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Moderators: melkor

starvation mode and working out

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from what i have read about a lot of the members' bodies in starvation mode is that they cut back on working out to repair their metabolism, how can that work?  exercise rises the metabolism, no?  even if you are in starvation mode or your metabolism has slowed down, shouldn't the more exercise that better?

I just hope someone can clarify that with me. Thanks!
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Going into starvation mode is counterproductive in every sense. Yes you do burn off more calories the more muscle you have, the more exercise you do but starving yourself depletes muscle. You should never try and starve yourself in any case!

i don't mean by starving oneself.  i mean why cut back on exercising when you're in starvation mode?  isn't exercise going to raise the metabolism?
 Not the way you think - increasing exercise while undereating will increase muscle catabolism and the rate of muscle loss. 

 There is a specific biological limit to how much energy can be liberated from your body's fat stores in a day, exceeding this means immediate, systemic loss of muscle tissue as that's the only other possible source of energy for your body. Starvation mode, starvation response mode, metabolic slowdown or conservation mode are all diferent names for this systemic loss of muscle tissue due to excessive calorie restriction that brings your calorie needs in line with your reduced intake.

 Also, many of the ones cutting back on exercise suffer from the specific eating disorder known as exercise bulimia, and one aspect of recovery from disordered eating is to stop the compulsive behavior, whether that's binging and purging, starvation, or compulsive exercise.

 All of which leads to the conclusion that when exercise+calorie restriction is the problem, the answer is to both ease up on the calorie restriction and the calorie expenditure until your body has re-established a normal equilibrium.

i would listen to this one-- give some exercise a break-- esp the cardio-- i am still in starvation mode - and can't give it up- the restricting or the over-exercise- i tried for a week or so & gave up- it was toooo difficult for me to see the scale go up & up when i added in more kcals-- but believe me- i know i am paying a price as i lose muscle and gain fat-

i know i have to seek help at this point- when i can't stop running & spend 4-5 hours a day at the gym & lift at home in addition on only around 700-1000 kcal a day- i have issues- and it gets worse when you are in starvation mode bc you start getting 'fat' vs muscle-- believe me- i have my body fat tested religiously & my trend is now raising fat vs muscle.

i'm going to my dr friday to discuss this-- i just can't stop not eating & over-exercising so take care of it NOW before you end up like me!

What melkor said is right completely but I just wanted to add that if you are in starvation mode yourself cut out cardio for a while. I do LIGHT strength training right now while I'm recovering from anorexia and nothing more. Don't want to loose muscle do we?

About the starvation mode thing....


It happens on a biological level where your body uses up it's glucose first as energy, because it's readily available. Then when that is gone a hormone called glutagone (spelling) is released into your body telling your body to swith off of glucose and start using your body's own protein (because it's the fastest one to break down into glucose and if your exercising your body wants the fastest source of fuel it can get). Eventually your body will start burning the fat in starvation mode (it would take at least 2 hours of activity) but it will use other "easier" sources first and you don't neccessarily want that.

Glucose is essential for brain function so your body is really smart about getting it from other sources when it needs too.


Hope all that made sense. I just learned about this in Bio-Chem recently.


I have to concur that everything melkor said is correct [duh!]. I used to exercise compulsively [as much as I could] while undereating and didn't lose a pound. I actually didn't start losing until I ate more. I always incorporated both strength training and [a lot of] cardio into my exercise routines, and when I was forced to cut down on the cardio for health reasons, and to gain weight, back in November, my body fat% plummeted. I mean, to a very unhealthy level. Ironically, as soon as I started up the cardio again, my body fat percentage started to rise slightly. I remember liking how my body looked when I was basically only doing light strength training, and I'm honestly considering starting that up again!

I will never understand why so many people overthink dieting so much.  Just wastes valuable time and energy...

I agree w/helpless.

I believe starving yourself might render quick painful results but the after effects are not worth it.  (loss of muscle/rapid regain).  Trust, I am a pro at starving myself for a quick fix for an upcoming event.  Part of it is that people are generally looking for instant gratification.  This weight loss is a process & a lifestyle.  Now, I make sure I eat 3 meals a day (very small portions) in a snack, staying below or on target w/my daily calorie intake.  It has been successful for me as far as losing weight fast but I do incorporate my diet w/ a daily strenuous workout schedule.  (the workout is more to release the everyday stress, lol)

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