5 Signs You’re Eating Too Little For Weight Loss

Kelly Hogan, MS, RD
by Kelly Hogan, MS, RD
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5 Signs You’re Eating Too Little For Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, it seems to make sense to cut as many calories from your diet as possible. Unfortunately, it’s possible to eat too little, which not only makes it harder for you to achieve a healthy weight, but it can also cause other health problems. In other words, eating below your needs can backfire big time.

Everyone has a set amount of calories, or energy, they need to simply be alive. Consistently eating less than this can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to begin preserving what it can to survive. Hunger and feeling full aren’t the only indicators of whether you’re fueling your body appropriately. Indeed, short and long-term dietary restrictions on weight and the traditional weight-loss methods of calorie cutting and deprivation may actually be a hindrance to many health goals.

Beyond calories, I’ve had countless clients come to me after trying fad weight loss diets, none of which “worked” in that any weight lost was regained once they stopped the diet. Diet culture, in general, does a good job of making people feel like failures if they don’t have long-lasting success from a diet when it’s the diet that fails us. There is little to no research showing any fad diet results in sustained long-term weight loss. This is the first thing I explain to clients so they don’t feel defeated or ashamed because they did nothing wrong.

Here are some common signs you’re eating too little to support your body. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult a registered dietitian or health care professional.



Consistently not eating enough food often results in a preoccupation with food and persistent thoughts about food and your next meal or snack. This could manifest in behaviors like perusing restaurant menus online, obsessing over food social media accounts or watching cooking shows incessantly. The association of dietary deprivation and food preoccupation was first discovered by Ancel Keys in his landmark Minnesota Starvation Experiment during World War II. Many of the participants in the study admitted to obsessively collecting recipes and recipe books, and as the study went on, food became one of the only things they thought about. While this is an extreme example, the chronic dieting and food deprivation so prevalent in today’s culture can absolutely have a similar effect.



Hanger” is one of my favorite terms for feeling so hungry, you are borderline angry. I’m sure this is relatable to many people, and there is some science to explain it. When you go long periods without eating, blood sugar tends to drop. If you don’t eat something to raise blood sugar, and it remains low, your ability to concentrate, be patient with others and mentally focus diminishes. Enter crankiness, which can easily be reversed by eating something. Tiredness and fatigue also go hand in hand with not eating enough, because you’re simply not providing the body with enough energy. These cues are often our body’s way of innately telling us what we really need.



There is nothing worse than feeling tired but being unable to sleep. This is another common result of dietary deprivation, with research roots dating back to the starvation experiment mentioned above. More recent research from eating disorders and sleep to malnourished infants and sleep further emphasizes the profound effect diet may have on our sleep cycles. What’s more, it has been consistently found that diet restoration and maintaining adequate energy intake may also restore normal sleep-wake patterns.



When your body is consistently not getting enough calories to meet your needs, the digestive tract may move food through your system more slowly to preserve energy. As a result, this can cause constipation. Similarly, not eating enough fiber — which is common when you restrict calories below your needs — can cause constipation.



When the scale won’t budge or if you start to gain weight while on a diet, the answer is not to eat even less. Instead of providing the body with less energy, perpetuating the metabolic response that fights against weight loss, the solution is often to eat more.

Start by adding a snack or two between meals and make sure to include all of the macronutrientsprotein, fat and carbs. Once you’re fueling the body correctly, your weight ends up where it should be.


Chronically undereating won’t help you lose weight, and can often yield the opposite effect as well as lead to nutritional deficiencies. In my experience as a dietitian, having a targeted number on the scale isn’t the best way to achieve weight loss or overall health.

Too often weight-loss goals stem from the desire to look like the extremely narrow version of what society deems as an ideal or acceptable body. In this day and age, we are slowly but surely recognizing the uniqueness of every body and that we are not all supposed to look the same.

What’s more, we know now weight alone is not a reliable indicator of health. With that being said, I’ve had much success reframing clients’ goals around health-promoting behavior changes. This could be eating more vegetables, cooking more at home, going for daily walks, prioritizing sleep, etc.

Instead of weighing yourself to measure progress, try using non-scale goals like reaching for 2–3 servings of vegetables per day or checking in with how you feel — are you more energized and able to play with your children or keep up in that tough workout class? Focusing on this type of progress is much more positive, long-lasting and health-promoting.

Originally published March 2019, updated with additional reporting

Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.

About the Author

Kelly Hogan, MS, RD
Kelly Hogan, MS, RD

Kelly Hogan, MS, RD is an NYC-based registered dietitian specializing in women’s health, sports nutrition and plant-based eating. She is passionate about helping people develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies, and uses a non-diet approach in her practice. When she’s not talking or writing all things nutrition, Kelly can be found running in Central Park – she’s run 11 marathons and counting! – cooking recipes new and old, handstanding at the yoga studio or hanging with friends and/or her rescue dog, Peanut.


199 responses to “5 Signs You’re Eating Too Little For Weight Loss”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I fear many people are deceived by the “1200 calories per day and endless cardio” myth perpetuated by misinformed purveyors of health “information.” I didn’t start building good muscle, losing fat and seeing better body composition until I started eating a LOT more calories — and it’s only getting better!

    • Avatar Otis says:

      So, you totally disregard your basal metabolic rate and just “go for broke” eating “a LOT more” calories? Ridiculous. Calories in-calories out. That is the crux of the matter and reason why so many fail to lose anything but money to weight loss/fitness charlatans. Wreck less statement, Theresa. Out of curiosity, how effective was cranking up your caloric intake with regard to weight loss?

      • Otis, I increased my caloric intake to support an increase in physical activity. Eating too few calories when engaged in a comprehensive strength training and cardiovascular program will undermine results and lead to fatigue and injury. Due to some personal health issues, I’m currently on a weight *gain* regimen, eating around 2800 per day and seeing my body composition changing for the better literally day by day. I have gained a significant amount of muscle mass over the last couple of years and am healthier and stronger than I have ever been. I tend to start losing weight on about 2500 per day, which is significantly higher than what most people think of when considering weight loss.

        I agree that BMR and personal weight goals must be taken into account, but the point of the article is to highlight the problems that can occur when people assume “less is better” in terms of caloric intake and weight loss.

        For the record, I do not “go for broke.” I log every calorie and track my macros daily so that I can hit my goal weight. Going for broke, as you say, is just as erroneous and dangerous as eating too little and smacks of broscience.

        • Avatar newguy40 says:

          …increased my caloric intake to support an increase in physical activity. Eating too few calories when engaged in a comprehensive strength training and cardiovascular program will undermine results and lead to fatigue and injury.”

          Excellent point. Me too. Coming back from knee surgery and I’ve been trying to get the caloric intake to match my increased activity. I’m not trying to lose weight. I think I’d be better off with a few extra pounds rather than be fatigued and crabby.

        • Avatar La Bandita says:

          This only works for high performing athletes. Because it turns the weight into muscle. And even those guys gain weight once their no longer performing like they use to -when life gets in the way. But for the regular Joe’s at the gym they just end up gaining weight. Once your body gets use to the extra calories there’s no going back. The goal is to maintain your current calories and work within that while eating high fat foods to give you the energy you need to work out for long term with no injury.

          • Avatar Kim says:

            You don’t have to be a high performing athlete for this to work. I’d like to know, are you a nutritionist? You seem to have quite a few opinions regarding this subject. Not everyone sees weight loss success the same way. From what I have read, you seem to feel there is only one way. Some need to take in more calories, some need to restrict. Each individual person needs to find out what works for him/her. Who are you to say otherwise?

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Just helping an internet friend in these estreets. But Im a division 1 athlete married to a baller – shot caller. And the ladies who’ve done that gained 50 pounds. Do you, but once your body gets use to extra calories – that’s your new body – enjoy.

  2. Avatar lawrence_lee says:

    I was paid 104000 bucks previous 12 month period by doing a web based task as well as I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r quite a few hours every day. I applied work opportunity I stumbled upon on the internet and also I am thrilled that I was capable of to make such decent earnings. It’s genuinely newbie-friendly and I’m so grateful that I found out about it. Look out for what I do… http://shrty­.­link/BaQXOB

  3. Avatar fallandrise says:

    Point number 4 is fat logic, and I’m disappointed MFP is spreading the starvation mode myth. It’s certainly much harder to maintain a large deficit and harder to continue to lose through “those last 5 pounds” at a very large deficit, but your body will not magically hold onto your fat because you’re eating too little.

    • Avatar precinct13 says:

      What’s the problem? If you can’t shift the last five pounds, just set your weight goal 5lbs lower than your ideal weight. Problem solved!

    • Avatar He-Man says:

      Right, and that’s where otherwise good articles like this get trashed because they contain stuff that simply isn’t true, but is commonly believed. I’m sorry, but starvation mode where someone eats too few calories and doesn’t loose weight over an extended period of time is just not really a thing. If this were the case, people dying of starvation in the concentration camps would somehow be fat despite having less than 500 calories a day.

      As I mentioned, the metabolic adaption was shown to mostly cancel out the deficit in some individuals, but this probably had more to do with their starting BMR and metabolic health than any mythical starvation mode.

      • Avatar Suzanne Elvidge says:

        Oh – you all beat me to it on the starvation mode myth. Really bugs me!!

        • Avatar Paul Pierce says:

          I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 months by doing an on-line work moreover I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours every day. I tried job opportunity I stumbled upon on the net and I am excited that I was manage to earn such great money. It is really newbie-friendly and I am so delighted that I found out regarding it. Take a look at what I do… http://urll­.­in/PrdYo

      • Avatar Courtney says:

        I have battled eating disorders on and off. Now I will say I am a under eater. Its hard for me to eat a healthy 900 calories. But if I eat horribly I will reach it quickly. So by poor choices I am a under eater yet over weight. Also probably has little to do with my thyroid issues also. Starve mode is still eating but I can go from 7 am until 3 pm and not eat until I get a massive migraine then its like duh eat so then I eat bad choices to try to get rid of the migraine and its a cycle that goes on for years bc I would each once maybe twice a day. So just bc I am overweight doesn’t mean I over eat.

        • Avatar La Bandita says:

          Most overweight people are in denial about what they actual eat. And many honestly think they don’t eat enough – when they eat too much.

          If you’re eating ‘bad’ I doubt you’re only eating 900 calories of bad food.

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            She was saying it is easy to reach 900 calories when you are eating bad. Not that she stopped at 900 when eating junk. She was trying to make a point that you can be overweight and still not eat a lot because of bad food choices. Volume you eat doesn’t always equate to size. Here is an extreme example a 55 gallon drum of shredded lettuce has about the same calories as almost 5 cups of Crisco shortening. (5 calories for a cup of shredded lettuce and 906 calories in a cup of shortening.)

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            It still doesn’t mathematically makes sense as she said she’s an under eater. If she’s overweight and only eating 900 calories she will loose weight regardless if its good OR bad calories. Me at 137 pounds eats 1200 calories. If I ate only 900 calories of bad food I will still loose weight, because of the 300 calorie deficit. I have done it in the pass.

            Also, it has already been proven that fat doesn’t make you fat – it leaves you full and nobody will drink 5 cups of Crisco shortening. You can add a spoon full if you’re into shortening – I would use Avocado oil also fattening and high calorie, but good for you. And the 55 gallon drum of lettuce will leave you hungry if you don’t add something high fat to it like walnuts or avocado or raisins.

          • you are incorrect saying if you eat 900 calories a day you will lose weight. I am proof that does not have to happen!Then again, I am not your average person 🙂 I have had diabetes for 39 years type one brittle and have gastroparesis and atrophy in my stomach. My metabolism is very shut down and I can literally go ALL day with no food and NOT be hungry. When I do get hungry I actually get excited because I know something is working again…sad… anyways I too have battled a few ED’s since 7th grade which also has not helped and though I do eat mostly raw food/vegetarian diet and try to stay away from ‘white’ simple carbs and stay to more complex carbs and higher protein it isn’t easy. I struggle just to maintain where I am at and I am fanatical about what I eat. I eat around 800-1000 calories a day. it is only when I hit under 700-800 that I will start to drop weight again I almost never eat junk food, fast food or any of that I really do not like it…and it makes me sick.
            Part of what they neglect to mention in this article is the exercise quotient..something I can not do much of due to my disabilities so that alone hinders my weight loss. Mind you I am not grossly overweight but would like to see a good 20 lb loss still it is hard….for some harder than others …
            I do have to agree most who over eat are in denial about how much they eat and what they actually DO intake. OR it could be all the small things adding up most don’t think of IE: the ketchup on those fries (shudders) the best thing to do to see exactly what you are consuming is to make a diary and write EVERYTHING you put in your mouth…there is no denying then!

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Then you’re not compare apples to apples.

            We’re talking of a normal non diabetic healthy person without an atrophy stomach. You need to compare yourself to a diabetic atrophy person.

            The fact remains if you’re healthy otherwise, but overweight and you eat 900 calories good or bad – you will automatically lose weight. Cutting calories to lose weight works. Stop pretending otherwise.

          • Avatar Grin says:

            This is untrue you cannot lose weight by eating 900 calories. Also everyone’s body is different. I gained a lot of weight by not eating enough of the right foods. Then when I ate more of the right foods that’s when the pounds started to shed.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            If you’re eating 3000 calories to maintain your weight at 5 2 900 calories will make you lose weight.

            Put it this way a deficit of 500 calories a week will make you lose weight – is that better? That’s something everyone agrees. You will then have to clean up your diet once you plateau. And once you plateau again you will have to add exercise.

          • Avatar Reality check says:

            Why do you have to be such a PIA? Who do you think you are? You are FOS!!!!

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Stop being loco.

          • Avatar Jim says:

            You are right. Let us not forget 85 year old women that are 5 feet or shorter and weight 80 pounds. This would of course be a person that will soon be dead from a wasting disease like cancer as their BMI is severely underweight.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            Your body has no concept of right foods vs wrong foods, in the end, by the time the food is metabolized, it is either carbohydrates with or without fiber, protein, or fat. A calorie is merely a unit of energy which equate to 4184 Joules/calorie, 100 calories of chocolate syrup has the same number of joules (418,400) as 100 calories of lettuce.

          • Avatar Grin says:

            Apparently it does if you gain or lose weight.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            you really don’t know how this works, do you?

          • Avatar Michelle says:

            Have you been tested for Celiac Disease?

          • Avatar JJ says:

            There is a fallacy to your thinking. I eat less than 1200 calories per day. I eat few carbs, mostly meat & veggies. I track my calories as close as I can with a tracker. I do NOT lose any weight, even though I eat healthy and I eat less than what my caloric intake should/could be. May not make sense, but I’ve been tracking it for 3 months, watching my intake, counting calories and weighing in every day. No change! We’re not all built the same. I am healthy, I am not diabetic. But, I don’t lose weight easily.

          • I was paid 104000 dollars last 12 month period by doing a web based work and also I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours each day. I tried work opportunity I found out on-line and so I am excited that I was in a position to make such decent earnings. It’s seriously newbie-friendly and I’m so pleased that I found out regarding it. Take a look at exactly what I do… http://b1z­.­org/384

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            Here is one thing that can and likely is an issue with many, insulin resistance. First, ppl should consider resistance, as in antibiotics, drug, alcohol. Resistance is the result of persistent high levels of something, be it pot, antibiotics, or, in this case, insulin. What causes this? Persistent and high levels of insulin…non-stop eating. This is why fasting is important to break the persistent and high adjectives. Eating food causes your body to signal its time to feed the cells. Eating should cause a brief spike in insulin levels. As one develops resistance that short spike is not enough to induce cells to allow the elevated blood glucose to enter the cells (why we eat at all). This causes the pancreas to generate more insulin so that turns the spike into a persistent and high level. Chap 10 in Obesity Code covers this. Effectively you body can not use the glucose from eating so it is turned into fat, first liver then rest of body. Your body will not use the fat until you unwind the insulin resistance. This is where fasting helps as it forces a break in the persistent part of persistent and high. You can also google diet doctor. Something else to consider, as far as being hungry. Are you hungry because you need to eat or your body is saying it’s time to eat? Think of Pavlov’s dogs experiments. Also the brain has difficulty differentiating hunger from thirst so drink 16 oz of water and wait 30 mins before you eat.

          • Avatar IF Girl says:

            The Obesity Code is a wonderful book!

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            Yep, it really is. Did you read the back story of how a fellowship trained Nephrologist ended up being an advocate for weight loss/diabetes reversal? Actually it was Dr Roy Taylor (NewCastle England) who pioneered the facts surrounding T2D.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            1200 calories is a lot of good food, that’s what I eat to and I am 137 pounds- between 0 and 2. This only works if you were eating 3000 calories and cut it to 1200 otherwise it’s a healthy amount of food to maintain your body weight.

          • Avatar JJ says:

            I think your calorie counter might need repair. A 140 pound woman with a moderately active lifestyle needs to eat about 1800 calories a day. With no exercise at all, about 1500 calories a day. I switched from unhealthy eating with lots of carbs to a paleo eating plan: 3 meals a day, meat and vegetables. The average breakfast is about 300 calories, lunch and dinner each about 400. There is no bread, pasta, potato, or dairy. So, it is NOT a lot of food but it is clean eating with no snacking in between.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            You see that’s where the individuality comes in. Im between 130 &137 – I just had a baby. So 137 is my baby weight. 1200 calories is lots of calories FOR ME and its lots of food. Im eating all day everyday – mucho happiness.

          • Avatar JJ says:

            Congratulations! But I don’t know how you’re eating all day long at 1200 cal. What are you eating

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Naughty nuts, lol – chocolate covered almonds and cashews. Almond oils, avocado oils and butter on everything. Fresh pasta made out of zucchini and spinach and sweet potato. Mash papas made out of cauliflower. And really expensive cheeses, the more expensive the less likely to get any stomach issues. Cheap cheese is my nemesis, grrrrr.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            You both are skirting the cause, or at least a cause. Most people thing BMR is cast in stone, whether you use a web based calculator based on age and sex (I thought sex was a verb or adverb/gerund and gender was presence/absence of Y chromosome. So now, thanks to trans, I am confused…off topic, sry) or MFP goal page. The Mifflin St Jeor equation is just that, a mathematical approximation of what it SHOULD be. Anyone who has done a calorie reduction diet for any length of time no longer fits the mathematical model so to say I should be at nnn cal/day is likely wrong. Google “kevin hall biggest loser metabolic adaptation”. They did a scientific study of, as I recall, season 14 of biggest loser contestants and all but one regained every pound, not because of returning to old ways but their BMR dropped as much as like 600 cal/day below what Mifflin St Jeor would predict. So for someone to say I consume 900 cal/day and can’t lose weight perhaps that’s because rather than having 1500 cal/day be steady state, she is now at 900 cal/day for steady state. The only way to accurately tell is through medical testing. I believe it involves measuring O2 consumption but it definitely is not using MFP or a web calculator. In theory, it does eventually correct but, in the case of The Biggest Loser, not within 6 yrs.
            This is another reason why fasting works, as the 5th phase of how a body responds is kicking in heightened levels of HGH and adrenalin to keep metabolism high. But, as it relates to this article (losing weight) there is no such thing as ‘eating too little’.

          • Avatar Slicey says:

            That was honestly the most depressing study I’ve ever read! Basically it said that whatever your high weight was is what your body tried to get back to, so you have to create a bigger and bigger calorie deficit each time you try to lose weight or you won’t be successful. It makes me feel like we’re all doomed!

          • Avatar Mishi says:

            I’ve always felt that every time you reach a weight and stay there for long enough, you create a set point. So when you lose weight, you have to go down to the previous set point. You might get stuck there for a while so adjust and persevere. Even low calories or fasting are ok in the short term to get your weight loss moving again. Then you head down to the next set point. I went to a lecture a couple of months ago that said short term fasting (1 day of either fasting or extra low calories) is good for you. If it continues for too long (2 or more days) you end up in starvation mode where fasting or calories too low will start your body conserving energy as fat. They backed it up with a long of research studies.
            Does this make sense to others? It’s what I’ve always noticed in me.

          • Avatar Slicey says:

            I think short-term fasting has shown to be good for numerous health benefits, not just your weight. It makes sense. Some people fast every day by not eating breakfast. Some fast for a full 24 hours once a week or once a month. I’m looking in the the 5:2 eating plan where two days a week you fast by consuming only 500 calories on those day and eat normally on the other 5 days.

          • Avatar Shelby Canuette says:

            What do you eat? To me 1200 calories isn’t much food.

          • Avatar Lorie Foster says:

            I am doing the same as you, JJ. I have switched to Paleo a year ago and only eat my carbs around my workouts. My fitness coach has me at 1750 Cal. per day (I’m at 168 Lbs. right now). I began with Personal Training and Nutrition Coaching 15mo. ago and had been keeping my Cals. below 1200. I still struggle getting 1750 in…but I come very close. I have lost 90 lbs. and 55 ins. once I upped my calories.

          • Avatar Amy says:

            Same thing happened for me. I had to up my calories to 1700-1800 to start seeing weight loss.

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            You lost weight by upping your calories? Did you increase your exercise as well?

          • Avatar Lynne says:

            Years back I lost weight very slowly at 1000 cal a day, then maintained without even trying for almost 15 years… in 2014 my thyroid started acting up and I gained 20 pounds while eating 1200 cal a day/ good combo of food, and even when it is supposidly under control, only maintained for 1.5 years at 1200 a day, could not lose with a diet pill… off diet pill and 6 months later have put on additional 14 pounds while on and off dieting. past 3 weeks, 1200-1400 calories and have maintained and not lost anything… what do you suggest, I am at a lose. nothing I try makes a difference and i have been hungry alot, which before while dieting I never was.
            I maintained between 127-129 for years, gained to 149 in 3 months oct to dec 2014, dieting…. diet pill from March 2015, to Oct 2017 and maintained 148-152 range. since stopping diet pill in Oct 2017 to today March 2018 have gained to 163.

          • Avatar Slicey says:

            Some studies show that different food of the same calorie count result in more weight loss. For example, 1200 calories of high fiber foods vs 1200 calories that don’t reach the 25g/day goal for fiber. One study showed that a group of people on a 1200 cal/day diet of meat/veg/grains lost 7lbs over 6 months while a group of people on a 1200cal/day vegetarian diet lost twice as much weight even though they ate the same calories.

            Maybe try experimenting with different types of food for 1 month at a time to see if that jumpstarts your weightloss. Maybe try Mediterranean, vegetarian or vegan, high fiber with lots of grains and low-fat, or low-carb with higher fat. There are so many options that different people respond to. Low-carb used to be the only way I could lose weight. I recently had gallbladder surgery and switched to a low-fat, high-fiber diet with lots of fruit/veg (so not low-carb!) and started losing weight again. Now I find that when I limit meat intake I don’t gain weight.

          • Avatar Jodi Wilcome says:

            I agree 100%. I’ve been logging everything. My super thin friends all say “calories in, calories out” so I must be binging on twinkles all day right? They say “diet is about 80%” and I logged to prove that, no, it isn’t. When I do warm yoga for 3+ days a week And do not count calories I usually begin losing weight within four weeks.

          • Avatar Robin says:

            If you are having trouble losing weight even though you are counting calories the problem may be what you are eating. Though some foods maybe considered healthy, like chicken, I cannot eat it often because it causes me to gain weight or it prevents me from losing it. Refer to “eat right 4 your blood type”

          • Avatar Alexandra Castro says:

            so fun you say that because I monitored all my food for 3 months and realized that even eating bellow 1000 kcal a day I would only loose weight if I stopped with ALL kind of carbs. That is the way my body reacts to calorie intake.

          • Avatar Amy Tony Neves says:

            JJ I have done the same since November and I also watch my carbs and calories very closely and I exercise daily and might lose a pound a month.

          • Avatar LowEnd31st says:

            You’re just lying to yourself

          • Avatar Kate says:

            And you think you can convince JJ that you know best? Sit down with a good gastric surgeon and you might just learn something about weight loss. Weight loss is not the same for everyone. And I am pretty certain you don’t have a degree as any type of physician to make that very unhelpful comment to JJ.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            Kate, I am neither agreeing with you nor disagreeing. If you read the research and comments Dr Roy Taylor has made to people discussing these subjects with him (Dr Jason Fung as well), he cautions that many (most?) of today’s doctors were trained decades ago to treat certain conditions and, being malpractice adverse, follow their teachings without going rogue. Further he stated that situation won’t really change until new medical books make their way into Med schools. Further, Dr Fung, in the preface to Obesity Code relays just how many hours of nutrition training in Med School through residency he had and it was shockingly low, I think it was 4 hrs. It was low. When I was first diagnosed with T2D I was told, very somberly, I had a chronic, progressive disease that would end in amputation of limbs and organ failure. For the last 2-2 1/2 yrs, at this point, my A1C is 5.1. Something else to research is the NIH funded research into Metabolic Adaptation using Biggest Loser contestants 6 yrs after their season. Bottom line is they all, except for one, regained their weight plus some. This was not to to reverting to old ways, rather their BMR was upwards of 700 cal/day lower than it should be for their weight and age. YoYo dieting is not poor impulse control. And, frankly, I am surprised this thread still has legs. I would encourage you, and the others, to listen to Dr Fung’s podcasts and read Obesity Code. Dr Taylor has several recorded lectures on his research and discovery on reversing T2D. They are worth a listen as well.
            I’m not a doctor either but when I was first diagnosed, to quote Mark Watney, I “scienced the shit out of it”. My A1C went from mid 8s to low 5s and has remained there. So, to all, whatever works. If nothing seems to work, there are research articles you can read.

          • Avatar MC says:

            I’m with you Walt. I’ve gone from eating 700 calories a day, exercising 4-5 days per week at a normal gym (mixing spin classes, weight classes, walking) and losing no weight at all for months. I now eat 1600-1700 calories a day and attend Crossfit 3 days per week – working up to 4 days as its a killer but I love it! The amount I had to eat was counter-intuitive so for the first two months I only ate 1000 calories to ‘just’ get through a class and lost nothing. I upped my food intake to 1600-1700 calories and started losing inches and kilos almost immediately. Also I had a complete thyroidectomy 20 years ago so not sure if that makes a difference. It still doesn’t make sense to me but it works, although granted its different for everyone. MC

          • Avatar Michele Turner says:

            This is me. Now trying to eat a series of 100 Calorie meals involving protein and veg and 1 gallon of water. Getting tons of exercise. ..going to the bathroom. Weight is holding steady. Really trying to test this many-small-meals approach.

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            I have been doing this for 3 years! Even though I have a science background, I still get eyes rolling if I bring it up. I just want an answer… I even account for lowered metabolism (used an indirect calorimeter to find it). What I think is happening is A) I burn less calories exercising per my fitbit and B) I eat too many carbs. If I can adjust these I think it will work because I have had limited success… it’s hard to do long term and one week on vacation shoots it to heck.

          • Avatar Jason Langdon says:

            Calories recorded by a fitbit are not actual. They are based on a mathematical computation. Most likely what is happening to people who are under eating is that they are not fueling their bodies enough to maintain their daily NEAT.

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            I know that the calories on fitbit are not actual! Does anyone really believe otherwise?

          • Avatar BluePotion says:

            Same for me. I have been doing 1200 for 6 months and no weight loss. I used to have a very high metabolism and could eat 2000 calories and not gain a pound. I was 5’8″ and 120 lbs was all I could reach. I would never stay there and lose if I ate below 2000. Once I hit 35 it started to change. At first I was thrilled. I finally had a butt and boobs and people stopped saying, “Ew you are so skinny”. But now I am 20 lbs over the ideal weight for my height. Being “not skinny” for me is not fun. Clothes don’t fit right, I feel clunky, etc. I am on medication now so that and age could be the prob. Side note I also did gymnastics so I did have muscle tone. I do work out now also but not as much. Lastly, as I age I don’t see myself being super active at 45+ so I want to be able to have a healthy weight with minimal strength training.

          • Avatar Eric Bleasel says:

            Spot on JJ,my fitness regime has calories disappearing in large amounts and conversely calorie intake well below,but still no sign of weight loss,that’s four months now,your body rules the roost not you apparently.

          • Avatar Debby Frantz Girvan says:

            I found because I work on a computer all day I don’t move as much as I should. Even if I work out for an hour, it doesn’t offset the overall lack of activity so I try to build in other routine activity – parking further away, walking to work, taking stairs, etc A short walk (20 mins) after a meal to bring down blood sugar levels helps – esp if you are very overweight or have blood sugar issues. If you’re sedentary all day weight loss will be super slow no matter how many (or few) calories you eat – especially as you get older. Bummer but reality.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ calories. A calorie is a unit of energy ultimately converted to joules (physical unit of energy). There are, however, good and bad food.

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            You are missing my point which is there are calorie dense foods and getting a lot of calories is easy because they don’t fill you up. That is why I called my example an extreme example, it was meant to be an analogy of caloric density, not an actual diet example. She also said she eats 900 calories when she makes the proper food choices and if she doesn’t make good choices her caloric intake is much greater. She isn’t in denial of what she is eating, she is giving examples of her poor choices and why it is hard for her to loose weight.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            I get what you’re saying but I didn’t get that from her. I understood from her that she ate once or twice a day only 900 calories. But because she gets headaches the 900 calories are bad choices. She says she under eats and is overweight.

            I understand caloric density – I live off of calorie dense food, anyway she has a thyroid issue so it’s not applicable.

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            I got from her she eats 900 healthy calories and when she makes bad choices she eats way over 900 calories.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Nooo, she only eats 900 calories total, but is overweight, because the calories are bad.

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            We will have to agree to disagree on that one.

          • Avatar Judee Westin says:

            Calories aren’t bad or good. They are just fuel for the body.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            I know that – I am repeating what the lady up thread stated. Anyway, once she said she had a health issue I should have left it alone.

          • Avatar Robbin Smith says:

            Exactly! You simply get to have more food bulk with lower calorie choices.

          • Avatar Ariana says:

            She also said she had a thyroid condition and having one myself that makes a world of a difference.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            I agree and noted that in my comment. People with health conditions of course this doesn’t apply to them.

          • Avatar Fatcat says:

            Lose not loose!

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            It doesn’t mathematically make sense, but I think that calories are metabolized in different ways in vivo than in a lab. So it might be the macros. Sugar, protein and vegetable calories might not be utilized calorie for calorie the same way. Mitochondria also play a role in how each individuals metabolism works. It would be very ignorant of us to apply our own experiences to every unique individual….

          • Avatar Derry says:

            I eat one meal a day…I am on Keto, yet I have stalled regarding my weight. My dinner consists of cauliflower, broccoli and pork chop with fat on..next evening will be chicken, next will be 3 eggs scrambled, asparagus spinach and bacon, next evening chicken stew consists chicken half an onion, courgette,mushrooms green beans and greens, keto stock…This is how I eat yet I cannot lose anymore weight, and have not for 2 months. I know exactly what I eat and never snack. I have also been suffering from hair loss because of under eating,so now to lose more weight I have to eat a little more.

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            Totally wrong. It does matter… how do you explain plateaus? does the person “cheat” when he gets in one? How do you explain the lowered metabolism for same sized post dieting individuals compared to people who have never dieted? https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-biggestloser/six-years-after-the-biggest-loser-metabolism-is-slower-but-weight-is-back-up-idUSKCN0Y12E9

        • Avatar Jim says:

          It might be hard for you to eat 900 healthy calories but its not hard for you to eat more total calories then required to maintain a healthy weight if you are overweight. Because yes by physics and biology if you are overweight its because you over ate.

          Science matters.

          • Avatar Lori Green says:

            That is just not true Jim. You see she has a medical problem? Thyroid regulates metabolism.

        • Avatar kanewberry says:

          Find a GOOD Endocrinologist! Please do NO ignore your thyroid issues!!

          • Avatar Lori Green says:

            From my experience..having pretty much the same problem, I am never hungry, i have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and have had it since 12, never overweight till lungs injured in a fire, then prednisone, my nemesis, ( 45 lbs in 7 weeks) kicked in. I dont over eat..i am never hungry, my kids and family constantly hound me because I dont eat enough..I tried the eat more to lose weight..slowly increasing my calories for 2 yrs till i reached 1800, but it didnt work..I dont gain weight unless i am on prednisone but i cant lose it either…AND THE ENDOCRINOLIGISTS DO NOTHING FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM. The give you levothyroxine..now blood hormorne levels say they are good. But why is my hair still falling out, why am I not hungry, why am I fatigued, why cant I sleep..? Because the hormones they give us dont work. I asked about alternative treatments, gluten free, dairy..blah ..they said there is no medical proof and they dont advise that I do that. They advise me to excercise. I walk and am moderately active. Work in a fast paced environment. I dont go to the gym ..only my belly is large from cortisol overload and prednisone and they say that is better than not breathing. How do you lose weight if you dont over eat and are NOT in denial?

          • Avatar Vikki Sherwood says:

            Just a possibility for you to look into Lori Green, Hemp seed are proven to help with thyroid issues when added to a healthy diet.

        • Avatar BadDog40 says:

          Start following Fitness Pal, and you’ll be in good shape in no time.

        • Avatar Louise Joyce says:

          I find that I burn about 2,700 calories a day and eat about 1200 – 1500 a day. I wasn’t losing weight at all. I’ll tell you why: if you eat barely anything but eat only unhealthy stuff (especially sugar and carbs), your body will still have enough to burn without you losing weight. Your body practically lives on carbs. If you want to lose weight I’d say you should eat healthier things like vegetables (they are good carbs, bad carbs are starches), fruit (in moderation, treat fruit like a dessert), and cheeses. You can still eat your cookie or your toast, but don’t eat a whole box of Oreos. Moderation is key in dieting.

          • Avatar jennyct says:

            OH boy, I wish there was a place to get tasty fruits and vegetables compared to Europe. It’s all cardboard here. Just bought some apricots… why bother. They were so flavorless, I wouldn’t eat them if I was starving – which is why I tried them!

        • Avatar Victoria Cross says:

          You should keep protein shakes shakes or smoothies handy so have an alternative to eating junk at 3 pm. You can get them ready to drink or powdered and mix with water; just make sure they’re cold.

        • Avatar tbright1965 says:

          As it looks like others have noted, are you really under-eating with respect to calories, or just nutrients.

          There is a difference.

          Let’s look at two different 160-170 calorie snacks.

          4 Thin Mint Cookies: 160 calories, 22g Carbs, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein.
          You get a trace amount of iron and potassium.

          1 piece of wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

          170 calories. 16g carbs, 9g fat and 8g protein. You also get 3g of fiber that helps cancel out 3g of carbs.

          This will be much more filling and better for you. Less likely to want a snack as quickly after a slice of whole wheat toast topped with a T of P.B.

          I also don’t see any mention of exercise.

          So I wonder how much is really under-eating and how much is undernourished. They are two separate things.

        • Avatar Linda Floyd says:

          With a thyroid problem its so hard to lose weight, I also have a thyroid problem. Anyone on here that has that issue will understand. I stopped eating gluten, soy, sugar, and dairy, it will be a year April 1st. I lost 32 pounds and have been at a standstill for four months now. No matter how much I exercise, or eat the scale doesn’t move. As long as it doesn’t climb I am happy, but I do have another 20 pounds to reach my goal. What makes things better is to prepare your food early, I have my food all in containers for a week and if I get hungry its already made up. So I don’t have any urges to eat wrong. Maybe you can try that and see if it helps you.

      • Avatar Reality says:

        Full of shit.

      • Avatar BadDog40 says:

        Sorry, not true. I starved my body of protein for 2 years (Didn’t know any better) I started my Fitness Pal, and in 29 days lost 5 lbs.

        Concentration camps: Again not true. If you’re there for 2-3 yrs. @ 500 calories, your body Must use the fat to stay alive.

      • Avatar Daniel Larson says:

        Dear He-man, this just goes to show your lack of knowledge. This article is about reducing calories too much and ] accidentally did this a few years back. I wasn’t losing any more weight no matter how little I ate. I went to a nutritionist and found I was only eating 900 to 1200 calories a day. I added about 600 calories to my daily intake and then dropped almost 25 pounds.

    • Avatar Matt Cusack says:

      you eat too little you slow your metabolism too much and you can gain or not loose any weight.

    • Avatar Cecily says:

      You will still lose weight eating too little BUT if you are eating too little of certain things like protein, you will lose muscle too. You still need to eat enough to maintain your muscles and organs and stay relatively active to keep that muscle.

    • Avatar Blckduck says:

      This starvation ideology is true. I am experiencing it right now. i am working with a nutritionist to tweak my eating. I have gotten an accurate body fat reading in a BOD POD and tracked it over two months. I lost lean muscle and my body fat went up. I have to either eat more or lower my cardio.

    • Avatar Joy says:

      Yes, It will.

    • Avatar #? says:

      Metabolic Adaptation has thousands of studies on it not to mention any competent fitness expert or dietician stresses caution where caloric deficits or surpluses are concerned. Layman terms like metabolic damage or starvation mode may misinterpret what’s really happening but the fact is it happens. The body does start to be frugal with fat mass but only for as long as there is still water mass to use as energy (catabolism) and no stimulus to retain it. You get skinny fat before you get skinny. All extreme or prolonged caloric deficits eventually lead to disproportionate percentages of fat to lean muscle mass which is why bodybuilders employ proven dietary techniques like carb cycling to preserve muscle and slow down metabolic adaptation when cutting. No magic, just proven science.

    • Avatar PaleoDave says:

      So metabolic adaptation is not real?

    • Avatar Phil Bowman says:

      Could it just be that your body is telling your mind that it needs those last pounds to function harmonishly. Maybe your body and the rational inner mind is over riding your outward thinking.

  4. Avatar disqus_hS4IldkNbt says:

    “Plus, this won’t trigger your body to go into self-preservation mode, which may provide you with quick weight loss in the beginning, but set the stage for you to gain it back in the future.” So if people want to gain weight they should eat less? Sounds legit

  5. Avatar Jim says:

    Where is the peer reviewed study showing number 4?

  6. Avatar Walt Corey says:

    There are two books that should be of interest to those wanting to lose weight, 1) Obesity Code (Jason Fung MD) and 2) Complete Guide to Fasting (Jason Fung, MD) and as a bonus, The Eight Week Blood Sugar Diet (Michael Mosley, MD). You can also do IF (intermittent fasting), like 3 meals one day, one meal the next, rinse/repeat. There is very good SCIENCE on this stuff now.

    • Avatar PaleoDave says:

      I seem to recall that the medical researcher who wrote “Alternate Day Fasting” also showed that participants had no slowing of their metabolism. So the IF approaches may become known to be better than more traditional longer term daily caloric reduction. I think because there is so much information in general on this topic that many people may not get this info because so much just looks like noise. But you are right about the increasing good science! Hopefully more people come across it and find it helpful.

  7. Avatar Walt Corey says:

    The body’s response to fasting is as follows:
    2) Post absorbtive phase – six to 24 hrs after feeding. The breakdown of glycogen (stored from step 1) to glucose
    3)Glucose neogenesis where the body produces glucose from glycerol and amino acids
    4) Ketosis – like Atkins Diet or other Keto Diets… The body turns fat into glucose and ketones.
    So yes, the body is designed to actually burn fat all on it’s own, no exercise required. Information from aforementioned Obesity Code, as a second source.

    • Avatar La Bandita says:

      Exercise is necessary for continue heart and lung development. Even the brain is better after exercise. This is how thin people get heart attacks. You can be thin and out of shape.

      • Avatar Walt Corey says:

        There is so much misinformation about diet out there and much of it comes from people reportedly experts in dieting. Exercise is very good in assisting the uptake of glucose into cells but from the perspective of pure weight loss not so much. I’m not against exercise, I do it all the time I am against misinformation.

        • Avatar La Bandita says:

          Which is what you’re doing by saying no exercise required. There is nothing bad about exercising. Nothing. And it is not just a means for weight loss. Little kids run around for a reason – its pure joy and bliss.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            I am not saying that, medical doctors, endocrinologists, are. There is nothing wrong with the pure joy and Bliss of little kids running around but that has nothing to do with weight lifting or exercise and trying to lose weight. Fung devotes a whole chapter to The Myth of Exercise, in his book, The Obesity Code. There is not a claim or stmt he makes not footnoted by proof, studies and/or experts.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Exercise is not a myth. It just has taken on different forms. This is just its equivalent. Generations ago exercise wasn’t necessary because people were more physical. Modern day exercise is its equivalent. And some people like myself need exercise. But other’s that don’t like it can do other things they love like gardening and such. But you can’t lie on a couch or sit at a chair and fast and say exercise is a myth. You will lose all of your muscle tone and get slouchy.

            ETA: I’ve seen thin sickly non exercising people – its not a good look having your butt touch the ground.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            We seem to be having two different conversations and your half seems to be more religious than factual so we’re probably better off just leaving it as it is. Good luck to you.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            You’re not being factual nor am I. We’re both talking about what works for us individually – get it. Fasting works for petite small bone men and women with low to no muscle tone. It works on old people as well as most of their muscle tone atrophies at a certain age – unless they were high performing athletes like my dad who had a six pack into his 70s . For a person like myself medium bone and that builds muscles easily that would kill me. I wake up in the morning starving.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            sweetie, if you want to come after me, read a book or three on the subject. Stop the silly “joy of watching little children play outdoors” BS. Everything I’ve said I can document from, books and other sources from medical doctors and researchers.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            you appear to be, yet another, internet troll. Troll someone else.

  8. Avatar precinct13 says:

    Re point 3, whilst fibre is important a common reason for constipation on a restricted calorie diet is simple dehydration. Drink more water and learn to accept that peeing every fifteen minutes is the price for reaching your ideal weight.

  9. Avatar liftchickadee says:

    250-500 calorie deficit… sure, but explain where those “calories” will be cut from. Explain macronutrients when you discuss “weight loss” in an article.
    Firstly, the goal when cutting is to lose fat mass while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible which is accomplished by adjusting our energy sourced “macros”, carbs and fats. A deficit should be a percentage based off of our body fat, TDEE, BMR and fitness/nutrition goals, (which is different for every single person) and macronutrient requirements based off of our lean mass, not some general “250-500” calorie clump. Where does 500 calories come from? 55.5g of fat? 125g of protein or carbs?? Not exactly. It’s a combination of each.

    It’s not that cut and dry. You mention the importance of macronutrients early in the article, but sadly, you diminish it by suggesting a general “calorie” deficit.

    If you’re serious about losing fat mass, invest some time in researching macronutrients (or the IIFYM community) and a scale that gives a read on your body fat. Don’t ever just cut an ambiguous amount of “calories”.

    • Avatar Jim says:

      If you’re serious about losing fat mass lower your calories consumed lower then the calories needed for maintenance. IIFYM can help but a a calorie deficit is the only requirement.

  10. Avatar Rita Filice says:

    I should be eating 1240 Cal a day but can’t seem to reach that .the most I reach is 1000 and even then I find I’m not that hungry .what can I Do? Any suggestions

    • Avatar percysowner says:

      Good question. I’m recording everything I eat and I usually hit between 1000-1100 and I’m done. I tend to throw in something “bad” if I’m too close to 1000, a beer, a soda, 1/4 ice cream. Probably the wrong approach, but that’s how I handle it.

      • Avatar Rita Filice says:

        Yes but that bad part will also bring your fats proteins, sugar ectopic. Up also so I don’t think that it’s a healthy approch

    • Avatar AMG says:

      You could try juicing, that way you’re upping your calories and your fruit/veggie servings. The juices can be filling so even though can take some getting used to but it’s easy than forcing another meal down when you’re just not feeling it.

  11. Avatar Iris says:

    Starvation mode is not a myth – I am a perfect example – I lived on coffee all day and did not eat my first meal until 2pm. No matter what I ate I could not lose weight – went on Jenny craig and couldn’t lose weight and was gaining weight on 1000 calories a day. Went to a dietician that told me it was not what I was eating but how. She told me I had shut off my metabolism. She put me on 6 small meals per day (with the first small meal within 30 minutes of waking) with more food than I have ever eaten and the weight started dropping 2 pounds per week.

    • Avatar La Bandita says:

      She just broke up your meals for you. You could’ve done that yourself. Also I notice anyone who eats once a day are always really heavy – I think binge night time eater.

  12. Avatar Kevin K says:

    15% is a whopping big deal, though, if you apply numbers to it.

    15% of 1500 calories is 225 calories. If you’re losing weight on 1500 calories and you get a 15% shift in BMR, that means you’d have to reduce your diet a whopping 225 calories to get the same impact, down to 1275 calories.

    That’s a BIG difference in terms of the amount of food you can eat. That’s half my usual breakfast.

    • Avatar La Bandita says:

      Your breakfast is huge.

      • Avatar Kevin K says:

        Actually, no.

        My diet is 1800 calories a day…which I usually divide thusly (give or take)..

        Breakfast = 450
        Lunch = 450
        Dinner = 700
        Snacks = 200
        Total = 1800

        15% of 1800 = 270. Which means MORE than half of either breakfast or lunch.

        The only alternative is to increase your exercise an equivalent amount. Which for me would be equivalent to an extra 30 minutes a day of walking…on top of the 60-90 minutes a day of exercise that I already do.

        The claim that a 15% reduction in base metabolism is trivial is math illiteracy.

        • Avatar La Bandita says:

          Maybe you can reduce your dinner. And 60-90 exercise is a lot, but pretty good.

          • Avatar Kevin K says:

            Not the point!

            The claim was made that a 15% reduction in base metabolism was essentially a trivial non-issue in terms of weight reduction. The MATH says differently. And it wouldn’t matter WHOSE diet we were discussing.

            15% reduction in base metabolism is NOT trivial.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Reduce your 700 calorie dinner by 200 calories – so its 500 calories and reduce your 450 calorie breakfast by 70 calories to 380.

            Then report back to us – continue everything else. It’s the only way we’ll know if its not trivial.

          • Avatar Kevin K says:

            Again. NOT THE POINT.

            The POINT is that a 15% reduction in “calories out” is NOT trivial. It’s half a meal — ANYONE’S meal.

            I only used my own numbers as an example. Use your numbers, trust me, you’ll get exactly the same result. If your base metabolism reduces 15% in response to dieting, that — of necessity and by definition — translates into about a half of a MEAL’s worth of extra dieting in order to achieve the same results.

            It’s the concept I’m discussing. Not my diet specifically.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Nope, I think you need to reduce your calories or you have no point.

          • Avatar Kevin K says:

            Are you trolling or just stupid?

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Either its trivial or cut 270 calories from your diet.

  13. Avatar Apoorv Kaushal says:

    I’ve been on a 1500 calorie diet for 51 days now, initially i lost 12 pounds in the first two weeks or so and I was very happy but since then my weight loss has kind of stopped I have only lost merely 5 pounds in the next 40 days and now I feel disheartened although I’ve been logging everything that i eat and even the mfp tracker projects major weight loss in the next 5 weeks but it is just not happening. Can someone please tell me where I’m committing a mistake as each day I am well within my calorie limit.

    • Avatar La Bandita says:

      The good thing is you’re not gaining any weight. That’s the most important. Now you have to do different things with your diet. Try more protein, try more vegetables, try high fat and see what works for you individually. You’re not doing anything wrong. This is just the next step. Then work on an exercise plan. You have to get moving for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.

      • Avatar Apoorv Kaushal says:

        Well i have been running almost 15 miles a week now

        • Avatar La Bandita says:

          The next step is to cut calories but only after you went over your food choices. Sometimes eating higher healthy fats and upping your protein helps as well. And no juices, sodas etc., unless you squeezed the apple yourself.

          • Avatar PaleoDave says:

            She may also want to consider that some level of metabolic adaptation has occurred. A good nutritionist can help guide her to whether she should cut more calories, add specific exercise, eat more to adjust metabolism upward or take some other approach recommended by the nutritionist. Sounds like Apoorv has a lot of data that will be useful. Research articles from PubMed about metabolic adaptation and reversing thermogenic adaption, and what the medical researchers are finding and recommending. Street jargon is calling it reverse dieting so googling that will give a sense of what the researchers are working on, but be sure to consider the source as you formulate a plan for action! Apoorv may also find reading about what medical researches are saying happened to the metabolisms of the “Biggest Loosers” of interest.

        • Avatar Amy says:

          You may need to up your calories to support your activity. I see your comment is from a year ago. How are you doing?

    • Avatar cakechamp says:

      Have you recalculated your calories based on your current weight? You will need to adjust your TDEE based on what you weigh now.

  14. Avatar Tammy says:

    BMR is the amount of calories a person needs for basic life functions… A persons TDEE is the amount of calories your body burns per day depending on activity level. A person should eat at their TDEE to maintain weight, eat below TDEE but above BMR to lose weight. With my activity level( workout at least 5 times a week) my TDEE is around 2200 calories and my BMR is around 1450 calories. I used to just eat 1200 calories i was not to losing the weight but ever since I started eating 500-750 calories below my TDEE for that day I use fitbit to get my TDEE and I have lost 13 inches in 1 month and 3 days.

  15. Avatar Jim says:

    The author is combining a ton of different fat logic ideas. Their is the adaptation. But there is also her suggesting damage to your metabolism from dieting which is nonsense along with “starvation mode” which she calls self preservation mode. This is the claim that somehow the less you eat the more weight you gain because something about how the body continues to make fat instead of using fat for the main reason it exists.

  16. Avatar Vanessa Williams says:

    wait….so he didn’t have excrement because it converted to fat?

    • Avatar Walt Corey says:

      Not quite the way it works. Food entering the mouth is digested and turned to useful stuff, sugar, carbohydrates etc and the ‘waste’ is excrement. Some digestion actually starts in the mouth itself, others occur in the stomach and still others in the intestines. Of interesting note, fructose can not be metabolized in the stomach or intestines but only in the liver. This is why fructose is so bad as it is directed straight to the liver. As fructose is usually consumed in conjunction with carbs which turn into glucose in the intestines and set straight into the blood to be used by cells, fructose being metabolized in the liver, by the time that occurs there is already enough glucose in the blood stream so the fructose gets stored as fat in the liver (bad). To your question those. Unused glucose is converted into glycogen and stored in the liver. From that amino acids can be synthesised as well as glucose. All the things necessary for life can be synthesized. Minerals, perhaps not so much as it takes nuclear fusion for that, iron etc. In the case of the world record holder, 13 months w/o eating, he lost, as I recall, 287lbs and was never hungry. When asked if he got hungry he, reportedly, responded, not so long as I have this, shaking his stomach. So, the whole starvation thing clearly is well… Google Intensive Dietary Management, Jason Fung, Michael Mosley and esp Roy Taylor (New Castle Magnetic Imaging Centre). I, further, encourage all interested to buy and read Obesity Code, Complete Guide to Fasting, Eight Week Blood Sugar Diet.

      • Avatar La Bandita says:

        So from personal experience (I have no experience with this) how long have you fasted? Was it hard/easy?

        • Avatar Walt Corey says:

          OK, one last time…yes I have and do. It’s hard the first time. The more you think about it the harder it is. You just have to do it. Maybe start with a 1 day fast, just promise yourself “tomorrow I will not eat” (but do drink water). Dr Fung talks about this in his book Obesity Code and his second book Complete Guide to Fasting. Also, and I mentioned this but the powers that be strip urls, google fasting and NIH. NIH is National Institute of Health. What you’ll find there are not opinions, not personal experience but research with actual research subjects and control groups and conclusions even if the conclusion is no difference. The rationale for 1 day to start is more psychological than metabolic. Prove to yourself you actually can do it. Then go to 2 days. Yet another book written by Dr Michael Mosley discusses his 5-2 diet. Eat normally for 5 days of the week then for 2 don’t eat. Is it hard or easy. Initially it’s hard but, IMHO, largely due to psychological reasons, like watching the rest of your family eat while you drink glasses of water or you cooking a fine meal for them that you cannot eat. What Dr Jason Fung (google Intensive Dietary Management) champions is IF, intermittent fasting. day one, eat 3 means then don’t eat until dinner the following day, rinse repeat. He calls that a 24hr fast. Personally, I think there is a math problem there. End your day 1 dinner at 7 and don’t eat again until 7 the next day. Unless you eat exceptionally quickly, you’ll wind up eating dinner at 4am. So shave an hour off and end dinner at 7pm and don’t eat until 6pm the following day. coffee, tea, and of course water are fine during day.The longest single fast I, personally have done is 7 days. I’ve done several 5 day fasts, several more 2 day fasts and routinely do the 24(23) hour intermittent fast every day. Eating one meal/day and occasionally having a ham and cheese rollup for lunch following day. Keep in mind one thing, as a biological species, why do we have fat at all? To survive when you don’t have food to eat.
          The more times you fast the easier it gets. In fact pg 239 of Obesity Code shows the stages of bodily responses to fasting. Ketosis (living off of stored fat) starts at around day 3 initially. If you have no stored reserves of glycogen it can start within 24hrs. The more you fast the easier/faster it is to transition to burning fat, not glucose.
          Google the following terms “fasting world record weight loss nih”. It will point you at a medical journal article of the same subject. Seriously, there is a lot of BS on the web so it behoves the looker to add the predicate NIH. Wikipedia is maybe 80% or less trustworthy because anyone can modify so there is no assurance.

          Oh, I lost just under 1/2 my body in about a year. Also don’t anyone trust the BMR web pages as they don’t and can’t factor in any metabolic adaptation so it’s going to only report ‘all things being equal’. All things are rarely equal.

          • Avatar La Bandita says:

            Thanks, honestly very informative. I run 3 to 5 miles in the morning and I am not giving it up, lol. Can you fast and exercise? Should everyone fast or is it just for overweight people? I am 5 7 and 137 pounds. I like to eat too.

          • Avatar Walt Corey says:

            Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it @137. Sure, you can still exercise and fast. Remember fasting could be in an attempt to lose 287lbs or it could be for purely health reasons. I had given the first 4 phases of how the human body responds to fasting. The 5th is called protein conservation phase. This is where the body produces high quantities of HGH and adrenaline to preserve/maintain/increase BMR. This kicks in around day 5. It is written ppl fasting they get something of a euphoria and feel full of energy. I suspect this is much like “runner’s high”. I never experienced this to the point of feeling euphoric and full of energy. I do however do a lot of cardio 5 times/wk (18-20 miles / wk). You should seriously consider buying “The Complete Guide to Fasting” by Jason Fung, MD. He articulates 4 different rationales for fasting, from weight loss, diabetes, heart, younger/smarter you. I am guessing from the posts of yours I’ve seen (even if not directed at me) you might well enjoy Obesity Code as well, same author. Seriously, everything I’ve mentioned is from first hand experience or reading well researched, peer reviewed literature. About 2 yrs ago I was presented with earth shattering/existential diagnosis and, to quote Matt Daemon, I was forced to ‘science the shit out of it”. I became very well read on the current science and studies and current research. From both of those books you may further find Keto Clarity interesting. The later you probably want to read OC first as it is like 2nd/3rd year physiology on how the body works w/relevant studies referenced and footnoted. The guy is a a Nephrologist He wrote these books because, as he states, what little he learned in Med School and residency was largely wrong or, at least, incomplete and only proximal vs root cause. They aren’t expensive and if you are into digital (Kindle) I think they have electronic copies for even less. Bottom line, he ended up ‘scienc(ing) the shit out of it” too. And he shared what he learned along the way.
            A quick note. After discussing Protein Conservation Phase, his very next sentence is, “The human body is well adapted for dealing with the absence of food”. (fasting)

            By all means, do not take my word for it, research it yourself. I won’t be offended. Much research has been done in the last 30 yrs on weight, physiology, diabetes et al. that..well…it will shock you.

    • Avatar Walt Corey says:

      No Vanessa. Poop/excrement is largely a byproduct of eating. For instance someone said, “oh, you should try juicing”. Juicing is effectively eating vegetables with no fiber. Fiber basically cannot be broken down (digested) by people, termites yes, people no. So in the case of veggies, it is the fiber that comes out the other end. That is a simplistic example. So when you are living off fat, btw, like bears do in the winter, there is not a lot of waste as the food that led to the fat was already exited from the body. In that world record holder he pooped about once every 36 days, as I recall. It is not uncommon to fast for several days, or in some cases, several weeks. After the first 24-36 hrs the food in your digestive system is flushed through. So, for ppl saying they are having a heck of a time losing weight, stop eating. Seriously, stop eating, unless you have an underlying issue like type 1 diabetes. You won’t die. If, mathematically, you should burn 2,000 cals/day if you don’t eat and don’t have really bad insulin resistance, you will lose about 2/3 lb per day. Want to lose 10lbs, don’t eat for 2 weeks. Remember too, when you first start dieting the first several days its water weight that makes a lot of the weight loss you initially see.

      • Avatar Lori Green says:

        Walt I have a 20+ yr history of not eating…not anorexic..just a busy single parent of 3 kids and I have hashimoto’s and asthma. I just wasnt hungry or if i did get hungry I was busy at work/school/etc. a few bites and i was good to go..not hungry at dinner…ate to taste what I cooked for kids..few bites..good to go..I always cook , rare fast food. prednisone causes me to gain 5lbs a week when I am on it. all in the stomach..legs/arms much smaller. I often eat 400-700 calories ..only hungry 1 or 2 a week. Can you suggest a book for me? Thanks 🙂

        • Avatar Walt Corey says:

          Hi Lori, sure. Sounds like you are already intermittent fasting. I’d get “Complete Guide to Fasting” by Jason Fung, MD. Prednisone will cause weight gain. If you like CGF, you could get Obesity Code, same author. Depending on your insurance situation, get an Endocrinologist as they will be more fluent on drugs, hormones, diabetes, if that’s a possibility, etc.

          • Avatar Lori Green says:

            Thanks Walt, I do have an endocrinologist. All they do for Hashimoto’s is the same as for everyday hypothyroidism. They give you levothyroxine. My hair still falls out, can’t sleep, fatigue (although i power thru it..gotta earn that dollar! lol), can’t lose weight. They say that there is nothing else they can do as the AMA does not recognize Holistic medicine for Hashimoto’s. I tried 3x and he just says there is no scientific proof that holistic medicine helps. I even stressed the fact that it is an immune disorder,,*as is asthma, asked him about healing my immune system as there is a lot of talk about that going around, but he said sorry..will see you in 3 mos for your tsh levels. I cannot afford to pay out of pocket and am not willing to go totally against his directives unless I can find substaniative proof that he will at least agree to monitor me on 🙁 . Anyways thanks for the info on the literature. I will definitely get both of them 🙂 And I hope to have a decent medical insurance soon so that I can get a different doctor and endocrinologist if I have to. 😛

          • Avatar Lori Green says:

            ok responded here earlier..dont see it now..but…no biggie..just watched this video of interview with Jason Fung, MD…very informative! Am definitely buying these books…oh and googled them..they are not expensive either!!! Thanks so much for the Info!! 😀

  17. Avatar JofJLTNCB6 says:

    I’m just here for the n=1 arguments for the existence of “starvation mode” despite the overwhelming research evidence to the contrary.

  18. Avatar dfprodz says:

    @La Bandita is stating pure facts and somehow it pisses some people off.

  19. Avatar La Bandita says:

    Dont listen to any of us – you have medical issue.

  20. Avatar La Bandita says:

    Constipation as you get older is real problem – from observation, haha. The bowels slow down and it ages people. Eating a big apple and/or drinking organic apple cider helps.
    Drinking lots of water helps. But the food you eat needs to be pushed out.

    Every 36days of poopy time is not ideal.

  21. Avatar Ishmael Shelton says:

    I’m amazed by how many non-professions are ,eager to offer their opinions as proven facts. Not a single person gave one iota verifiable data to support claims. Evidently this has worked it’s way down and has become acceptable.

  22. Avatar Walt Corey says:

    Buy either the book Obesity Code and read it twice, it’s a dense read, or watch the Jason Fung 6 part series Etiology of Obesity. It’s a six part series that was a precursor to his book. Get medical advise from doctors not bloggers.

    • Avatar Lori Green says:

      forget my other comment Walt..I have similar issue to KSB..so I will use this response as my answer and save you the trouble typing another LOL ..thanks 🙂

  23. Avatar ManlyMiketheCOWARD byLOOKS says:

    Lol looks like the Reddit “pros” are here

  24. Avatar Kate Lacy says:

    Goodness, this is an exceptionally empty article. Not much serious substance here at all. Just a hint of this and that.

  25. Avatar amyhiggins2 says:

    I have an eating disorder and I know when I eat way too much of something. The problem for me is that I won’t eat all day long, and then I’ll eat a healthy supper – and then after, eat a half gallon of frozen yogurt… so the next day I will not eat because I feel so ashamed. Over time, my metabolism has stopped working and I know I have to start exercising regularly to get it going again. I just want those who don’t have eating disorders to understand that there are fat people who do go for days without eating much – or eating very little. Then there are also many fat people who are in denial about how much they eat. I have felt so much shame about my binging that I couldn’t admit to myself or anyone else that I was a binger until I went to a 12-step program. Another thing I did to protect myself was to somehow blind myself from seeing how big I really was in the mirror. It seems a little crazy but it’s all about what we can and cannot handle dealing with or admitting to ourselves. It’s not as simple as it seems.

  26. Avatar Wendy Howard says:

    Nine hundred calories a day is much too low. No doctor would recommend such a low calorie diet.

  27. Avatar Angie says:

    This is not a myth. I would eat a kiwi per day and not lose weight. I have tried not eating many times and it never worked. Maybe it works to not gain weight, but not everyone loses weight by not eating enough. When I lost weight it was because I was eating a lot of food actually. I was folllowing a healthy diet and working out instead of depriving myself. It’s just very hard for me to eat as much as my professional tells me to eat, according to my height and weight. I do not have much of an apetite. Anyhow, this is no myth though I can’t explain why.

  28. Avatar Walt Corey says:

    That’s one of the more a****** comments I’ve heard in a very long time. I’ve never advocated eating 1500 calories in one sitting I’m not sure where you got that from. Certainly where studies published is important like for instance if it’s published on your website it’s probably not important if it’s published by NIH it probably is important if it’s peer reviewed it’s probably important. Just so you’ll know I don’t single source anything. By the way high protein gets turned into the equivalent of high carb it doesn’t get stored, it gets converted, unless of course you’re a bodybuilder in which case it will get turned into muscle.

    • Avatar Renee Elsen says:

      Walt Coney, if high protein gets turned into high carb does that mean it then turns into fat?

      • Avatar Walt Corey says:

        That’s a good question. Logically, it would stand to reason, yes…if. The body does no store protein so you’d have to eat an awful lot of it. Carbs are converted to glycogen and excess glycogen is converted to fat. While I don’t have an alternative theory I’d have to conclude you are correct. The countervailing issue is only excess glycogen is converted to fat so for that to happen you’d have to really gorge yourself. A healthy metabolism would raise your REE to counteract.

        • Avatar Kate says:

          I am not a doctor, not a scientist, but it seems to me that your logic is not quite on the money. From what I understand, after intense reading, being overweight for over 40 years, living with diabetes, kidney disease, and going through preparation for gastric sleeve surgery, it seems to me that too much protein does not necessarily end up being converted to carbs and ‘healthy’ energy. It makes the kidneys and liver work too hard and causes serious problems health wise. Truly healthy weight loss does NOT work the same for all those who want change their health, whether it is 10 pounds, or 200 pounds that need to be shed. Anyone who says to someone else–“you are wrong, or you are in denial if you say you are under eating, or you don’t know what you are talking about”…..yada yada yada, is not helping that person reach their goals. I lost 100 pounds preparing for and then after surgery. I was surprised by some things I changed and how well they worked, other things have surprised me that they didn’t work. I reached a plateau and began some back sliding into old, bad habits of eating certain things that got me in this situation to begin with. Now, after a year and a half, I have to apply what I know works and what doesn’t–based upon what I learned about MY body works. My A1c has dropped from 7.2 to 5.5, and has remained there for 9 months. My kidney function has stabilized at 55% . But I am not getting enough protein to make my surgeon happy, and my muscles for that matter. I am in danger of osteoporosis if I don’t fix that. I have been eating less than 1400 calories a day, simply because I cannot eat much more than 3/4 cup of anything at any one time. Which is not a bad thing, unless I consume that 3/4 cup as pretzels or fritos, instead of a good quality protein, quality carbs and fats. That is how it has to be done. But, reading some of these comments, I can see why many people struggle when they listen to people who say there is only one way to lose weight. Because that isn’t how it works.

  29. Avatar Roberta Rogers says:

    Every one is in denial all you have to do is read the comments . Cut sugar and salt and eat clean not so hard to do you will have sugar withdraw for a week but you get over it. MODERATION IS KEY. 64 LBS OFF FOR ME

  30. Avatar Vikki says:

    I look at my body as a machine, point blank. When you don’t not feed one component what it needs to flourish, then it pulls it from another and so on and so on. You can say that’s not how it works but we all know it is. So, if you don’t eat enough to sustain your body’s need to do basic functions then something has to be shut down in order for your organs, your muscles, even your brain to keep functioning on what you have given it. So if you don’t eat, your body stops pulling things from storage and starts storing even more to keep you moving. Not rocket science really.

  31. Avatar Shaye Salazar says:

    “Smaller deficits (think 250–500 calories) are often all you need to see longer-term weight loss.”

    I don’t understand this statement. Is this deficit per day or per week? How are you supposed to track what your deficit is? Does that mean I’m supposed to be burning off 250-500 calories a day to see results? Or burning off all 1,200 calories a day that I eat PLUS an extra 250-500 calories?

    So for example, I normally I eat 1,200 calories a day and track my steps so I know how many minutes a day I walk, usually 72 minutes, totaling around 300-350 calories burned. On top of that I do pilates, which MFP doesn’t really have as an exercise so I don’t input it. It probably burns another 200-500 calories depending on my workout. That’s 500-550 calories in general that I burn a day when I eat 1,200 calories. Does anyone else understand my confusion? I have lost some weight but seem to be stuck. Perhaps I’m not exercising enough to create a deficit?

  32. Avatar LowEnd31st says:

    Holy crap. Never before have I seen so much nonsense broscience and mythology in one thread… You should all be ashamed

  33. When I first began, I developed a rash. Doc said it was my body reacting to me ingesting too few calories. I went overboard with calorie restriction. So, if your skin breaks out, maybe you aren’t eating enough calories.

    • Avatar Walt Corey says:

      Thank you for sharing that. The precise same thing happened to me. I went to a dermatologist but he said nothing on that subject, just prescribed some ointment.

  34. Avatar Jessica Still says:

    Well said C2!

  35. Avatar zizi Newton says:

    I don’t believe any of that. I gain some weight when I eat too much. Then I eat less to lose the extra pound or two. Immediately the weight drops. One year I gained 8 pounds and was devastated. I was determined to drop them. So I ate less than usual. My weight went back to the same as when I was in high school. I am as slim as a fashion model. To me, the good and easy way is EATING LESS.

  36. Avatar Bostonyankee says:

    This will be my first time ever writing in a diet discussion, so for me this post by the author made sense. I lost over 3 months 37 pounds, and go back and forth over the last 90 days 1-3 pounds but no additional weight loss and frustrating as you can well imagine. I am 68, 5’11 currently 258 and have been eating less than 1600 calories daily. Healthy food choices and working out 3-5 days per week. I have been dealing with issues like constipation, moodiness, tired, so I am going to assume I am under eating on calories am I am assuming to much here. !

  37. Avatar Sam American says:

    I had the hardest time battling weight loss because I would eat 1500, 1800, 2000 calories what ever each diet told me was appropriate. I would work out. I would never get anywhere in reduction, I would maintain but not reduce.

    About 2 years a go I started fasting once a week for 2 days and eating much smaller higher protein and fat diet during non fasting days. My calories are typically 1200 per non fasting day, maybe 800 to 900 as I taper before my 2 days fast and after (don’t feel hungry after 1 1/2 days actually have to make myself eat again). I still do light workout while fasting and take special vitamins. But I discovered even as a bigger guy that my metabolism was really low, and if I wanted to lose weight I would have to put myself into near “starvation mode” – so many folks scare you that it causes you to store fats like hibernation. for some of us we need to really cut calories a lot or its 10 to 15 pounds every few years at “normal” calorie levels.

  38. Avatar Daniel Rine says:

    Hi Name is Daniel. I live in a nursing home. I had a stroke back in 2010. I now live here. I work out in our gym 3 times a week. My works are heavy in nature. I walk almost everywhere I go in here. Using a walker. The food we have here is a problem, it is made of processed material. Sense using My Fitness Pal, I have lost about 14 pounds. My goal is 155-160 pounds. I find it becoming harder and harder to eat a well balanced diet here.
    Does any one have ideas on what I should do to eat better and safely? Thank you

  39. Avatar Chris Ward says:

    Swelling in the lower limbs, such as your lower legs, ankles and feet is another big sign of undereating or rather malnutrition.

  40. Avatar Sue Ward says:

    I’m surprised anybody is peddling this nowadays. Stop worrying about calories, try fasting and when you do eat make it low carb moderate protein high fat. I’ve lost 28lbs since 13 July on this regimen. I fast for 20 hours every day I really fast with a few it’s or a piece of cheeethen eat a delicious healthy homemade dinner. I’m fitter thinner and more alert than I’ve been in years.

  41. Avatar Damo says:

    Each one of these is a myths.

    Having less calories doesn’t make you tired. Actually it makes you awake and alert. By eating fewer calories, you are “hunting” for your next meal constantly. Think of the lion. What does he do after eating? Takes a multiple day map.

    I agree with the second one–too few carbs certainly can cause crankiness. But that is carbs, not calories. If your calories already come from carbs, it isn’t a problem.

    Constipation isn’t a problem, as long as the few calories you do get are from high fiber foods. And if you aren’t eating enough to go to the bathroom everyday, that isn’t constipation.

    The last one is ridiculous and shouldn’t even be entertained.

  42. Avatar Jason Langdon says:

    If self-preservation mode or starvation mode where such a thing, there would be no starving children in the world. How does a page that is dedicated to fitness allow false information like this to get published? All this does is lessen the credibility of the website.

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