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Old 03-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
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Do I *need* more calories?

I have been doing phenomenal on this go round of LC - it's my eleventy billionth restart, but the first time (since the first time) that it's been truly easy. Very little craving, almost no induction flu - no frankenfoods or complicated casseroles - just lots of yummy whole foods.

I've been tracking my food since I restarted on 1/14. I lost very well for the first two months - but then about two weeks ago, I started going up and down with the same 5 or so lbs. I tried cutting out AS... then I tried cutting out dairy... nothing happened - still kept going up and down. I have since added both dairy and AS back in, because they make it possible for me to LOVE this woe. This morning was the first time in two weeks that I was finally able to move below that 5lb barrier.

I sat down and looked at my food tracker and noticed that right around the time I stopped losing steadily - I started lowering my calories. However, in the last two days, I've actually eaten more calories.

I need help from you sciency minded people. Is it possible that right now I actually need those extra calories to lose weight? Or is it more likely something else that I'm just not seeing?
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Last edited by Britt1975; 03-12-2013 at 08:30 AM..
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:24 AM   #2
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Eating too few calories can definitley cause a stall. How many are you eating a day?
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:31 AM   #3
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When you don't eat enough calories, your thyroid slows down the metabolism to compensate, and weight loss stops. There's a certain point, of course, where a caloric deficit will cause weight loss, but you'll lose lean body mass at that point, not fat.

Eating adequate calories is essential to fat loss.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:37 AM   #4
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For the first two months I was eating an average of 2100 calories per day - the last two weeks my average has been 1700 calories per day.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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When I started (re-started) three years ago at 310 pounds, I lost 30 pounds in a very short time. Then I stopped. Dead. Played around with Very-low-carb. With IF. With various calorie amounts.

I'd lost 10 percent of my body weight. From my reading, that's a fairly common "stopping point" on the journey downward.

It wasn't until I lowered my calories even more that I began losing again. Slowly. Definitely not with the exhilarating rush of those first 30. But the trend is downward and that's all I care about.

You'll need to play around with your carb and calorie goals to find the "sweet spot" that will start you losing again. For me, I had to lower my carbs below 50 (weekly average is more like 30), and calories between 1200-1500 (weekly average 1350). You may be different. But I'm HIGHLY insulin resistant (have been since High School... back in the Dark Ages), so this is just how my body works.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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no, it's not the calories. it's natural that you have some slower times. just stick with it.

the thyroid thing and all are true, but those trends happen over MANY MONTHS, not right away like that.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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I have now lost over 80 pounds in 7 months. There have been several periods that I went two weeks or so without any loss. One time I stayed the same for 5 weeks followed by a 12 pound loss the following week. I would say watch what you are doing but also remember your body needs time to recover.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Synger's experience is similar to mine, and I suspect that higher calories would be counter productive. Most often in a significant weight loss the person needs to slowly lower calories.

And the 'thyroid thing' is IMO (as a hypothyroid individual who has experience in this area) is an urban myth that has been given too much 'press' via the internet.

Tomorrow, my sister is having WLS (gastric sleeve), and in her pre-op info, they tell the WLS patients what supplements they need to take, and and I was interested to see that they prescribe something to a person with a gall bladder to prevent stone formation--because science has shown that RAPID weight loss will likely cause gallstones.

My point is that this has been proven scientifically--and they are addressing the problem. There is nothing about any effect on the THYROID because no such effect has been medically proven. Yes, there is a slight decrease in metabolism for anyone losing weight, but it is insignificant and not enough to cause a stall. Otherwise, how would WLS patients--or anorexics lose weight on about 300 cal a day?

When I began JUDDD at about 250 lbs, I was already diagnosed as hypothyroid and taking 75 mcg of Levoxyl. On JUDDD, I averaged about 900 cal a day (400/1400), often lower, as my UDs were 1200 much of the time (doctor approved; I was medically supervised). IF such low calories (and low carb, another villain in this fantasy) had a negative effect and 'slowed' my metabolism, wouldn't that have shown up in my regular blood work? Wouldn't I have needed to increase my meds at some point? Throughout my weight loss, my levels remained steady.

Because of my age and medical condition, I needed to eat far less than most people--yet I lost steadily with no effect on my thyroid.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Britt1975 View Post
I sat down and looked at my food tracker and noticed that right around the time I stopped losing steadily - I started lowering my calories. However, in the last two days, I've actually eaten more calories.
You've answered your own question really.

The issue isn't absolute calories but calorie deficit. Too much and you stall. Not enough and you stall.

It appears that 1700 is too much of a deficit and around 2000 (to 2500 I think) is the right gap for you to lose with right now.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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Dr. Julia Ross said that the thyroid quickly responds to low calories - in hours not days or weeks etc
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #11
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I have not read Dr. Julia Ross, but she is a nutritional psychologist.

I have an excellent endo (M.D.) who denies that low calorie or low carb eating has any effect on the thyroid--and his opinion is supported by modern medicine.

I have never seen a reputable scientific study cited to support this notion that the thyroid is affected in any significant way by low calories.

Certainly that isn't true in my case, as I lost close to 200lbs while eating very low calories. My thyroid (and other blood values) were checked every 4 months, and there were no negative effects to my low calorie eating. The only 'effect' that could be identified was weight loss.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #12
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it seems the higher # of calories was working for you. Enjoy it!
I have, unfortunately, found that over the years as I got smaller that I required fewer and fewer calories to lose and maintain weight, no matter how few carbs I was eating. To lose I have to stay under 1500, but ideally stick around 1200.
Right now you should be able to consume more calories and still lose, and it appears you were on the right track with 2100.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo41 View Post
I have never seen a reputable scientific study cited to support this notion that the thyroid is affected in any significant way by low calories.
I'm curious, have you looked? I haven't because thyroid issues are only of tangential interest to me. Or do you have hypothyroidism? Was your discussion with your endo general in nature or specifically about you or was the conversation about the impact of low calorie diets?
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:04 PM   #14
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I'd say who cares about the science behind it, you get to eat like 400 more calories and lose more weight. Jackpot!! Enjoy!!
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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I am hypothyroid from Hashimoto's. Both of the endos who have treated me knew that I eat low carb and very low calorie, and both highly approved.

When I began seeing comments on boards like this about the negative effects of my WOE on the thyroid, I had a very specific discussion with my endo about this issue, and he assured me that my thyroid is not negatively affected by my WOE. This is supported by the fact that my thyroid hormone levels remained steady throughout my weight loss.

Yes, eating very low calorie will affect metabolism, but although the metabolism is controlled by the thyroid, they are two very different physiological systems. And the slowed metabolism from very low calorie eating is very minor, and does not affect weight loss--as my own stats show--as well as the experiences of WLS patients who lose weight while eating very low calorie.



I'm not advocating my calorie level for others. Mine is necessitated by my own physiology and age, but there is no 'standard' for everyone. Each person has to identify the level that enables them to lose weight safely and healthily.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:26 PM   #16
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Interesting. Thank you.

[ETA] Oh, you didn't mention if you'd actively looked for a study about low calorie effects on the thyroid.
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