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TOPIC: How do I know when my body is in starvation mode?

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March 8, 2012 12:18 AM
Hi, so I've been pretty successful so far.... lost about 20 pounds (but I still have at least 40 to go). My exercise plan was pretty simple, 6-7 days a week 45 minutes of swimming (real swimming not just relaxing in shallow water). But the last few weeks my school schedule prevents me from going during the day when the pool is empty enough for me to swim at my own desired pace so I had to stop going there so often. Instead I started running but only for about 20 minutes because I still don't have the stamina for more. But running isn't possible when it's freezing outside so I had to break that up for the last week as well.
So to keep on my plan I had to lower my daily intake from about 1800 - 2000 calories a day, on days when I did go swimming to about 1300 - 1500 on days without physical activity. Now I think I'm pushing it too far and am afraid about the starvation mode so I wanted to ask someone on this forum who has any experience with it about the "symptoms" of my body going into starvation mode. Will I feel without power, sluggish, always sleepy? This information would be mainly helpful for when I fell some of the symptoms to bump up my intake....

Thank you in advance
  15139771
March 8, 2012 12:28 AM
your body will not go into stravation mode untill it has to. it takes a lot for it too, people in here band it around too easily. mfp says if you eat to little it may do because they have to cover themselfs for insurance reasons. plus with those amount of calories you are not even coming near to a VLD which could potentially cause your body to preserve.

i base my opionion on academic journals i have read, i also base it on university lectures as well as experience in dealing with weightloss as a PT.
March 8, 2012 12:47 AM
You wont be in starvation mode from that amount of calories. Youll only really enter "starvation mode" after prolonged starvation of at least 24 hours...

The symptoms could be two things: Absolutely normal emotions associated with a calorie defecit - Many people feel a lot more "grumpy" amongst other things on a cut

Alternatively it could be the symptoms of over-training (Its possible as your doing 6-7 sessions a week but tbh I doubt it - It takes a lot to get into this state and I mean A LOT: People who jump into traning 7 days a week from nothing and professional athletes are the only people who really get into this level - Still worth thinking about though if the exercise is really wiping you out?)

If your still going strong with your weight loss I wouldnt recommend changing unless the symptoms are really bad - but you could consider a 1 day a week cheat day to give yourself a break? =)
  17379550
March 8, 2012 12:49 AM
Thanks. I didn't mean to sound like I'm hysterical about it, because I've already researched something about it and mostly what I found was that 800 - 1200 calories is the lowest line you can push your calorie intake to without a serious risk of starvation mode. And in every dieting related article and in the MFP app it said to eat at least 1200 calories which is what I try to fulfill every day because I know that my body needs nutrition and that low calorie periods aren't really good for it but I have to loose weight somehow because being fat is not good either...
  15139771
March 8, 2012 12:50 AM
Meant to write that I wouldnt go below 1500 - I did this level for a while with no problems but 1300 is to low for a male. You could do with calculating your BMR and going from there =_
  17379550
March 8, 2012 1:07 AM
QUOTE:

You wont be in starvation mode from that amount of calories. Youll only really enter "starvation mode" after prolonged starvation of at least 24 hours...


Well ever since I started I changed my eating habits form 2 meal a day (no breakfast, lunch and a late dinner) to 3 regular meals a day (I know that 3 smaller meals and snacks in between or 5 smaller meals would be better but I only have time for 3 regular meals) and dinner always before 18:00. So 24 hour starvation doesn't come even to mind...

QUOTE:

The symptoms could be two things: Absolutely normal emotions associated with a calorie defecit - Many people feel a lot more "grumpy" amongst other things on a cut


I get extremly grumpy and iritated when my blood sugar is low (mostly If I don't breakfast in the morning but as I stated earlier I haven't done that since I started).

QUOTE:

Alternatively it could be the symptoms of over-training (Its possible as your doing 6-7 sessions a week but tbh I doubt it - It takes a lot to get into this state and I mean A LOT: People who jump into traning 7 days a week from nothing and professional athletes are the only people who really get into this level - Still worth thinking about though if the exercise is really wiping you out?)


Well when I chose swimming it was for a reason. OK.. my parents forced me to take swimming lessons when I was young (now I'm thankful for it). But I mostly love the great kind of exhaustion I get form swimming, it's irreplaceable to me. I don't feel any strain no pain in muscles (I never even got lactic acid when pushing myself) it's just a great feeling when I get out of the pool. And although it sounded like that I didn't just jump into swimming and started with 7 sessions * 45 minutes a week. I started swimming about 6 months ago and kinda worked my way up.

QUOTE:

If your still going strong with your weight loss I wouldnt recommend changing unless the symptoms are really bad - but you could consider a 1 day a week cheat day to give yourself a break? =)


Yeah sure I'm not changing anything for now... I was just curious about the symptoms of body starvation mode... The symptoms I'm having now are mostly due to lack of sleep, because I had to study for school and stayed up really late last night with my friends (no drinking)
  15139771
March 8, 2012 1:10 AM
QUOTE:

Meant to write that I wouldnt go below 1500 - I did this level for a while with no problems but 1300 is to low for a male. You could do with calculating your BMR and going from there =_


As I said I eat 1300 - 1500 calories on days without physical activity ( when studying, or doing some project for school) but on days when I go swimming or running I bump it up higher.
  15139771
March 8, 2012 1:19 AM
Thats cool: Id suggest most sleep as an overall comment =D. BTW I wasnt suggesting that you had jumped from no training to 7 days a week - I was saying thats how people can enter overtraining mode.

You could consider spreading your meals out more - specifically having breakfast. (Waits for people to scream at me NUTRIENT TIMING ISNT IMPORTANT RAWWRRR) But yeh regardless of whether it affects weight loss, lack of eating is definately linked to negative emotions specifically depression and irritability and as you yourself states that you feel it in the morning perhaps this could help.
  17379550
March 8, 2012 1:29 AM
Read my blog... http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/RAFValentina/view/starvation-mode-allelujah-223259 It will explain
  11209065
March 8, 2012 1:51 AM
QUOTE:

your body will not go into stravation mode untill it has to. it takes a lot for it too, people in here band it around too easily. mfp says if you eat to little it may do because they have to cover themselfs for insurance reasons. plus with those amount of calories you are not even coming near to a VLD which could potentially cause your body to preserve.

i base my opionion on academic journals i have read, i also base it on university lectures as well as experience in dealing with weightloss as a PT.

This... when you go into starvation mode, you literally HAVE to be starving... The laws of physics mean that you can't operate without energy. In terms of diet, we call this energy's units calories. If you don't put in calories, your body will use what reserves it has for calories, namely fat. Until this is all used up, your body isn't starving... however by not eating enough food for the other components of food (other than energy) that make it essential, means your body may / will not function 100% as it should. Especially if you're partaking in exercise. "Burning" fat to transfer the energy to do another task such as move, digest food etc requires somne of these nutrients such as water, calcium, iron, electrolytes. So it's not wise to not eat at all and eat a very nutrient rich calorie controlled diet. This includes building block materials such as protein for amino acids which help build/construct tissue/muscle. Likewise, Vitamin C helps with the production of connective tissue such as collagen and also helps build a strong immune system. Zinc helps fight infection, calcium builds strong bonesand helps stop too much fat being absorbed by the intestine when eaten with a main meal. Iron helps keep red blood cells healthy by maximising the oxygen uptake in the cells - which is why anaemic people can feel very tired and lethargic and lacking in "energy".

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/RAFValentina/view/starvation-mode-allelujah-223259

I explained most of it in my blog above.
  11209065
March 8, 2012 1:53 AM
Very sensible answer. Yes, 'Starvation Mode' is tossed around here somewhat lightly. Good post.

-t
QUOTE:

your body will not go into stravation mode untill it has to. it takes a lot for it too, people in here band it around too easily. mfp says if you eat to little it may do because they have to cover themselfs for insurance reasons. plus with those amount of calories you are not even coming near to a VLD which could potentially cause your body to preserve.

i base my opionion on academic journals i have read, i also base it on university lectures as well as experience in dealing with weightloss as a PT.
March 8, 2012 2:08 AM
Use the method in this group: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/477666-eating-for-future-you-method

To get a calorie requirement that doesn't require eating back calories, if you want.

The full description is in there, but essentially the website will help work out how many calories you'd need to remain at a certain weight,, taking into account current avg number of hours spent at each activity level.
Since you want to keep losing weight, make your "current" weight on the website what you want to be, and the calories will be adjusted so you can get to that without going under your BMR - going under is what can cause a plateau effect in weight loss.
March 8, 2012 2:12 AM
QUOTE:

...your heart is a muscle and your body will consume your heart if you are not doing this right. You'll know your heart is being consumed when you start having irregular heart beats or heart palpation....


taken from this thread http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/512678-anyone-on-a-1000-calorie-diet-need-lots-of-support?page=4
Edited by Aperture_Science On April 1, 2012 6:03 AM
March 8, 2012 2:20 AM
Starvation mode does not exist. You're body will lower the release of leptin and thus the release of triiodothyronine to slow the metabolism. However this doesn't work for ever as your body can't make energy from nothing. It will thus start eating fat and muscle.

Starvation mode, like toning does NOT exist!
  15809555
March 8, 2012 2:26 AM
I found this post very helpful about it.
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/208407-how-to-repair-a-damaged-metabolism-stavation-mode
  15318592
March 8, 2012 2:27 AM
You have done well losing 20lbs already. Great job. Was this a steady loss?
I would try and persevere with the running if you can cope with the weather. Running is great for fat loss. Is there a different swimming pool you can go to? Are evening sessions not possible? Can you do any cardio work at home indoors, skipping rope/ stair climbing? Are you strength training too? Just some ideas!
My thought is..keep eating plenty of the right foods, keep exercising. I wouldn't reduce calories too much on your rest days because even on rest days your body needs fuel to help with the rest/ recovery process.
Good luck with the 40lbs.
As for starvation mode..I would never not eat to lose weight. I'm quite tall and broad and enjoy food. I never go below 1600 cals. If weight loss takes longer then thats fine. I rely on exercise for fat loss more than diet. Having a growling stomach..? Nah!!
March 8, 2012 2:41 AM
Is the question you really want an answer to "how do I prevent my metabolism slowing down"?

I eat at 800 below maintenance 6 days a week and then have a day where I go at or above maintenance. For me this enables a continuous, steady loss with no reduction in metabolism evident. Naturally as you make major changes to body size there is an expected reduction in maintenance calories you will need to make.
March 8, 2012 2:45 AM
QUOTE:

Is the question you really want an answer to "how do I prevent my metabolism slowing down"?

...

Naturally as you make major changes to body size there is an expected reduction in maintenance calories you will need to make.


Exactly, well explained, to the T.
Edited by Matt_Wild On March 8, 2012 2:45 AM
  15809555
March 8, 2012 3:48 AM
oooh yaya a couple peopple lkiked my post! now that has made my day :) ahhhhhh im so simple!
March 8, 2012 4:00 AM
QUOTE:

You have done well losing 20lbs already. Great job. Was this a steady loss?
I would try and persevere with the running if you can cope with the weather. Running is great for fat loss. Is there a different swimming pool you can go to? Are evening sessions not possible? Can you do any cardio work at home indoors, skipping rope/ stair climbing? Are you strength training too? Just some ideas!
My thought is..keep eating plenty of the right foods, keep exercising. I wouldn't reduce calories too much on your rest days because even on rest days your body needs fuel to help with the rest/ recovery process.
Good luck with the 40lbs.
As for starvation mode..I would never not eat to lose weight. I'm quite tall and broad and enjoy food. I never go below 1600 cals. If weight loss takes longer then thats fine. I rely on exercise for fat loss more than diet. Having a growling stomach..? Nah!!


Well It was pretty steady. I just had few unexpected and unexplained jumps in weight (in the down direction of course).
Yes there is one bigger pool but right now it's closed for reconstruction and that's the reason the smaller one is nearly always full. In the evening it's possible but as I said there are so many other swimmers that you can barely move and when I can't swim at my usual pace then it has nearly no reason going there.
No serious wight training at the moment just a few sit-ups and push-ups in the morning...
Personally I couldn't starve either it's just that as I changed my eating habits the portions I ate shrunk and so did my stomach as it is pretty flexible... and don't have a problem surviving on those 1300 calories without feeling hungry.
  15139771
March 8, 2012 7:36 AM
When you are emaciated. The term "starvation mode" gets thrown around loosely. There are many great informative articles on this myth.
March 8, 2012 8:26 AM
My guess is that if your body wants to conserve energy, that you would feel tired, unmotivated and not want to exercise? Otherwise you are fueling your exercise from nothing.
March 8, 2012 10:50 AM
http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4623846_anorexia-affect-body.html

http://www.ajcn.org/content/56/1/230S.full.pdf

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Disease/Heart-Palpitations-caused-by-self-starvation/show/255120

http://www.bulimia.com/client/client_pages/medical_dangers_anorexia.cfm
Edited by AbsoluteNG On April 1, 2012 6:07 AM
April 1, 2012 5:04 AM
Just going back to the starvation mode bit for a minute, would it not depend on how overweight you are in the 1st place? If you are fairly lean with just a bid of padding and not far off your ideal BMI, I could accept that easier than say if your BMI put you in the obese category and your body had an abundance of fat to burn and enjoy life with.

So my question is, if you are obese and went on a very calorie controlled diet (say 500 to 800 calories a day for a male) why would the body go into starvation mode when there is fat to burn and use up? Serious question, not being a smart ass...
  10007308
April 1, 2012 5:08 AM
QUOTE:

Just going back to the starvation mode bit for a minute, would it not depend on how overweight you are in the 1st place? If you are fairly lean with just a bid of padding and not far off your ideal BMI, I could accept that easier than say if your BMI put you in the obese category and your body had an abundance of fat to burn and enjoy life with.

So my question is, if you are obese and went on a very calorie controlled diet (say 500 to 800 calories a day for a male) why would the body go into starvation mode when there is fat to burn and use up? Serious question, not being a smart ass...


You make a pretty valid point, which is why most of the testimonies of starvation mode are nonsense. Starvation mode is associated more with weight loss and remaining body fat storage levels than with daily calorie intake, although both matter. But the brain needs glucose to function as well, so you can't run solely on fat. When glucose isn't available to fuel the brain, your muscles will start breaking down to produce glucose.

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