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-   -   Exercise calorie deficit: can it put you in "starvation mode"? (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/juddd/804006-exercise-calorie-deficit-can-put-you-starvation-mode.html)

phoenix17 05-12-2013 03:41 PM

Exercise calorie deficit: can it put you in "starvation mode"?
 
I am sure this topic has come up before but I couldn't find it so please excuse me if this topic is "old" :) ...

The whole point to JUDDD as we all know (other than the activation of the SIRT1 gene) is to avoid that "starvation mode" or a slower metabolism from the usual dieting repetitive low calorie eating. With the nice weather here, I've been very active and burning plenty of calories (according to those calculators!) - enough so I would think I would EASILY see a 2 pound loss in a week. But I'm not. I barely see a pound loss. Admittedly I am one of those slow losers anyway but I can't help but wonder... so bear with me for some speculation.

If I am eating 350 DD/1900 UD (or even on bad days 500/2000) and with exercise burning 300- 800 calories in a day. So that is either negative several hundred calories or on an UD it is about 1100 but combined over 2 days it is potentially quite low. Can this deficit shut down my metabolism in to that dreaded "starvation mode?"

I was thinking about this again reading a few of the threads from my fellow slow losers. I see most are very active - lots of exercise and keeping to the strict calories - so why so slow? Could it be the exercise? On a strict diet I tried some time ago (Medifast) they actually recommended NOT exercising strenuously on the diet for this same reason.
Should we eat more on our exercise days? or actually use the JUDDD calculator as recommended with the level of exercise that is appropriate? I know most of us just default to "light or no exercise" in our calorie calculations.

I am interested in hearing the opinions of the JUDDD BUDDDs here and anyone else who cares to chime in.

Yennie 05-12-2013 03:45 PM

To account for exercise or not on the JUDDD calculator

phoenix17 05-12-2013 03:49 PM

Thanks Yennie! now why couldn't I find this so easily? :dunno:

Carly 05-12-2013 04:05 PM

The human body is meant to be active. I believe we adapt very readily to exercise and being physically active. I am one who does not feel that it is a good idea to add calories to off set physical activity. I don't think the body burns the amount that we or online caculators suggest we burn. The body is awesome at conserving (that's how we got overweight to begin with). Unless someone is in rigorous training for a marathon or iron man I don't think there is a need to add calories for physical activity. Some people notice a stall when starting exercise, but I believe that is from muscle gain rather than a calorie issue. I may be unpopular for saying this, but I don't believe starvation mode happens really quickly or to most generally health Americans. People in 3rd world countries are actually starving and they are very thin, we throw the term starvation mode around very casually and I'm just not convinced it's a problem for most of us. I don't believe that 2 DD in a row is unhealthy for most people now and then, but I think it may be unpleasant and may lead to over eating so I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm very skeptical about starvation mode. This was very long, but I hope it was helpful.

Yennie 05-12-2013 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenix17 (Post 16421472)
Thanks Yennie! now why couldn't I find this so easily? :dunno:

LOL, if/when you read it, you'll notice I posted what could be considered a mini-thesis. Therefore I knew it existed, what it was called & exactly how to search for it.
NBD, that's what the linking feature is for! Happy to help out. :)

tofucheez 05-12-2013 05:37 PM

Carly-

I wholeheartedly agree...and I, too, have felt that my opinion on the matter was not a very popular one. I really don't believe we burn off what we're "told" we do. If that were the case, I could eat like Shaquille O'Neil and not gain (ok, not that far, but I'm really active....I exercise a lot, but I'm also always moving throughout my day).

Though I admit that sometimes (read: always) I wish I could eat like a linebacker and not look like one!

Carly 05-12-2013 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tofucheez (Post 16421574)
Carly-

I wholeheartedly agree...and I, too, have felt that my opinion on the matter was not a very popular one. I really don't believe we burn off what we're "told" we do. If that were the case, I could eat like Shaquille O'Neil and not gain (ok, not that far, but I'm really active....I exercise a lot, but I'm also always moving throughout my day).

Though I admit that sometimes (read: always) I wish I could eat like a linebacker and not look like one!

Yes, well, that is like how in my mind I'm 5'8" and 110lbs and then I remember I'm barely 5'2" and not 110lbs... Therefore my UDs are 1500 and change and I need 2 DDs each week under 300 to maintain this weight regardless of how active I am or am not during a given week. My heart thanks me when I get extra activity in, but my waistline doesn't care if I was on my elliptical once or 10x. My waistline only cares that I had my 5 UDs around 1500 and 2 DDs under 300 if I want to stay my current weight.

tofucheez 05-12-2013 05:52 PM

For me, exactly. I exercise diligently because it's good for me....but the only thing that affects the chub is what goes in my mouth (or doesn't).

btw, I'm speaking about ME, personally. No offense meant to anyone here if your experience is different.

Carly 05-12-2013 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tofucheez (Post 16421598)
For me, exactly. I exercise diligently because it's good for me....but the only thing that affects the chub is what goes in my mouth (or doesn't).

btw, I'm speaking about ME, personally. No offense meant to anyone here if your experience is different.

Same goes for me... This has been my experience and that the only one I have.

KeirasMom 05-12-2013 06:08 PM

I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately and have been researching TDEE, BMR, etc. I see a lot of people having really good results eating at TDEE -20%, with their exercise calories figured into it. I'm beginning to think, at least for some people, they NEED the extra calories if they're going to exercise. My recommendation would be to try it both ways and see what works best for you. I'm currently eat around and OVER my maintenance calories from the JUDDD calculator without exercise, and I'm exercising pretty hard at least 2 days per week. I'm also doing 5:2, so I'm having fewer DDs than JUDDD allows, and I'm maintaining well. We're all so different. If you've (the proverbial "you" not actually "you") been JUDDDing for a month or more and want to experiment, I say go for it. I always recommend giving the plan at least a month without tweaking to see how it works first.

Yennie 05-12-2013 06:41 PM

Ok, Dawn, sorry to be dense but what's TDEE?
I think, in the case of maintenance, you might be able to eat more to account for some or all of the exercise calories and maintain. But in my experience - again, mine - I don't lose even with strenuous exercise. If I want to lose, I need to watch what goes in my mouth. I haven't exercised much since starting JUDDD but as I have a 1/2 marathon coming up I suppose I'll have to start soon. I've been afraid to start in case it causes a stall but I should because I suspect I'd see changes that wouldn't make a stall on the scale make me freak out mentally.
Although who the heck knows what will make me freak out mentally... ;)

KeirasMom 05-12-2013 08:10 PM

TDEE is Total Daily Energy Expenditure. (IIRC). It's calculated with several variables factored in, including BMR and activity level. Google Scooby's Workshop for more info and a good calculator.

Yennie 05-12-2013 08:34 PM

Thanks! I'm going to check that out.

calichris 05-12-2013 11:55 PM

I really want to write about this, but it's too late to do it justice! I lean toward the possibility that an exercise/diet balance could be important for some of us. I can envision someone eating little enough and burning off enough calories a day that it would be possible to put the body under a kind of stress that could negatively affect weight loss. Michael Mosely's Horizon episode on exercise shows that different people's bodies actually respond to the same exercise in different ways, so I think that all that really matters is finding what works for each of us individually. As in so many things, it may or may not be what works for someone else. :)

SlowSure 05-13-2013 02:04 AM

I'm fascinated by this topic. First off, I should state that although we know some interesting bits of data and there's some helpful knowledge about nutrition, metabolism, exercise, immunology and other related aspects, I firmly believe that in 30-40yrs or so, we'll be dismissive of our current ignorance and find it hard to believe that some things (TDEE, BMR, calories etc.) were accepted as conventional wisdom.

Up until early March, I cycled 40-70km a day on working days and sometimes a longer ride for leisure at the weekend, plus the kayaking. I didn't include this activity/exercise in my JUDDD calculations: I plateaued after 3 weeks of re-starting JUDDD in January and continued there until the potato hack.

Day 4 of the potato hack, I completely ran out of energy in a way that's never happened before and I was so cold that I had to wrap myself in a survival blanket to complete my trip. I stopped cycling during the hack and I'm still not as the Leptin Reset programme advises against exercise until you're showing signs of leptin sensitivity. (I still visit the gym x1 a week for brief weight training and I kayak but neither of those involve prolonged exertion.)

Unlike when I was cycling, I'm still losing weight (achingly slowly, of course, but still losing).

phoenix17 05-13-2013 04:52 AM

Christina that is a good reminder about that Michael Mosley show - although he only had himself as an example on the show, the point is we all burn calories differently (assuming the theory supporting the test were correct of course). And I've thought about a couple of other explanations as well - muscle weighing more than fat (although I highly doubt I am building all THAT much muscle), muscle repair causing more water retention, etc.

Dawn - I will definitely look up the TDEE calculations.

So Yennie and SlowSure -you are both saying that exercise has slowed or stalled weight loss. Why is that? That's what's bugging me :confused: it won't keep me from exercising of course but dammit I am ready for this fat loss to speed up the way it seems to for some people. (I need a little emoticon that shows green with envy)

I suppose I am always just looking for an explanation as to WHY some people on here will drop weight like crazy just by doing the same exact calorie restriction that I am doing whereas if I can lose a pound a week I'm ecstatic!! For me, dieting without exercising is even more slow and but I agree with what many others have said - exercise makes me FEEL good so that is why I keep up with it.

Thanks for the conversation JBs, I love this board. I learn something new every day.

zipp2play 05-13-2013 05:24 AM

Over many years I tried to out exercise my eating. Several years ago I was running all the time with 3 weight routines (3 hours) weekly. It was not unusual for me to run 40+ miles a week. 3 short runs and a long run on the weekend. It didn't matter, I ate right at 1800c and I lost nothing! Not 1 single pound. I can tell you, for me, it is what I put in my mouth. I can't out run or exercise away ANY calories. Also, unless you are on a heart rate monitor spec'd for you, the "calculators" for calories burned are not even close. Now I am still active so in my calorie figuring I am at the 1st level of exericse, the one just above No exercise.

I have enjoyed reading all of these post. It could definitely be a YMMV situation.

Flossyliz 05-13-2013 05:46 AM

I've noticed that many of the JBs who complain about slow weight loss also seem to exercise a lot. Maybe my misperception of course!!

I can't exercise because of health reasons, so I can definitely say that you can lose weight with JUDDD without actively trying to burn off the calories.

If you like exercising, then go for it - but I get the impression that doing it to lose weight often seems to be a waste of energy.

Something occurred to me as I wrote that!
JUDDD effects healing in our bodies. Our bodies need energy to heal.
In fact, if we're fighting an infection, our bodies do their best to immobilise us, maybe even removing our appetite to conserve energy!

Ultimately it's about finding what works for each of us but there has to be some kind of balance that allows the body to do its thing.

SlowSure 05-13-2013 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenix17 (Post 16421933)
So Yennie and SlowSure -you are both saying that exercise has slowed or stalled weight loss. Why is that? That's what's bugging me :confused: it won't keep me from exercising of course but dammit I am ready for this fat loss to speed up the way it seems to for some people...
...For me, dieting without exercising is even more slow and but I agree with what many others have said - exercise makes me FEEL good so that is why I keep up with it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zipp2play (Post 16421965)
...It was not unusual for me to run 40+ miles a week. 3 short runs and a long run on the weekend. It didn't matter, I ate right at 1800c and I lost nothing! Not 1 single pound.
...It could definitely be a YMMV situation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flossyliz (Post 16422004)
If you like exercising, then go for it - but I get the impression that doing it to lose weight often seems to be a waste of energy.

Something occurred to me as I wrote that!
JUDDD effects healing in our bodies. Our bodies need energy to heal.
In fact, if we're fighting an infection, our bodies do their best to immobilise us, maybe even removing our appetite to conserve energy!

Agree with all of the above. I'm going to try and explain why but my major points are:
  • public health advice is applied to a whole population but sometimes has limited application to the individual because of our tremendous variation;
  • it's surprising what we still don't know and that makes the hard and fast wisdom about fat loss more like 'generally useful guidelines'.

TMI follows which (for me) boils down to, "There's an awful lot that is still unknown. It's plausible that for some people, their metabolisms are inflamed when they are shedding their fat stores and they actively try to keep rebuilding them in case they're needed at a later date. It's possible that the immune sysem effects of exercise contribute to or complicate this. Nobody knows why it's possible for moderate-intensity exercise to somehow involve no drop in body weight or fat loss in the event of a calorie deficit. Our bodies are fascinating and far more than simple in-out tubes that can be described with current equations".

Our fat repositories are far more than a storage mechanism, they also function as an independent contributor to our immune systems as well as a key part of our overall immune system:
  • I'm tempted to say irritatingly, but I actually mean that in an intriguing and probably overall good way, our fat and gut contribute to our mood through endo/cannabinoids;
  • based on research over the last 20 years or so, endocannabinoids and cannabinoids seem to be pretty active at the intersection of the body's various systems, facilitating or mediating communication and coordination between their respective cell types. Eg, where there's an injury, cannabinoids will effectively be instructing the messengers calling for help from the injured tissue that they should take a chill pill because they've been heard. They'll dissuade nearby immune cells from continuing to respond with the release of pro-inflammatory substances.
  • the endocannabinoid system is not well understood and research is probably nowhere near comprehending it but it is said to be a dense network which influences our immune system, nervous system, and our body's organs. Journal papers about it tend to have a section where they speculate that its possibly a mechanism that explains how our emotional states influence health or disease. (Who knows if this will be validated or debunked in the future.)
  • whether we are gaining or losing body fat, amongst many other consequences, we have a response that involves our immune system and a complex interplay of promoting inflammation or decreasing inflammation;
  • you can lose body fat but it won't show up for some time because it might have created an inflammatory response in some tissue;
  • you can lose fat from your fat tissue but it can end up being stored as liquid droplets in your liver rather than disposed of (for various fascinating reasons);
  • we do have research that demonstrates that some people just don't lose weight with moderate-intensity exercise - grand though it is for their cardiovascular or emotional health;
  • nobody has a decent explanation as to this notional violation of how this additional calorie expenditure can be expended without raiding our 'calories in' or our fat depots (unless it is that our present scanning/evaluation techniques don't distinguish some degrees of inflammation from fat tissue).

I do have references for most of the above but they're not straightforward to read. Eg: Sun K, Kusminski CM, Scherer PE. Adipose tissue remodeling and obesity J Clin Invest. 2011 Jun;121(6):2094-101. doi: 10.1172/JCI45887 (this is notable for the cheery/intriguing observation: "There are therefore remarkable similarities between adipose expansion and growth of solid tumors, a phenomenon that presents both an opportunity and a challenge, since pharmacological interventions supporting healthy adipose tissue adaptation can also facilitate tumor growth") ;
Johnson NA, Sachinwalla T, Walton DW, et al. Aerobic exercise training reduces hepatic and visceral lipids in obese individuals without weight loss. Hepatology. 2009;50(4):1105–1112.

And none of the over-detailed response above begins to deal with the notion of whether our current understanding of calories is correct and how we may well be extracting different amounts of calories and nutrients from them. Etc.

Flossyliz 05-13-2013 06:52 AM

Thank you, learned friend.
Very interesting!!

SlowSure 05-13-2013 07:09 AM

I'm going to toss this in because it's fascinating and not because I have any instinct at all as to how this will play out in future research.

Robert Fogel's Escape from hunger and premature death is an intriguing book. It is written from the viewpoint of a socioeconomic historian and provides a wide-ranging discussion of socioeconomic status, height, nourishment, illness, premature death and how these are tied in to both an individual and national sense of health and increased productivity that can lead to further improvements (good review in pdf form).

Crudely, we didn't improve our general health or lifespans for long periods of history because it was difficult to eat enough food to allow us to fend off the multiple infections and diseases to which we were exposed on a regular basis. We are the survivors of people who had substantial enough fat stores to mount a good enough immune response to survive these regular assaults on our wellbeing. We became strong enough to have a higher physical and cognitive productivity output.

I'm mentioning this because of the observation in the above Adipose tissue remodeling paper that it's tricky to come up with a pharmaceutical intervention that cherrypicks "healthy adipose tissue adaptation" of the sort we'd all like without inadvertently also creating a helpful environment for encouraging (say) the growth spurts of indolent cancers etc.

There's also been some work that looks at (the) Emerging Role of Adipose Tissue Hypoxia in Obesity and Insulin Resistance. On the face of it, it would seem that smothering and cell death of our fat mass (in some places) would be A Good Thing, but the array of consequences from it indicate a mixed bag that, at its worse, contributes to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome etc. (to be fair, research probably hasn't yet identified its contribution to the helpful stuff).

My main point is that our immune systems are fascinating, and intricately bound up with our fat reserves so it's not reducible to a straightforward narrative of calorie restriction and weight loss and competing sources of inflammation probably affect the scales in a way that distresses us but says nothing about the overall improvement in our health/wellbeing.

ETA: Of course, none of the above even touches on 'hunger hormones' and how they're affected by our fat mass and either drive or suppress appetite and how these are influenced by exercise.

MagicBeth 05-13-2013 07:09 AM

:goodpost: SlowSure :goodpost: Flossyliz -

What a interesting Thread.


Beth

Kimmietoo 05-13-2013 07:25 AM

Thank you, SlowSure. Very interesting info!

phoenix17 05-13-2013 08:14 AM

Hmm.. SlowSure - all interesting food for thought (hope that doesn't make me gain weight - ha ha - excuse all bad jokes from me). Again excellent points made here by many.

Pretty much what it comes down to is everyone's body is in a different state of health and immune status and the nature of the foods we eat and the exercise we do including the timing of both probably all have an impact on what our body is doing. There is no easy formula for what can work for individuals. Look at how many diets there are out there and how so many people swear by them for themselves but they don't work for everyone.

The general consensus so far though seems to be that if exercise is "slowing" the downward trend on the scale, it is likely due to either an increase in muscle mass, or an inflammatory reaction to muscle repair. If we increase calories with the thought of keeping the metabolism revved, it would more likely backfire by letting our bodies burn the immediately available consumed calories and leave that fat exactly where it is in its conservative state.

I appreciate this conversation- I hope there are more contributions as it has all been very interesting and given me plenty to think about.

LoCarbGal 05-13-2013 09:11 AM

What an interesting conversation! I am impressed by my uber-smart, educated JBs who put together these thoughtful (I mean full of though, not sweet here) posts. Thank you!

calichris 05-13-2013 06:38 PM

I was hoping to do a little research into this as well (I wanted to do it for myself anyway), but sadly I don't have the time right now, so what I'd like to add to this excellent discussion is that there is no harm in experimenting. If what you're doing doesn't seem to be working and you've given it a good go, if you have carefully tracked eating at the 20% down day calories with exercising and your weight loss doesn't seem reasonable (realistically) over a longer stretch of time, such as a couple months, it might be worth a try to eat back part/all of the exercise calories and see if it helps or not. If you're already not losing well, you're not risking anything, right? That's how I look at it. :)

C'Marie 05-13-2013 11:42 PM

Wow! I'm nowhere near as informed as you all, but I have one very small point to add: Different exercises also have different reactions for different body types: I mean, some of us ADD MUSCLE very easily, with minimal effort; whereas some others of us do not, and instead - LEAN OUT quickly. Our body types, however that is even determined, can be different. Whatever mechanisms are in place in each body type, how much nutrition is contributed to the building/rebuilding process, and how "efficient" our individual bodies are all come into play. I, for instance, SWEAR that my body will extract 120 calories out of what the calculators say should be 100. I would, for sure, survive a famine.

tobelowcarber 05-14-2013 04:04 AM

Subscribing. Lots of interesting info here!

Whitlin' 05-14-2013 07:19 AM

I think sometimes we "compare apples to oranges". :)

These are 2 paths that aren't even to the same goal, really.

Ways-of-eating lead to weight control, and just one benefit is slimming.

Activity leads to fitness, and just one benefit is slimming.

There are plenty of examples out there of "all of one and none of the other" that still led to good outcomes (one of which is slimming :up: Yay!).

Whatever our way-of-eating, though, it WILL impact how fit we can become because we have to be fueled to become active. On the other hand, our activity level impacts how well we control weight because just like we learned in science class 1) "all work burns calories" but also 2) those shapely cinched-in muscles can't show up until they are fueled to get that way.

Both lead to change (happily), that impacts our caloric needs. That's why I think Dr. Johnson was right on the money with creating the activity part of his calculator.

Long before I even GET to the concept of how the scale is affected, my strength/fueling is making itself known, and that's what's going to make a huge difference in my success.

Everybody's different, but...

My own experience for my lifestyle (an exerciser, but not an athlete) is that I have success by using Dr. Johnson's "light exercise 1-3 days a week" choice in his calculator. I think if I had not used it, I might have found the diet restrictive and felt like a "failure", given up. Not just because of hunger, but because I'd have felt "low" on fuel, dragging. I'd have been unfairly criticizing the diet for that.

To answer the last part of your question, for me... ...

I also believe in alternating workout days with days of rest so my muscles can go through their recuperation cycle. So working out on my UDs happens to be convenient for me. Interestingly, it doesn't seem to matter whether I eat first or exercise first during the day. My body just seems to welcome the fueling sometime that day.

SlowSure 05-19-2013 04:03 AM

I'm still continuing with my leptin reset although I'm apprehensive that it's going to take a fair while and not proceed in an orderly fashion because I don't have anything like a regular circadian cycle (irrelevant story relating to a couple of head injuries). (I should also say that although I'm willing to run a personal experiment on this, I'm not sure it's been demonstrated that we can reset our leptin in the absence of a specific pharmaceutical rather than lifestyle intervention. I think it's possible to improve leptin sensitivity which is not quite the same.)

I'm thinking of introducing exercise back into my routine as I can't bear not cycling in this weather - there are so few months when it's a positive joy to cycle in the UK that it feels several types of wrong to pass up this opportunity. Although I will be moving back towards cycling 200-400km per week, I won't be adding back my calories.

I thought some of you might find this review interesting: An overview of the contribution of fatness and fitness factors, and the role of exercise, in the formation of health status for individuals who are overweight


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