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TOPIC: Not eating enough but still gaining weight?

 
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May 30, 2012 8:16 AM
I do not mean to be argumentative, but I really want to know HOW one can gain weight if he is not 'eating enough'. If it takes 3500 calories to gain one pound, then how does eating well under BMR and TDEE cause one to gain weight? I see people offering this as the solution to people's cries for help frequently, and it just doesn't make sense to me. Can someone please show me scientific proof that eating too few calories causes weight gain?
May 30, 2012 8:19 AM
You're correct, it won't cause weight gain. That's impossible.
May 30, 2012 8:20 AM
I know it sounds impossible, but if I eat less than a 1000 cal I will gain weight. I do not understand why, but it happens.
  20183100
May 30, 2012 8:30 AM
Simply because the formula of what your body burns on a regular average day goes out the window when you are not eating enough. Instead of keeping your metabolism up, your body slows down and starts storing EVERYTHING in an attempt to continue to fuel itself. The weight you're gaining is mostly excess fat, while you're losing lean muscle mass.
May 30, 2012 8:33 AM
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8.htm

Obesity on 700 calories a day.
May 30, 2012 8:42 AM
QUOTE:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8.htm

Obesity on 700 calories a day.


This is an interesting read, and I am going to read it more thoroughly later, but I didn't see anything pointing to scientific proof in here. Also, while I just quickly perused this, I didn't really see anything that said this woman was gaining weight on 700 calories a day. It basically said she was maintaining her weight.

And if it's true that people gain weight by eating too few calories, then can someone explain to me how anorexic people become so thin? Shouldn't their bodies store every calorie, too? What is the difference between a woman eating 700 calories a day and maintaining her weight, and an anorexic woman? Something just doesn't add up.
May 30, 2012 8:46 AM
Your BMR will drop when you do not eat enough calories to meet the body's basic needs plus those resulting from increased activity and physical stress from exercise. Remember, MFP (and all other sites like this) can only "estimate" what your BMR is. The only accurate way to know YOUR specific BMR is to use a BodyBugg, FitBit or similar device. Otherwise, you simply need to make sure you are eating about 300-350 cals every 3 hrs or so, especially on days when you strength train or do intense cardio. This is another thing that varies from person to person.

I know this seems confusing but it's really not. It's simply physiology. A healthy body needs no fewer than 1200 calories a day just to be alive. That's beating your heart, breathing, pumping blood, digestion, generating electrical impulses to the brain, etc. When you add more activity, even if it's a small amount like walking or doing housework, the body needs more calories to accomplish this. When you do not eat those calories, the brain & certain organs release hormones and chemicals that tell the body to store as much as possible. This is a built in survival tactic to stay alive. Your body has no clue when you are "dieting" or when you are "starving". The weight gain can show you that you need to increase your nutritional intake so match what you are doing.

Weight gain also happens during an initial diet adjustment. When you make tweaks such as changing your carbs or protein, it takes your body some time to adjust to this.

Weight gain doesn't actually mean you are gaining "fat pounds"!!! Heavier is not always a bad thing.

Remember, muscle is significantly heavier than fat (by volume) so if you are adding muscle to your body, you WILL gain weight but you will NOT gain size in regards to how your clothes fit. This is why simply judging progress based upon what the scale tells you is HIGHLY INACCURATE and can discourage you when you are actually doing an awesome job!

Want proof? I am proof. I am a mother, I am in my mid 30's, I was over 200lbs a couple years ago and now I'm 123lbs and gaining weight because of muscle. I have had to increase my calories from 1200 to 1300 to now 1550 BMR or I will lose the progress I've made. I'm not a bodybuilder. I'm not any different from a normal woman. I don't work out all day long or do anything extraordinary. But I've gotten the education to know how to make my body look and feel the way I want it to and I've put it into practical action.

There's my two cents. Take it for what it's worth to you. I'm always here if you have questions or want support. This is what I do! Your body will work with you if you let it. I promise!!!!

~Danielle, aka BellaB7810
www.sanoinvitto.com
www.facebook.com/sanoinvitto.omaha
May 30, 2012 8:49 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8.htm

Obesity on 700 calories a day.


This is an interesting read, and I am going to read it more thoroughly later, but I didn't see anything pointing to scientific proof in here. Also, while I just quickly perused this, I didn't really see anything that said this woman was gaining weight on 700 calories a day. It basically said she was maintaining her weight.

And if it's true that people gain weight by eating too few calories, then can someone explain to me how anorexic people become so thin? Shouldn't their bodies store every calorie, too? What is the difference between a woman eating 700 calories a day and maintaining her weight, and an anorexic woman? Something just doesn't add up.


Because she was balancing binges with extreme calorie deprivation. At the same time her body's metabolism slowed to a snails pace. So what happens is if you eat at 1000 calories a day, then go on a 2000 calorie binge once a week, your body is going to store all of those extra calories instead of burning them. If you binge big enough, you could actually gain weight even if you are in a deficit for the week.



So if you want science then here ya go:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/how-we-get-fat.html

Then read:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/training-the-obese-beginner.html (parts 1-6)
December 20, 2012 8:01 AM
Assuming everything in your body is functioning as it's supposed to, then starving yourself will make you lose weight, but your body rebounds and adjusts the next time you eat more than your current diet (meaning what your body is used to eating). This could mean that what was equivalent to 2000 cal a day before eating less is now your body's 1000 cal (as your body adjusted to your diet), so going over 1000 calories temporarily creates a surplus, and over time you'll gain weight if you continue to go over 1000 calories until your body adjusts.

Bodies normally adjust pretty quick to subtle changes in diet. Constantly making extreme changes to diets and caloric intakes could definitely cause weight gain in an average person

Mathematically, not eating that much should allow you to lose weight, but most people can't live on less than 1000 calories a day for the rest of their lives if their active. So when you decide to start eating again is when you'll gain weight, or if you eat a little more than what your body is used too over time.

Some people have medical conditions or take medication that cause them to be underweight or obese.

My only source is years of experimenting with my own body, observing people around me and reading.
Edited by frankbenson5 On December 20, 2012 8:06 AM
December 20, 2012 8:19 AM
I think each individual body consumes calories in its own way. If I were to eat 2000 calories a day I would not lose a pound but would gain. I am 47 years old, 225 lbs, 5' 7" and big boned so I really don’t look like 225. I eat about 600 calories a day and take a nutritional suppliment and I also work out every day. I’m losing about 5 - 7 lbs a week. I know everyone says to eat at least 1200 calories but I just can’t get myself to do that because when I was I was gaining weight. So each and every person’s body burns calories different.
  33023471
December 20, 2012 8:32 AM
QUOTE:

So each and every person’s body burns calories different.


How many calories is required is different for each person, but you don't burn calories any differently than anyone else. Everyone has an amount that their body needs to fuel their basic bodily functions, for most people unless they are very petite and thin, that number is more than 1,200. When you eat less than the amount you need for your basic bodily functions, your hormones react. Your body releases too much cortisol. This is the stress hormone. It also affects the hormones that tell you when you are hungry and when you are full. This all affects your ability to lose weight. The fact is, most people can lose weight on more than 1,200 calories, if they actually took the time and allowed their body to reset so that their hormones regulated back to normal.
December 20, 2012 8:42 AM
You dun f'd up your metabolism

You gotta fix that sheit, raise the cals & the carbs GRADUALLY, get higher and higher until you adapt and ur maintenance is raised.

Then cut slowly, small reductions
January 10, 2013 7:35 AM
I am in this category and am really frustrated (and hungry). I gain weight on anything over about 1000 cals per day. How does one allow your body to adapt to change this?
January 10, 2013 7:56 AM
QUOTE:

I am in this category and am really frustrated (and hungry). I gain weight on anything over about 1000 cals per day. How does one allow your body to adapt to change this?


Typically you overcome this by getting your estimated TDEE aka "maintenance" calories for your age/height/weight, and eating that amount for 4 to 8 weeks. You will gain initially, but once you level off and do not gain or lose at that amount of calories any more, then you take your cut and reduce calories a sensible amount and begin to lose weight again.

According to your ticker, you only need to lose 9 pounds, so at that point you would aim to lose only half a pound to a pound a week, which would be a calorie deficit of 250-500 per day.

Strength training is desirable because muscle will metabolically burn more calories than fat, will prevent you from losing lean body mass, and make you "look smaller".
January 9, 2014 3:48 PM
idk i used to eat between 200-500 calories a day and i lost about 110 pounds.
  6644009
March 19, 2014 8:14 PM
This is such a helpful discussion because I'm trying to figure it all out myself. I'm training for my first half marathon - -would like to lose 10-15...and I've consistently gained for weeks now. So frustrating! The idea of eating more to lose seems confusing...but also seems to make more and more sense as I research it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
March 19, 2014 10:39 PM
QUOTE:

I know it sounds impossible, but if I eat less than a 1000 cal I will gain weight. I do not understand why, but it happens.


haha, no
March 19, 2014 10:40 PM
QUOTE:

idk i used to eat between 200-500 calories a day and i lost about 110 pounds.


sounds healthy. you went full anorexic
Edited by Supertact On March 19, 2014 10:43 PM
March 19, 2014 11:50 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8.htm

Obesity on 700 calories a day.


This is an interesting read, and I am going to read it more thoroughly later, but I didn't see anything pointing to scientific proof in here. Also, while I just quickly perused this, I didn't really see anything that said this woman was gaining weight on 700 calories a day. It basically said she was maintaining her weight.

And if it's true that people gain weight by eating too few calories, then can someone explain to me how anorexic people become so thin? Shouldn't their bodies store every calorie, too? What is the difference between a woman eating 700 calories a day and maintaining her weight, and an anorexic woman? Something just doesn't add up.


Because she was balancing binges with extreme calorie deprivation. At the same time her body's metabolism slowed to a snails pace. So what happens is if you eat at 1000 calories a day, then go on a 2000 calorie binge once a week, your body is going to store all of those extra calories instead of burning them. If you binge big enough, you could actually gain weight even if you are in a deficit for the week.



So if you want science then here ya go:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/how-we-get-fat.html

Then read:
http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/training-the-obese-beginner.html (parts 1-6)
I guess I misread Lyle then.
March 20, 2014 12:38 AM
I know this is not a "nice" answer, but gaining weight on too little calories (and I do not mean going from 75 to 76 lbs total body weight), is something that happens only on these forums. On the rest of the world, starving leads to becoming skinny and then dying. If you are gaining (and again I do not mean being already malnousished and gaining 1 lb), then you are eating way more than you think you are.
March 20, 2014 2:13 AM
QUOTE:

I know this is not a "nice" answer, but gaining weight on too little calories (and I do not mean going from 75 to 76 lbs total body weight), is something that happens only on these forums. On the rest of the world, starving leads to becoming skinny and then dying. If you are gaining (and again I do not mean being already malnousished and gaining 1 lb), then you are eating way more than you think you are.


Yup! I don't know where this idea to "eat more, lose more" came from! And I don't get how people buy into it. I'm not saying that anyone should eat under what their body requires, but I don't believe that every person out there NEEDS to eat at least 1200 calories a day or they are in trouble! Some may need 1000, some may need 3,000. No idea how this "magic" 1200 came to be. Each individual should determine what they need and manipulate their calories from that point.
  23614383
March 20, 2014 2:21 AM
zombie thread....2012 and user deactivated.
  45561484

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