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Does starvation mode exist?

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  • Does starvation mode exist?

    I am curious to know if starvation mode exists. I work out a lot (and wrote another post about chronic cardio) yet I seem to either be gaining weight, or not losing it. Considering how much cardio I do, technically I should be losing.

    Wondering if starvation mode exists? I also want to say that I probably eat I would guess max 1500 cals a day and do 45 mins of cardio 5 times a week.

  • #2
    I would like to know more. What kind of food are you eating each day? What is the breakdown of your macros? ie % of calories from fat/protein/carbs? What intensity are each of your workouts?
    Goals:

    Lose weight/fat!
    Get fit!
    Regain my health and energy!
    Run a marathon! (again)

    Comment


    • #3
      Sure, I eat a mostly plant based diet. Breakfast usually an apple with almond butter, most days I don't have time so it's literally a coffee with some soy milk. Lunch is usually two huge sides of veggies, could be roasted brussels and kale salad, green beans and roasted carrots. Always only veggies bc eating meat for me makes me really tired at lunch, so save that for dinner a few nights a week. Dinner always roasted veggies, maybe veggie curry with some chicken, salad etc. I eat clean.

      I posted a thread that I noticed i was going over 75% of my heartrate when I work out on the ellptical and run. I usually do the elliptical but incorporate running when I can (usually 20 mins and then go back to elliptical)

      Comment


      • #4
        I am a newbie at this, but I will share my personal n=1 experiment. Unlike you, I do eat more meat, and now that I'm over 40, I found that reducing calories, eating lots of veggies, and exercising similarly to you was no longer working. My switch started as a journey to quit refined sugar and grains and transitioned very quickly to full blow HF/LC. I am in ketosis, my last blood test was 2.6 mmol/L.

        What has helped me most for energy and mood is FAT!!! I was nervous at first to increase it, but I am so glad I did. I now consume on average 2000 calories/day. I am doing cardio 4x/w at 75% or less, HIIT 1x/w, and strength 2x/w. 75% of all my calories come from fat, 20% protein, 5% carb. I am generous with olive oil and/or olive oil based dressings on my salads, butter and sauces on my vegetables, straight CO in the morning as a supplement. Of course, I also eat fatty meat. I truly believe the fat makes a huge difference. I started this path 30 days ago, and surprisingly, I have dropped 11 lbs.
        Goals:

        Lose weight/fat!
        Get fit!
        Regain my health and energy!
        Run a marathon! (again)

        Comment


        • #5
          I want to just say that I am not overweight by any means but I do notice that I have been gaining weight lately, or not even losing at all. I feel like when I eat more meat I gain weight, which is why I also started to eat a ton more veggies. I have to say I am not full on paleo, bc I will eat some rice maybe once every two weeks (with thai or chinese food only), but otherwise I really don't eat grains. I rarely eat dairy, I don't eat nuts, I rarely eat fruit, except for a few times a week for breakfast and its low sugar. I am just at a loss at this point since i technically burn 500 cals on elliptical a day.

          I want to understand on the biological level why this diet/exercise routine doesnt work, which is why I wanted to know if it is starvation mode or not. DO i need to switch to very low carb in order to see changes? I am worried that I am going to gain more weight eating more fat and protein.

          Comment


          • #6
            A couple of flags in there, "plant based diet, Soy milk, I eat clean",
            Many here would say the second and third points are not in agreement.
            What are your other stats, height, weight body shape etc., where did you come from weight wise and in what timeframe.
            IMO 2-5 years to get to relatively good health if you came from a place of poor health like most here.

            Assuming you are female, the risks in weight loss with a low cal diet closer to the edge in dietary mix would indicate you have a greater chance of downregulating metabolism, which many refer to as "Starvation Mode"

            I am a firm believer that correcting health and lifestyle will lead to appropriate weight loss, should you choose to push your body beyond the place where it is comfortable, then your body will respond with whatever adjustments it feels appropriate, it may slow metabolism, eliminate menstral cycles, stop wasting energy on non essential functions like hair growth i.e. hair falls out, etc.etc.

            Remember your brain may be in charge of your interaction with the outside world,
            but your body is in charge of what goes on within.
            "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

            Comment


            • #7
              This is anecdotal obviously, but I'm pretty sure I've experienced "starvation mode". I had a gastric bypass 8 years ago, and was losing weight at a rapid pace for obvious reasons. About 3-4 months after surgery I was eating around 800 calories a day (high protein, low carb, low fat) and at that point I had lost enough weight that my joints weren't hurting anymore, so I ramped up the exercise and started taking TaeKwonDo lessons. My weight loss, which if I remember correctly had been 4-6 lbs. a week, went to a standstill for weeks. I was baffled--why did I stop losing weight when I was exercising more? I finally put 2 and 2 together, increased my calorie intake as much as I could (mainly with protein shakes), and weight started coming off again. Just my experience, and obviously not one that most people could relate to, but I think it was a pretty clear case of starvation mode.

              Comment


              • #8
                You could be insulin sensitive. Protein can act like a carbohydrate in the digestion process, and the meats you have been eating may be very lean. I can't say if you need to go very low carb, but wonder if you do need more fat. Best sources for fat are coconut oil, olive oil, butter, lard, avocado, nuts, fatty meats, fatty fish, etc.

                A really good website to visit is The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D. The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.
                Goals:

                Lose weight/fat!
                Get fit!
                Regain my health and energy!
                Run a marathon! (again)

                Comment


                • #9
                  You don't need to go very low carb. You do need to eat an adequate amount of protein for your lean mass (samples given in the book) and stop eating inflammatory foods like soy milk or almond butter.

                  If you want to do primal as a vegetarian, you need to eat legumes (soaked, preferably fermented), dairy and eggs to get the good fats and vitamins. Apart from that, just follow the book. I lost weight eating something like primal, except I was having legume curries for breakfast each day and walking lots. Was having some dairy but had reduced it on cardiologists recommendation. No strenuous exercise at all. The weight fell off and I kept lean mass
                  Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                  Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by peril View Post
                    You don't need to go very low carb. You do need to eat an adequate amount of protein for your lean mass (samples given in the book) and stop eating inflammatory foods like soy milk or almond butter.

                    If you want to do primal as a vegetarian, you need to eat legumes (soaked, preferably fermented), dairy and eggs to get the good fats and vitamins. Apart from that, just follow the book. I lost weight eating something like primal, except I was having legume curries for breakfast each day and walking lots. Was having some dairy but had reduced it on cardiologists recommendation. No strenuous exercise at all. The weight fell off and I kept lean mass
                    I doubt that a little soymilk and once weekly almond butter is really causing inflammation in my body. Plus legume are more inflammatory always, which you eat, according to the book.

                    I just have a hard time wrapping my head around eating a ton of protein, when cultures across the globe, mainly japanese, eat very little meat, eat white rice and tons of veggies and happen to be way thinner than any of us meat eaters over here.

                    I have not had my period in about 5 years at this point, but it all started after I took some nasty drug that wrecked havoc on my body. Hormones have not been the same ever since, but I have to say that the latest test showed my levels in normal range. This has been one of the first times that I have seen it balanced, but have yet to have a natural cycle. I don't equate that to diet, since I have tried full paleo before (felt worse eating a ton of animal all the time) and still did not get my period.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by VeggieLover View Post
                      I doubt that a little soymilk and once weekly almond butter is really causing inflammation in my body. Plus legume are more inflammatory always, which you eat, according to the book.

                      I just have a hard time wrapping my head around eating a ton of protein, when cultures across the globe, mainly japanese, eat very little meat, eat white rice and tons of veggies and happen to be way thinner than any of us meat eaters over here.

                      I have not had my period in about 5 years at this point, but it all started after I took some nasty drug that wrecked havoc on my body. Hormones have not been the same ever since, but I have to say that the latest test showed my levels in normal range. This has been one of the first times that I have seen it balanced, but have yet to have a natural cycle. I don't equate that to diet, since I have tried full paleo before (felt worse eating a ton of animal all the time) and still did not get my period.
                      Soaking and fermenting legumes reduces their impact on inflammation. Besides, just offering you an alternative source of protein to meat. I rarely eat legumes now. Just showing that it is possible to lose fat while eating them.

                      As for the Japanese, they eat a lot of protein and some vegetables and rice. They may eat a small bowl of rice or noodles at the end of a meal. They don't eat rice of noodles throughout a meal. They mightn't eat a lot of red meat but they sure eat a lot of seafood and protein sources that are very rich in other nutrients. Neither do they eat lots of vegetables.

                      My last suggestion to you is to reread the book and try to adopt a strict primal protocol to address your health issues first. I don't think you should worry about fat while you suffer from amenorrhea
                      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by VeggieLover View Post
                        I doubt that a little soymilk and once weekly almond butter is really causing inflammation in my body. Plus legume are more inflammatory always, which you eat, according to the book.

                        I just have a hard time wrapping my head around eating a ton of protein, when cultures across the globe, mainly japanese, eat very little meat, eat white rice and tons of veggies and happen to be way thinner than any of us meat eaters over here.

                        I have not had my period in about 5 years at this point, but it all started after I took some nasty drug that wrecked havoc on my body. Hormones have not been the same ever since, but I have to say that the latest test showed my levels in normal range. This has been one of the first times that I have seen it balanced, but have yet to have a natural cycle. I don't equate that to diet, since I have tried full paleo before (felt worse eating a ton of animal all the time) and still did not get my period.
                        Soy is probably the worst legume by far, you may have mistaken ideas about the traditional japanese diet, you do seem fixed in your attitude towards animal protein, the reason your hormones have stabilised may well be related to something you were doing 6 months ago, that's why chopping and changing too much doesn't bode well for healing.

                        How's your basal body temp, is it low consistantly?
                        You asked for opinions that's what you got, take in the info, read some more and make informed decisions, you likely have chronic underlying conditions and you will need a concerted structured approach to heal fully.
                        "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It's unlikely you're in starvation mode at 1500cals only doing 45mins/5wk on the elliptical. That really isn't all that much. Have you considered adding in some weight training and sprints to help boost your metabolism and heal your hormonal issues?

                          A few questions that may unlock the mystery: Have you had your thyroid levels tested?
                          How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
                          How are you calculating your caloric output?
                          If you are without a period I'm guessing you have a rather low BMI? If you are using the calorie output on the machines at the gym they are total garbage. You need to go out and invest in a HRM if you really want to get fancy about calories in/out (which really isn't a good method anyway). For example, I was on the stepmill yesterday. After entering my weight into the machine at the end of the workout it said I had burned 546cals...my HRM said 220....if I used this day after day to help me determine my calorie intake I'd certainly be putting on weight. Just a thought.

                          In terms of your diet, honestly, if you are experiencing any hormonal imbalance I'd steer clear of soy in all forms. I hear what you're saying about meat consumption. It's great that you know your body. Paul Chek uses metabolic typing to help determine diet and from what you're saying it seems that you are more of a "Carb type". Have a look into it. You can easily eat primal under this model perhaps including some white rice, sweet potatoes, veggies and lean meats. Off the top of my head, I believe Chek recommends Macros for carb types to be 70% carb, 20% protein, 10% fat. This may work for you.

                          Hope this was helpful.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just have a hard time wrapping my head around eating a ton of protein, when cultures across the globe, mainly japanese, eat very little meat, eat white rice and tons of veggies and happen to be way thinner than any of us meat eaters over here.
                            Well, I was a vegetarian for years that ate low calorie and did a ton of cardio and was fat. Very fat. Obese. Yet able to run a marathon. For whatever reason, that mix would not let me lose fat.

                            Add in a ton of meat, some fat, eliminate a few things like gluten and soy... and in a bit over a year, 40 lbs of fat gone. With LESS exercise. My body needed protein, feeding it protein led to fat loss and muscle gain.

                            If you are interested in trying primal, try it. Just because the Japanese are thin and don't eat a lot of protein doesn't mean you don't need more protein. What you are probably doing is cannibalizing muscle to meet your protein needs. And being thin? Being thin means nothing. You can be thin eating 2 cans of diet coke and a snickers bar every day.

                            http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                            Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                              Well, I was a vegetarian for years that ate low calorie and did a ton of cardio and was fat. Very fat. Obese. Yet able to run a marathon. For whatever reason, that mix would not let me lose fat.

                              Add in a ton of meat, some fat, eliminate a few things like gluten and soy... and in a bit over a year, 40 lbs of fat gone. With LESS exercise. My body needed protein, feeding it protein led to fat loss and muscle gain.

                              If you are interested in trying primal, try it. Just because the Japanese are thin and don't eat a lot of protein doesn't mean you don't need more protein. What you are probably doing is cannibalizing muscle to meet your protein needs. And being thin? Being thin means nothing. You can be thin eating 2 cans of diet coke and a snickers bar every day.
                              Interesting, I wonder why on a biological level protein leads to weight loss in that case bc in theory it seems less calories equals weight loss, even through Primal you probably end up eating less calories anyways.

                              I had my thyroid checked years agao, when I took that drug. I was severely anemic, had low thyroid and no hormones. Now I am on thyroid meds, my t4 is in range but on the low end, so am starting to adjust dosing this week. i have been taking an extremely high compounded dose for years bc my body seems to have a hard time absorbing it. This could still be related to some gut issues that I have, which are slowly on the mend.

                              I am 5'6 115, would like to get back down to 110, which to me is where I naturally was for years and years. I have always been thin, so please don't just by these numbers. I feel healthiest and look my best at that weight.

                              Do I just give up all the cardio for some time and switch to low carb?

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