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to not understand 'You have not eaten enough to lose weight'?

(20 Posts)
FagButt Sat 17-Sep-11 14:08:16

I cannot get my head round this.

Surely if you do not eat, your body will start to use the fat build up, for energy and therefore you will lose weight? Similarly anorexics etc who live on an apple a day are positively skeletal.

Does not make sense.


thisisyesterday Sat 17-Sep-11 14:13:03

the less you eat the slower your metabolism becomes. i think.
so you need to eat stuff to keep your metabolism going.

obviously if you starve yourself you will lose weight eventually, but it doesn't happen that quickly

aldiwhore Sat 17-Sep-11 14:13:20

Long term, eating nothing will make you lose weight, but in the short term if you don't eat enough your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat.

I've recently lost two stone, and have noticed that when I am consistent, my weight loss is greater. When I skip meals or don't eat enough, my weight loss is lesser.

Consistency is key. Regular food, the right food, the right amount.

Obviously if you undereat for long enough your body can't function on starvation mode as you'll start using the stored fat just to function.

I'm not an expert, but that is my experience.

Last week I maintained (at fat club weigh in) and I believe it was largely due to not eating enough, regularly enough (due to killer toothache). The week before I lost 4lbs, eating healthily, eating regularly, and not eating massive portions.

illbedamned Sat 17-Sep-11 14:17:32

hmmm when my eldest childrens dad left me I was that upset and stressed that I just didnt eat properly. I lived on a fried egg butty in the morning and not much else and I would go 2 or 3 days without eating. I lost weight very quickly in fact I lost nearly 2 stone in 2 months

purpleturtle Sat 17-Sep-11 14:21:08

I may be wrong, but your weightloss was probably to do with the stress as much as the lack of food.

Avinalarf Sat 17-Sep-11 14:22:42

You can starve yourself for a few days/weeks, and sure, you'll lose weight. But you won't be able to keep it up. So why not do it in a sensible, sustainable way? Its not rocket science, is it?

fatlazymummy Sat 17-Sep-11 14:27:17

Of course you will lose weight if you starve yourself. The only problem is it won't just be fat, it will also be some lean tissue and water. I think slimming clubs and advisors say this because they don't want to be responsible for people going on crash /very low calorie diets and giving themselves long term health problems.

aldiwhore Sat 17-Sep-11 14:27:35

I think there are other factors as well, metabolism, activity etc etc.,

illbedamned your experience is as valid as mine... bodies are funny things eh? When I was in my two skinny years of life I worked in a bar and lived on kebabs, beer, chips and anything fatty, I didn't put on weight!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 17-Sep-11 14:29:02

People who crash diet will tell you that they lose a lot of weight Week 1, 2 or even 3 but that, after that, they 'stall'. The body adapts to very low calorie intake, uses energy much more slowly and the dieter will find weight-loss very slow once that happens. Most give up there and then, eat normally, and the body - now using energy very slowly - piles the weight back on in double-quick time. The classic 'yo-yo' effect.

There is a 'sweet spot' deficit between 'cals in' and 'cals out' for effective weight-loss which is about 500 cals per day. Mostly achieved by eating less but also by exercising more. And even if you stick to this, your body will gradually adapt. Many dieticians will recommend a 'metabolism boost' every month or so.... eating more for a day.

FagButt Sat 17-Sep-11 14:30:10

I know it is not rocket science Avina. I am not dieting (should do though) it was more of try8ing to understand that you do not lose anything if you do not eat.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 17-Sep-11 14:40:32

You will lose weight eventually if you don't eat. However, it will take a long time and, as someone said above, lean tissue will be lost as well as fat so the person ends up very weak and ill rather than 'slender'. People suffering from anorexia nervosa can survive for quite lengthy periods on starvation rations and it can be a surprisingly long time before they reach a dangerously low weight. No-one's quite sure why the body responds that way but it's believed to be a survival mechanism that we're all pre-programmed with to help us get through famines.

wibble1 Sat 17-Sep-11 15:39:00

If it was that easy, dieting would be a lot more straightforward! smile

My understanding is that you can't trick your body like that - it knows what it needs and will work against you. Deprived of food, it will prioritise the conservation of fat stores to keep you alive.

The only way to lessen the proportion of fat in your body is to eat in moderation and do sufficient exercise so that, overall, you burn off slightly more calories than you eat. This encourages your body to sacrifice the fat deposits to meet the shortfall in energy requirements. I'm sure this is a very dumbed down explanation but I think it's correct?

EricNorthmansMistress Sat 17-Sep-11 16:04:58

Crash diet = lose weight quickly as your body uses fat stores for energy. After a period of time the body starts to retain fat stores and burn muscle for energy instead. This is because in famine fat stores are more important than muscle as they keep you alive longer. Your metabolism will slow down at this point and every spare calorie you eat will be converted to fat. You will end up with a slow metabolism and less muscle mass and find it difficult to lose fat. That is why crash dieting is a bad idea.

illbedamned Sat 17-Sep-11 16:24:10

It probably was stress too, I remember I was knocked for six at the time, for months and I really didnt want to eat. Everytime I ate I felt sick.

I did keep the weight off for months, well until I got pregnant with dd2 and after dd3 well that period of being thin is a distant memory.

I'm starting weightwatchers this week but I know I'm gonna struggle to lose weight, I just feel hungry all the time when I purposely try to diet.

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Sat 17-Sep-11 18:14:02

Diets like Lighter Life and the Cambridge diet wouldnt work if this "eating less stops you losing weight" were true grin

activate Sat 17-Sep-11 18:25:17

diets like lighter life and cambridge make you more prone to put on more weight when trying to resort to normal eating though

KatyMac Sat 17-Sep-11 18:30:09

In Scandinavia they have been doing a lot of proper research on this; it seems protein is a trigger, not in an Atkins way tho'. It's to do with famine & feast.

If you have a balanced diet with lots of protein then your body thinks it is feast so it doesn't lay down fat.

If you reduce the protein too far, your body thinks famine and converts everything available into fat

I think, if I remember the documentary right

MangoMonster Sat 17-Sep-11 20:04:51

Depends on how much you eat and over what period of time. Your body can go into starvation mode and hold onto fat. Really depends on the person. But there is scientific truth to it.

working9while5 Sat 17-Sep-11 21:06:00

Also, diets don't work. People can lose quite a lot of weight but for the overwhelming majority, it will go back on again. Maybe not straight away, but the recidivism rate is HUGE, there is no diet that has a very good evidence base etc and it is believed that a body that has been starving lays down (and holds onto) fat faster following a prolonged low calorie diet because it assumes once the caloric intake goes up that it is "feast" time to prepare for the next famine, if that makes sense?

The irony is that most fat people will have spent FAR MORE time in their life eating a low calorie diet than naturally thin people, yet many look and say "oh, they just lack willpower", "they need to just DO IT", "it's simple" etc. The research evidence, however, is crystal clear that it is not easy and not a simple equation of reducing caloric intake.

I grew up in a house of obese people and I have seen it in action. They starve and starve for months, shift a few pounds or even stone and then it all piles back again. Plus more. I am about 7lbs overweight since having my baby but I am like a string bean in comparison to my family and believe me, starving yourself is a recipe for laying down TONS of weight. The worst regain always happened after radical diets e.g. Cabbage Soup and other very low calorie diets.

I never dieted before I was in my early twenties and then I did to lose some cosmetic pounds (to go from, say, a BMI of 22.5 to a BMI of 20). Worst mistake I ever made, it reset my natural "resting" weight to about a BMI of 24.

I am seriously thinking about giving up dieting because I really think, long term, starving yourself leads to WEIGHT GAIN vs weight loss. And misery.

Theala Sat 17-Sep-11 21:18:39

The only thing I ever got from dieting was miserable.

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