommended 0.5 to 1% per week, don't assume you are eating too much, don't automatically jump on the treadmill for extra 'burn'.  Instead consider increasing your calories.  If you try adding a few hundred calories per day for a trial period (remembering if your body has decided you are starving you may put on a little at first before your body decides it is safe to start letting go of fat) you may be surprised at the result.

Oh and I do put my money where my mouth is when it comes to this - I eat slightly over the recommended WW allowance as I find it speeds up my weight loss.  Being only 6 weeks in this time around I am still working on getting that number right, but I know from past experience that I have a decent metabolism (oh yes, it took a LOT of calories to get to this weight) and my weight loss is very slow on the allocated number of 'points'.

I hope this helps someone who is struggling with slowing weight loss.

♥♥♥

7 comments:

cmoursler said...

GREAT POST!!! I am really working at not going too low on calories.
I succeed a little too well sometimes. lol.

Diz said...

Yes but it is also wise to point out for idiots like me, that this does not mean eating 500 extra calories. It's more like 200 or 300 more a day that will do the trick. And choosing something healthy like a protein to help you feel full works wonders. Unless you're only eating like, 300 to begin with. Then you might need slightly more (like...oh...about a 1000 more). :)

Fiona said...

Sorry I should have said 100 or 200 extra LOL!

Tina said...

I read a post like this on the WW threads I think yesterday? A lady commented how she wasn't eating all her daily points and was also storing all her exercise points.. hence a very low loss if any, each week. She came back to say thankyou to those who recommended she eat all her points and hey presto!! A damn good loss the following week!

Miz said...

yesyesyyes
when I was working to lose weight the less I ate (lets say it was 1000 cal. I cant recall) the more muscle I shed and the more fat my bod held on to.

when I increased (clean foods but up to 1500) I grew leaner and now, with more muscle on my frame, I eat a LOT of clean healthy foods and stay lean.

great post.

Don't think it...Do it! said...

Thank you for this info...well researched, well said (for those of us who need simple speak!) and it makes sense!

Emma said...

That might have been my thread on the boards yesterday?? I will certainly be putting it into practice this week, as hard as eating that much is for me right now! I am just going to incorporate some nuts etc, small amounts of food that are high in calories and see how that goes for me!