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May 18, 2013 1:36 PM
I'm recovering from an eating disorder. I was eating -500 calories a day for eight months before recovery, I ate between 1600-1800 calories a day to restore my weight and to then maintain it (5'8, 60kg's)

I was extremely unhappy eating this amount. I know most of you will be thinking ''that's a lot of calories?!'' but it really isnt for an 18 year old female who lifts, runs and is always on her feet. I was hungry, feeling sluggish, angry but thought ''this is the only way to maintain my weight'' so I continued.

I got a HRM a wee while back, wore it all day and burned 2500+ calories in the period of 13 hours just by working my job, walking around and doing normal daily things. It shocked me. After seeing that, I upped to eating between 2200-2500 calories a day to see what would happen, I'm not going to lie, I gained 4kg's but then I MAINTAINED eating these amounts. MY body adjusted and USED these calories, workout or no workout. (I've been maintaining eating this amount for 2-3 months)

Please please please if you are eating a low amount of calories to maintain your low weight, or your goal weight and are unhappy doing so, take the jump and increase your calories. Your body will sort itself out, it will start USING those calories. You will feel so much more alive, energized and will be ready to take on life.

Feel free to message me if you need any more info/help, I'm happy to help all :-) flowerforyou
May 18, 2013 2:02 PM
Hmm, what defines as ''low calorie''? I've been heavily restricting my calorie intake but I slipped up today
May 18, 2013 2:16 PM
The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.
May 18, 2013 2:23 PM
Great post! And good for you! Your life will be happier and longer because you love yourself and treat your body well flowerforyou
  15552270
May 18, 2013 2:37 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


^^^^ this x 1,000,000 ......this is SO important !!!!

So many people think they're unable to eat more than some very low number of calories because they start to gain when they up their calories a little bit.... but it's all water/glycogen....
May 18, 2013 2:38 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


I didn't know/think of this; I'll have to remember it for when I get ready to maintain.
  33111271
May 18, 2013 5:06 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


^^^ you are amazing!!!!! flowerforyou
May 18, 2013 5:39 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


Note to self.
May 18, 2013 5:45 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


Thank you; this was helpful.
May 18, 2013 7:47 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


This was a GREAT post! Agree wholeheartedly.
  23906415
May 18, 2013 7:59 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


So the weight gain back is all water? Is it noticeable physically? I'm currently in the process of upping my calories slowly. Should I just leap into maintenance and expect a 5 lb increase instead? I'm not even really sure what my maintenance will be at this point.
  37176383
May 18, 2013 8:00 PM
I'm in the middle of this process rigbt now and it's really difficult to eat more, after eating less for several months-never thought I'd have that problem lol. I've got my calories set to around 2,200 a day, but it's going to take some time and tweaking to get to that point.
May 18, 2013 8:26 PM
QUOTE:

So the weight gain back is all water? Is it noticeable physically? I'm currently in the process of upping my calories slowly. Should I just leap into maintenance and expect a 5 lb increase instead? I'm not even really sure what my maintenance will be at this point.


Yeah, the reality is it is as noticeable as any other 5 lb gain, really. When I carb-load for an endurance event I feel chubby by race day, but then I can run like the wind and not bonk. So it's worth it. Over time, you will get used to it. But really if you get to where you like being, push a little farther and then up your calories.

I don't really recommend necessarily doing it all at once, but either way, you can draw out the gain over a few weeks and maybe not notice it as much, or you can just go ahead and get it over with. You also have to be aware that any amount you're setting as TDEE for maintenance purposes is just an estimate. You could, in fact, be eating too much, which would then mean you'll just keep gaining over weeks.

If you really get to maintenance calories, you should see a bump in weight of about 3-7 lbs to account for glycogen. If it's still going up after that, you aren't eating at maintenance; you're eating at a surplus.
May 18, 2013 11:59 PM
QUOTE:


I was extremely unhappy eating this amount. I know most of you will be thinking ''that's a lot of calories?!'' but it really isnt for an 18 year old female who lifts, runs and is I'm recovering from an eating disorder. I was eating -500 calories a day for eight months before recovery, I ate between 1600-1800 calories a day to restore my weight and to then maintain it (5'8, 60kg's)
always on her feet. I was hungry, feeling sluggish, angry but thought ''this is the only way to maintain my weight'' so I continued.

I got a HRM a wee while back, wore it all day and burned 2500+ calories in the period of 13 hours just by working my job, walking around and doing normal daily things. It shocked me. After seeing that, I upped to eating between 2200-2500 calories a day to see what would happen, I'm not going to lie, I gained 4kg's but then I MAINTAINED eating these amounts. MY body adjusted and USED these calories, workout or no workout. (I've been maintaining eating this amount for 2-3 months)

Please please please if you are eating a low amount of calories to maintain your low weight, or your goal weight and are unhappy doing so, take the jump and increase your calories. Your body will sort itself out, it will start USING those calories. You will feel so much more alive, energized and will be ready to take on life.

Feel free to message me if you need any more info/help, I'm happy to help all :-) flowerforyou


Actually I'm pretty sure that anorexic patients in recovery are told to eat 3000+ calories a day for recovery, so automatically when I read that you were only eating 1600-1800 at your height and weight my first thought was 'she still has an ED'. I'm glad you saw the light!

I don't really subscribe to the 'broken metabolism' hypothesis, but I do think that your body becomes more efficient at using fewer calories the less you eat, so that weight loss becomes slower.

I had similar experiences, except that I never cut my calories that low. For over six months I grossed 1500 a day to lose 35 pounds. Every time I went up (i.e. went on a binge post-restriction) I would immediately put on 5 pounds and then start the semi starvation all over again.

Since joining MFP I've become a more intuitive eater and I find that I can maintain my weight eating about 2500 a day (I'm similarly quite active). I'm female, a similar height (5'9) but I weigh more than you do (71kg this am - 156 pounds?). Each day I'm realising that this is probably my body's happy weight, and I'm getting less fussed about getting to an arbitrary goal weight. I pretty much get to eat what I want now, I'm almost never hungry and the food obsession/emotional eating/urge to binge has all but vanished. I'll take that over a measly vanity 5 pounds thank you very much.
May 19, 2013 5:48 AM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


Great post and excellent response. That's great advice to keep in mind as I'm very close to weening myself into maintenance.
Thank you!
Edited by laurabeth326 On May 19, 2013 5:53 AM
May 19, 2013 5:59 AM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.
May 19, 2013 6:02 AM
Geat advice thanks. I am going to to change my goal weight, but keep my calories to where they are now. The extra five weeks are are no biggie for a lifestyle change:)
May 19, 2013 11:24 AM
OP, you can't use your HRM all day long to determine your TDEE. It's not how an HRM is supposed to work. There are "gadgets" made for that like FitBit , bodymedia, bodybugg, etc.
May 19, 2013 11:36 AM
Thank you so much for this post :) I'm a former anorexic -well, mostly-and it is so vital that people understand the risks of low-cal diets. Our organs need a certain amount of food to function...take that away and you are looking at headaches, dizziness, fatigue, even weight-stalling from starvation mode...which is why people in Africa have pot-bellies from only getting a few meals every week. Thanks again!
May 19, 2013 12:11 PM
QUOTE:

OP, you can't use your HRM all day long to determine your TDEE. It's not how an HRM is supposed to work. There are "gadgets" made for that like FitBit , bodymedia, bodybugg, etc.


Well, it's worked fine for me ;)
May 19, 2013 1:53 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.


I didn't know/think of this; I'll have to remember it for when I get ready to maintain.


This was a GREAT post! Thank you .
  33380346
May 19, 2013 3:49 PM
Great post - I did not know about the glycogen storage. I have been maintaining for 10 months and find it interesting to understand all this.
May 19, 2013 8:08 PM
bump, great posts, thanks!
  248290
May 20, 2013 12:00 PM
QUOTE:

The reason most people think they have to eat so little to maintain their weight is because our bodies naturally store glycogen and water in our muscles. This is the body's ready energy. When you eat at a caloric deficit, the glycogen stores (and the water molecules they must bind to in the cells) are shed first. That's why you get a big loss the first week of any diet. You just depleted your glycogen stores and now the body has no choice but to resort to fat in a continued caloric deficit.

So you keep up your deficit and your body is burning both glucose from the food you're eating and fat from your body (and some lean mass because you're in a deficit and that will just happen anyway) and you finally get to a weight you like. So you increase your calories to stop losing...

Or, you just decide to ditch the caloric deficit for a weekend of eating without discretion...

Or Christmas rolls around or you go on vacation and you eat to satisfaction and maybe a touch more...

... and you find you almost instantly put on 5 lbs.

All that has happened is your body has restored its glycogen stores and the water that glycogen must be stored with. In fact, trained endurance athletes will deliberately store extra glycogen by carb-loading before major events in order to have more energy for sustained effort. The body will, under perfect conditions, store this energy for use. It's part of being human.

So suppose you want to maintain your weight at 125 lbs. You diet down to 125 and then think, "Awesome! I will diligently increase my calories to maintenance." So you were eating 1700 calories/day to lose and you increase to 2000 calories daily... and after 1 week you've put on 1.5 lbs... so you cut back down to 1800 and your weight stays the same but now you're at 126.5... but you want to be 125lbs, so now you're just pissed off. So you go back down to 1500 calories for a week and you get back down to 125lbs. Then you increase by only 100 calories/day for a week and your weight stays the same... so you do it again... and you stay the same. You think, "Yay! I'm maintaining!"... And any time you eat over 1800 calories daily you start to gain again.

Why?

Because your body just wants 5 lbs of glycogen stores. The solution? Cut down to 5 lbs under your target weight and then eat at maintenance. Your body will rebound up to a healthy non-glycogen-depleted state and you'll be able to maintain relatively effortlessly and eat more food.

Okay, sorry... that was long-winded. I just cringe at the number of people who think they have to eat so little to maintain.





What a fantastic post! flowerforyou wink
July 31, 2013 3:32 PM
Awsome post need to keep reminding myself, as its hard to get my head around upping cals = weight loss after plateauing for a month on 1200 I upped to 1300 and gained the first week then someone gave me a similar explanation about water and glycogen and to weight a couple of weeks while the body adjusts smile
  44449438

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