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Crimpet 04-06-2011 12:56 AM

Basal Metabolic Rate and Starvation Mode?
I just read that if someonone wants to restrict calories to losed weight they shouldn't restric their calories below their BMR or it could cause their body to go into starvation mode. My BMR is in the 1500's, but I've been restricting my calories to roughly 1200. Some days I go slightly over, some days I don't get enough depending on my days activities. So, will that throw my metabolism into starvation mode?

Should I not eat below 1500 even though I am considered a sedentary lifestyle? I am at my computer almost all day, save for moments I stop to exercise, or walk to the store. I've tried to exercise at least 3 days a week 30 minutes to build strength until I can increase my exercise time.

I thought I had this all figured out, but now I'm worried I'm throwing myself into starvation mode. My BMR is about 1500 and my daily activity burns about 2000 a day give or take.

mecompco 04-06-2011 08:58 AM

I'm no expert, and this is just my personal experiance, but I think a large calorie deficit is what you want. And my Basal Metabolism are you talking w/o "lifestyle"--i.e. resting basal metabolism--that level that your body burns simply to keep you alive? That is considerably different than your burn with "lifestyle" and exercise added.

I was running a 3000 plus deficit back when I was really big and the weight peeled off. Now it's slowed as I keep the same calorie level. I still have over a 1000 cal deficit per day.

If you're losing weight, and feeling good, I wouldn't worry about it.


Crimpet 04-06-2011 12:14 PM

I get so confused sometimes over what I should do, and then I begin to worry that I'm actually slowing down my metabolism due to my low calorie intake. I read that you shouldn't drop below your Resting metabolic rate because that's what's needed just to allow you to exist, so if you drop below that your body will go into 'starvation mode' to start storing fat in order for your body to have something to live off of. My Resting rate is 1500, I'm eating 1200, but my activity level brings me up to roughly 2000, so that give me an 800 calorie deficit. Which is great, but I'm just worried that my weight loss will stall due to the whole idea of slowing down my metabolism .I havn't lost anything yet, so I guess I'm a bit worried. I'll see this next monday if I've lost anything this week, and hopefully I can let my mind rest.

I see so many people here that average 1200 calories a day, who are still losing a lot of weight, so I guess it can't be true.

Thanks :D

mecompco 04-06-2011 12:54 PM

Well, let's consider this:

FACT: if you consistantly eat less calories than your body burns, you WILL lose weight. Of course, you WILL eventually starve to death as well (think concentration camp victims). This is irrefutable--yes, you may enter "starvation mode", but eventually you WILL lose weight. I've done a 30 day zero cal fast upon more than one occasion (which I don't of course recommend) and lost a ton of weight--"starvation mode" or not.

Now, I'm not saying that super-low cals is the FASTEST way to lose weight--I suspect that a fairly low amount of calories, but enough to keep the metabolism active is theoretically the FASTEST way. But, we need to keep in mind that the goal is to have a sustainable lifestyle change.

We need to pick a calorie level and carb/protein/fat mix that allows us to eat what we like (making healthy choices, most of the time of course) while keeping us satisfied so that we won't be tempted to overeat or binge due to hunger. Finding this point, while keeping the average calorie deficit high enough to allow reasonably fast results is the challenge.


kag123 04-06-2011 04:03 PM

Listen to Micheal he is smart!:D. Also what I try is one to two days a week I boost the calories (by adding a lot more protein) and I have seen a big difference, keep your metabolism guessing on what u r going to doing, it shouldn't slow down so much...of course that is just my opinion.:D

mecompco 04-06-2011 04:52 PM

Originally Posted by kag123 (Post 42806)
Listen to Micheal he is smart!:D. Also what I try is one to two days a week I boost the calories (by adding a lot more protein) and I have seen a big difference, keep your metabolism guessing on what u r going to doing, it shouldn't slow down so much...of course that is just my opinion.:D

Ha ha--well, I wouldn't go THAT far, but I have lost (and, sadly, gained) more weight in my life than most.

I do like the idea of mixing up the calorie intake and/or nutrient mix to help "keep the body guessing". The body does get used to certain things and adjusts itself according. This is when plateaus generally tend to happen and usually changing food and/or exercise a bit will help break them.


shibaluvr 04-06-2011 06:59 PM

Interesting topic. It is my opinion that if you get a little more active and build some muscle you won't have to worry too much about starvation mode. I read that those who get in 10,000 steps a day don't have to worry about gaining weight.

rainbow24 04-06-2011 08:49 PM

I know in the past when I worked at weight loss, if I stayed in a range of about 2000 calories a day, while working out about an hour a day, I lost weight at the rate of about 2 lbs a week. Whenever I lowered the calorie count I would struggle with weight loss.
I have never found calorie deficit to work for me. It is more about healthier choices and eating foods that prevent me from craving more.

Pandareina 04-07-2011 01:00 PM

My understanding is that if you eat less than your basal metabolic rate (the minimum cals before daily activities, the minimum to support bodily functions) you will start consuming a lot more calories from muscle, not only fat. The idea is to loose mostly fat, so going too low may bite you back in the end.

Also, I do Atkins, and my body is in starvation mode. There is nothing wrong with being there. Starvation mode is where you want to be to loose weight, Just not at a detrimental level of it.

Also, it read enough articles about starvation mode to know that it does not make you stall, or slow down your weight loss. If so, people who starve on purpose (political reasons) would not loose weight the way they do. Just a thought.

yauncin 04-07-2011 08:31 PM

From personal experience, I have maintained below BMR to cut. I only had marginal muscle loss. My BMR was around 1800 calories and I reduced my calorie intake to 1500. Energy expenditure for a day was anywhere between 2300 to 2700 calories a day. But I worked out to prevent muscle loss and timed my carbs and protein around my workouts. My diet was low carb and I got about 40% of my calories from protein. Also, I had one carb up day. I would only maintain this for about a month then return to maintenance and reassess. (I'm a big believer in not restricting your calories over long periods of time.) If after a week or so of maintenance, if I needed to loose more I would go back to restricting my calories. My metabolism was just fine but YMMV.

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