Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: eat more vs eat less, metabolism and fat loss

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    513

    eat more vs eat less, metabolism and fat loss

    It's been my experience in the past that simply eating less makes the fat come off. But there is a cost. Your metabolism slows down.

    Now days I've been eating 1000 extra calories per day than usual, but not gaining weight. I wondered why. (Previously my calorie intake was rather low, and I'd have to cut calories down even further to lose weight.)

    And this also goes right along with what a few others asked me. They wanted to know why they were eating so little and still not losing weight.

    I think I've figured out the answer to both questions.

    When you cut your calories severely for an extended period of time, the metabolism slows down. Also, the more times you diet, the more resistant your body can become to fat loss. This can be troublesome and cause frustration.

    In order to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you burn. This still applies, even with a slow metabolism. And knowing that, one would realize that a possible solution at that point would simply be to eat even less. Surely that would work, but wouldn't be a comfortable process. Clearly there are other options. If you can find a way to keep your metabolism from dropping while dieting, you've solved the problem.

    So one thing I would argue is that in many cases people are just kidding themselves about how much they're eating vs how much they need. I've seen it with my own eyes. The person tries some sort of strategy, thinking they are doing it right, meanwhile their calories are still WAY too high and they wonder why it isn't working. It's because they aren't being realistic and they really just need to eat less.

    On the other hand, you've got dedicated dieters who have seen the results, but have eventually stalled, even though their calories are rather low. In such cases, their metabolisms are too low. The solution? Well, they could just eat even less, and it would work, but I think I have a better idea. Do what you have to do to increase or maintain the metabolism. While dieting, one could simply include 1-2 high calorie days, and that would help maintain a good metabolism. High intensity exercise also helps keep the metabolism high.

    As you can see, this idea is a lot more realistic than the fairy tales that people always tell themselves that don't work. How many times have you heard the idea to keep eating more and and more frequently in order to keep your metabolism high? I suppose it works if your only goal is to keep the metabolism high, but it isn't necessarily going to result in shedding the fat. Why? High metabolism or not, you still have to be in a calorie deficit to cause fat loss; there's no way around it.

    So, to sum things up:
    You still have to cut calories in one way or the other to lose weight. (Hopefully you've found a comfortable way to accomplish this.) You have to. There is no way around this. Unfortunately this causes the metabolism to slow down, so you have to have a way to combat this. Eating more all the time can't be the solution because it would cancel out the fact that you need to create a calorie deficit. Instead, include a few high calorie days and the problem is solved. Also, include intense exercise as well.

    I hope that clears up a few questions for anyone and possibly throws out some ideas. I know I've definitely learned something both last year and this year already. Eating less works. But eating more once in a while helps too, because it makes it so you don't have to take "eating less" to the extreme.

    Note:
    Please don't take this out of context however. Eating more to restore the metabolism is only applicable to those who have already been eating less. Everyone else needs to eat less first.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    N/A
    Posts
    981
    When you lose weight there's going to be a metabolic slowdown no matter what. A smaller body burns less calories than a larger body. A further metabolic slowdown on top of this can occur if you have been dieting too extremely but is mostly overestimated by people. It can also be mostly prevented by carb refeeds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    513
    Quote Originally Posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
    When you lose weight there's going to be a metabolic slowdown no matter what. A smaller body burns less calories than a larger body. A further metabolic slowdown on top of this can occur if you have been dieting too extremely but is mostly overestimated by people. It can also be mostly prevented by carb refeeds.
    This is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't think there is anything wrong with dieting extremely, if fat loss is needed. If anything, and this is based on the studies I have seen, (if you're of normal weight or over) eating less should actually be more healthy for you and might even help you prevent diseases and live longer.

    However, I am convinced by now that if one is dieting severely, a periodic refeed is very helpful in keeping the metabolism high. Sure, you can still continue to lose fat without it. But you'll do a lot better with the refeeds.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Delaware Valley
    Posts
    717
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripped View Post
    While dieting, one could simply include 1-2 high calorie days, and that would help maintain a good metabolism.
    When I look at people I know who have maintained a healthy weight their entire lives, they all eat this way. Most days they eat quite modestly, probably a little under their daily calorie requirement. And then when they go out to dinner or on vacation or some other random occasion, they eat more. They don't think too much about it or feel badly about stuffing themselves or feel badly about going back to eating more modestly afterward.

    Dieters call that calorie cycling or carb refeeds, but I think that's a mistake. I think it puts your head in the wrong place. It's just eating like a thin person.
    50yo, 5'3"
    SW-195
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    513
    Quote Originally Posted by LauraSB View Post
    When I look at people I know who have maintained a healthy weight their entire lives, they all eat this way. Most days they eat quite modestly, probably a little under their daily calorie requirement. And then when they go out to dinner or on vacation or some other random occasion, they eat more. They don't think too much about it or feel badly about stuffing themselves or feel badly about going back to eating more modestly afterward.
    Sure. They also fast naturally just the same, without worrying about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraSB View Post
    Dieters call that calorie cycling or carb refeeds, but I think that's a mistake. I think it puts your head in the wrong place. It's just eating like a thin person.
    I think that makes perfect sense for general long term maintenance. That's actually how I eat. And it works.

    However, for someone who needs to kick themselves in the but to diet temporarily to lose weight, it does make sense. For example, if you needed to drop 10 lbs, it might take several weeks along with making your diet a bit more strict on the calories during that time period. The strategy can still be dirt simple, but you still have to have a plan of action. And I think within such a plan, it "might" be helpful to include purposeful refeeds.

    I guess the way I see it is, strict dieting is for when you have a little bit of weight to drop. But ordinary eating is for when your just maintaining. And after all, who needs to diet? Anyone who in previous years made the mistake of getting fat. And anyone who is already in great shape and wants to show further improvements.

    I'm just saying. I agree with you. But there's also a time and place for a diet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Delaware Valley
    Posts
    717
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripped View Post
    However, for someone who needs to kick themselves in the but to diet temporarily to lose weight, it does make sense. For example, if you needed to drop 10 lbs, it might take several weeks along with making your diet a bit more strict on the calories during that time period. The strategy can still be dirt simple, but you still have to have a plan of action. And I think within such a plan, it "might" be helpful to include purposeful refeeds.

    I guess the way I see it is, strict dieting is for when you have a little bit of weight to drop. But ordinary eating is for when your just maintaining. And after all, who needs to diet? Anyone who in previous years made the mistake of getting fat. And anyone who is already in great shape and wants to show further improvements.

    I'm just saying. I agree with you. But there's also a time and place for a diet.
    You know, I think we agree completely on how to eat. I just think how you think about it is supremely important.

    In the beginning, 65+ lbs overweight, I set my budget at a 750 calorie/day deficit (theoretically 1.5 lb loss/week). That was 1400 cal/day. I chose that deficit because the calorie budget was pretty close to the budget I would have at a normal weight with minimal exercise. Most days I ate at more like at 1000 cal deficit. My "refeeds" were not deliberately scheduled. They were used to accommodate social situations that made a 1400 calorie budget a real bummer. It did work out to be about once a week though. The first 30 lbs came off at 2-3 lbs/week. Because I was using a calorie counting app that tracked my weight loss, as my weight dropped, so did my calorie budget. As I got close to 1200 cal/day, under eating on that budget started to be a real bummer. So I adjusted my deficit to 500 cal/day. Weight loss slowed, of course, but continued to be steady and I could still "under eat" most days and splurge when necessary. After another 25 lbs, I adjusted my deficit to 250 cal/day and continued with the same pattern of under eating and splurging.

    So I've spent 10 months training myself to eat like a 130 lb person who doesn't really diet, who just under eats mostly and then over eats as it's convenient. If I had focused on the whole undereating/overeating strategy as gaming weight loss, rather than trying to think like someone who had always been a normal weight, I'm not sure I'd have gotten here, and felt as comfortable as I do.
    50yo, 5'3"
    SW-195
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    . . .
    Posts
    4,540
    Great write up. Thanks Ripped!

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraSB View Post
    Dieters call that calorie cycling or carb refeeds, but I think that's a mistake. I think it puts your head in the wrong place. It's just eating like a thin person.
    Love this. Think it's the ideal attitude for gradual, long-lasting weight loss, or maintenance.
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,787
    Quote Originally Posted by Ripped View Post
    I hope that clears up a few questions for anyone and possibly throws out some ideas. I know I've definitely learned something both last year and this year already. Eating less works. But eating more once in a while helps too, because it makes it so you don't have to take "eating less" to the extreme.

    Note:
    Please don't take this out of context however. Eating more to restore the metabolism is only applicable to those who have already been eating less. Everyone else needs to eat less first.
    Thanks for posting. I am glad it was referenced in another thread or I would have missed it.

    I was chronically low I think. But I was full. And PB spells out the refeed part, but it didnt register with me - so it's totally my own fault. So now I am trying to find my groove again, and paying attention to the calories also, and trying to make sure I have some higher days. My trouble now is though, I still have trouble eating up to maintenance But I do have days higher than before, but still only on the upper end of my range for losing weight.

    But that has been easier since I switched macros around & have added in exercise. The exercise just makes me hungrier.

    A few weeks ago, I bought Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle where he discusses all this, just so I could understand it better and apply it.

    There is also this calculator that I refer to sometimes, and when I first punched in my numbers, I was still eating under the recommended calories, much less the maintenance level. But I am working on it.

    Calorie Calculator - Daily Caloric Needs
    Last edited by gopintos; 02-18-2013 at 06:25 AM.
    65lbs gone and counting!!

    Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Manhattan, NY
    Posts
    4,115
    Totally agree! I always referred to it as calorie cycling (theme of the forum today!). I mentioned in the other thread how it made losing my first 90 pounds more pleasurable. I even run a group for it on Spark People with several hundred members, haha. I think it makes perfect sense to change things up and often, including activity, fasting, etc. Variety is good and makes things interesting.
    | My (food) Blog | Follow me on Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter |

    “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    135
    How many days/weeks/months does it take of not a lot of food to affect the metabolism? If I have 10lbs to drop, and I am restricting carbs and calories, when should I consider a cal/carb refeed? After a month? A week? A day?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •