Is my body going into starvation mode?

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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Is my body going into starvation mode?

    A friend commented on my diet, worried that I might be putting my body into starvation mode.

    I am 23 year old male. 6'1", 195 pounds. I exercise ~3 times per week, 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of limited weightlifting (Had 3 stress fractures to the right tibia in the Marine Corps that still bother me, and prevents me from heavy lifting with the legs. I shattered my metacarpal-carpal joint in a motorcycle accident and had to have surgery on that, and it prevents me from doing heavy upper body lifting)

    Average breakfast is either scrambled eggs (2 eggs, no salt/cheese), Peanut butter sandwhich (Piece of wheat, scoop of peanut butter), maybe a small bowl of cereal.

    So my average breakfast ~200 calories. I don't have much appetite in the mornings, this fills me up pretty good.

    I work in an office, limited fridge room. I usually go to walmart once a month and fill my fridge up with lean cuisine meals, which are ~250 calories each. Again, these fill me up pretty good, are cheap, I can fit in the fridge at work, and are easy to cook on my short lunch break.

    So by the time I get home from work, I have ~450 calories in me.

    Dinner is a little more varied, but usually only ~500 calories.

    And then in a couple of hours I go to bed. Meaning most days I have 950 calories throughout the day. 2-3 nights a week I have ~600 calories of liquor, which I'm trying to cut back on.

    At my peak about 6 months ago I was 230 pounds. Over 2 months I went down to 180, then another 2 months went by and I was up to 200 (Was bad, lots of fast food), and then have only gone down 5 pounds over the last 2 months.

    Is 900 calories that bad for someone of my size? Is my body at risk of going in starvation mode and making it even harder for me to lose weight? How detrimental is alcohol to losing weight?

    I appreciate any advise! I am on a limited budget and have very limited time, making more exercise difficult, but sincerely want to lose weight, I want to get down to ~160-170

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    Your body switch to starvation mode everytime you cut the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires.

    A good starting point is to found out your BF, then calculate the exact MBR so you can know exactly the lowerbound of your metabolism.

    From there you can cut 200 to 500 kcal a week, not more.

    Then you can start to think how to increase your MBR for burn more fat and plan "good" a low carb diet avoiding any mistakes that could slow down your MBR.

    PS: please make yourself a favour, stop drink (at least on trainimg period).

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    Quote Originally Posted by braveand View Post
    Your body switch to starvation mode everytime you cut the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires.

    A good starting point is to found out your BF, then calculate the exact MBR so you can know exactly the lowerbound of your metabolism.

    From there you can cut 200 to 500 kcal a week, not more.

    Then you can start to think how to increase your MBR for burn more fat and plan "good" a low carb diet avoiding any mistakes that could slow down your MBR.

    PS: please make yourself a favour, stop drink (at least on trainimg period).
    Your BMR should be taken into account, but you don't go by your BMR by any means. Enzymatic functions, energy expenditure and other things need to be taken into account. You should first find your maintenance, OP. You can do this many ways, but here's how I found mine:

    Start at about 16-18x your bodyweight, and adjust until your weight stops going up or down. Once you find it, go 10-20% below that.

    Edit: Read the first post, and yes, 900 is very low, do what I said above and you should be fine. If you need a cheat meal or refeed, account for that.

    Also, if you want to lose weight in a reasonable amount of time at the gym, do this along with Max-OT and/or HIIT.
    Last edited by Arra; 11-02-2010 at 06:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arra View Post
    Your BMR should be taken into account, but you don't go by your BMR by any means. Enzymatic functions, energy expenditure and other things need to be taken into account. You should first find your maintenance, OP. You can do this many ways, but here's how I found mine:

    Start at about 16-18x your bodyweight, and adjust until your weight stops going up or down. Once you find it, go 10-20% below that.

    Edit: Read the first post, and yes, 900 is very low, do what I said above and you should be fine. If you need a cheat meal or refeed, account for that.

    Also, if you want to lose weight in a reasonable amount of time at the gym, do this along with Max-OT and/or HIIT.
    Forgive me, but I did not understand everything you said. I am very new to that math involved.

    According to the Harris Benedict Equation for calculating BMR I need about 2700 calories a day to MAINTAIN my body weight (Assuming light exercise, 1-3 times a week.) If your body goes into starvation mode at about 50% BMR, I should be eating a minimum of 1350 calories a day, correct?

    I have very little appetite, what would be a good way to fill in extra calories on a low budget? Should I be counting liquor calories towards this? I will be very honest, I do have a drinking problem and completely cutting it out of my life will be very difficult, and I honestly don't have motivation to do it. I would like to be in shape despite of it, and only drinking ~600 calories worth 3-4 times a week takes great effort on my part.

    Max-OT is completely out of the question, due to the physical limitations I originally posted. HIIT might be possible, I can't run but I could probably replicate the work out on the elliptical which is usually my cardio of choice as there is almost no impact on my injured areas.

    Also: I don't know what a cheat meal or re-feed is. If it is a snack, I don't feel the urge to snack throughout the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tylith View Post
    Forgive me, but I did not understand everything you said. I am very new to that math involved.

    According to the Harris Benedict Equation for calculating BMR I need about 2700 calories a day to MAINTAIN my body weight (Assuming light exercise, 1-3 times a week.) If your body goes into starvation mode at about 50% BMR, I should be eating a minimum of 1350 calories a day, correct?

    I have very little appetite, what would be a good way to fill in extra calories on a low budget? Should I be counting liquor calories towards this? I will be very honest, I do have a drinking problem and completely cutting it out of my life will be very difficult, and I honestly don't have motivation to do it. I would like to be in shape despite of it, and only drinking ~600 calories worth 3-4 times a week takes great effort on my part.

    Max-OT is completely out of the question, due to the physical limitations I originally posted. HIIT might be possible, I can't run but I could probably replicate the work out on the elliptical which is usually my cardio of choice as there is almost no impact on my injured areas.

    Also: I don't know what a cheat meal or re-feed is. If it is a snack, I don't feel the urge to snack throughout the day.
    Harris benedict is one way to find your maintenance, though most here (including me) would say that your maintenance can only be found by yourself.

    Say you need to eat 2700 calories, but only eat 1900 calories (this would be reasonable), try a protein shake with high fat foods. E.g. whey + 2 tbspoon 100% natural peanut butter + 3 tbspoons of butter with no hydrogenation done to it (look at their ingredients), and a tablespoon or two of olive oil all in a blender, blend thoroughly (it may be a bit chunky) and drink. (I just entered this into fitday, this comes to 900+ calories) Not the best tasting, but does the job.

    Refeeds are usually for those who want to try a low-carb lifestyle (or carb cycling, though they just have "very high carb days" for this). Cheat meals are pretty self-explanatory, eat whatever you're craving and don't care about macros/whatever.
    Last edited by Arra; 11-03-2010 at 11:05 AM.

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    As long as you cycle your calories, you should be ok. I've found starvation diets to work. It all started with the HCG protocal when I lost 37 pounds in one month. I got used to the 500 calorie diet.

    After I was off the protocal, my appetite never came back, and I still was on a heavily restricted caloric diet. I did not realize it at the time, but my metabolism had slowed, and my body did not look at firm as it should've been. Thats because after months and months of starvation, I had lost a significant amount of muscle.

    now, I understand, that you have to cycle your calories, and only do restricted diets a few days at a time. Its very effective.

    I've been told that when you are going on a low calorie diet to make sure that the calories you take in come from varied sources, and not eat the same thing every day.

    Thats what worked for me. through all my trial and error, I think I finally got the formula right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thriver View Post
    As long as you cycle your calories, you should be ok. I've found starvation diets to work. It all started with the HCG protocal when I lost 37 pounds in one month. I got used to the 500 calorie diet.

    After I was off the protocal, my appetite never came back, and I still was on a heavily restricted caloric diet. I did not realize it at the time, but my metabolism had slowed, and my body did not look at firm as it should've been. Thats because after months and months of starvation, I had lost a significant amount of muscle.

    now, I understand, that you have to cycle your calories, and only do restricted diets a few days at a time. Its very effective.

    I've been told that when you are going on a low calorie diet to make sure that the calories you take in come from varied sources, and not eat the same thing every day.

    Thats what worked for me. through all my trial and error, I think I finally got the formula right.
    Yeah I agree with cycling calories. I keep my calories and carbs higher on work out days, and lower on the rest of the days because I don't need as much energy. Seems to balance out and keep me lean while making steady gains in the gym


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