Weight Loss
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how many calories keeps a body in starvation mode?

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I have been eating around 1200 calories a day, but still not loosing any weight. I walk or elliptical 30 minutes a day. I was wondering how many calories keep your body in starvation mode. My hubby says there is no such thing. If my calorie intake is 1200 a day, how can I not be loosing any weight? Any ideas are welcome.

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If you work out, your body needs more calories to burn!  1200 as I believe is the bare minimum that you should intake just by living.  You can use the tools on this site to find out how much you should take in. 
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um if your body was in starvation mode, you would be losing weight
when i was consuming very little calories i lost 3 kg in abut 10 days.
it depends on the person, bgerding. since everybody requires a different number of calories per day, the level at which it is 'too low' and the metabolism slows down to suit it will be different depending on factors such as your height, weight, age, exercise, etc.

for example i burn 1600 sedentary, so i could eat 1300 calories and be fine, but a person who burns 2600 a day would find 1300 would probably put them in 'starvation mode.' because of the overly large deficit. use the tools at the top to find how many you need, 1200 may be too little.

it definitely exists. we didn't evolve all these millions of years with no protection against a lack of calories (energy). it's also evidenced by many people around here who have been eating too little, perhaps by accident.
Starvation mode is not the same as starving or aneroxia.  It is very possible to not lose weight while in starvation mode.  I have experienced this just last month.  I took in about 1300 calories while burning around 2300-2500 per day.  I lost 0lbs while doing so for 2 weeks.

After I upped my calorie to 1500-1800, I started losing again.

Here is a link to another topic that talks about starvation mode.
http://www.calorie-count.com/forums/post/1455 4.html

Edit:  Added link to similar topic.
I second babyangie!  I consumed 1330 for 5 weeks and lost ZIP ZERO NADA NOTHIN' in those 5 weeks.  I have also up'd them to 1500-1800 and am waiting to lose again.  I wish I hadnt of waisted my time.  :)  There are just to many of us on here to be wrong!

Anorexia and starvation mode are very very very different.  Starvation mode happens when you DO get food, just not enough and your body slows the metabolism down to compensate.  Anorexia is extreem and the body is starving and has no choice to use muscle and fat to keep internal organs from shutting down. 

there's a difference between STARVATION (which is what you did) and 'starvation mode.' some people prefer to call it preservation mode, which is probably more accurate. it takes a while to reach this phase.

what you did would cause initial weight loss - probably a lot of water weight, fat, maybe some useful muscle... and then an eventual stall.

you don't lose weight because all that is happening is your body adjusts to your calorie intake, to help you survive on an amount that is far too little for you. therefore, instead of burning fat like you want it to, there is just a decrease in the amount you burn to match.

Eating 400-800 is called starving yourself and aneroxia. 

I did that when I was a teenager.  I ate little to nothing everyday and exercise every chance I got.  Sure, I also lost 20lbs within 3 weeks and another 10lbs while being bulimic.  But guess what else I got?  Weak to none immune system for years.  I caught Every Single Cold that came my way.  Being sick all the time definitely wasn't fun.  There is no point being thin if you aren't healthy enough to enjoy it.
Do not listen to Uncleben, this is VERY unhealthy.  You do not want an eating disorder.  Sure you can lose quick but you can also GROW FUR.  Your body thinks you are dying basicly and you get cold because your body starts to shut down and you will actually grow fur to keep yourself warm.  That and you can get a distended gut (think starving children in africa stomach)  It is not a good thing.  Sure you are skinny but you are SICK and on the brink of DEATH.  --Sumi
You are looking at this the wrong way, starvation mode is very real and it is at a different spot for everyone because everyone has a different metabolic rate.

What is needed is a balance, you should be eating a MAXIMUM of 500-800 calories below your maintenance amount plus what you burn for exercise, to lose about 1-2 lbs per week on average.  Itā??s been medically researched to be the most effective way of losing weight without doing much harm to your body in the process.  On top of that, a man should not eat below 1500 calories and a woman, 1200 calories a day. This number is the minimum amount of calories your body needs to function (organs, brain, lungs etc.).   

So there are two lines you shouldnā??t cross, the first is eating less than 800 calories below your maintenance to keep your metabolism running, and the second is eating below 1200 (1500) calories a day, to keep your body functioning, even if that means that your deficit is less. 

If you use the tools at the top of the screen you can find out your maintenance calories and then take it from there.
I am so glad I read this topic. After losing 43 pounds I have been at a stand still burning anywhere from 2700 to 3200  calories and eating about 1500. Maybe I need more? This gives me something to think about.

Good to see you here.

The main thing is, you are not eating enough.  If I remember correctly, you do 4.5 miles roughly on the elliptical in half an hour right? According to the Activity List, that would burn anywhere between 380 - 468 calories. Those calories you need to ADD to the 1200.

The 1200 is a base line. If you did absolutely nothing but sit around all day, you would burn 1700 calories.  This site says to only eat 1200 calories thereby giving you a calorie deficit of 500. You do that seven days (500 x 7) and that equals a 3500 calorie deficit and minus 3500 calories equals minus a pound.

If you ADD your exercise (and good for you I know you work hard at it) in to the daily mix you need to feed your body additional calories; so now your minimum caloric intake should be 1200 PLUS the 380 - 468.  Or roughly 1600 plus or minus a bit.

I know you're eating healthy and drinking your water. I just think your body needs a bit more fuel. When you work hard and DON'T feed your body, it hangs on to every little bit because it doesn't know when the next time it's going to get enough is. Do you see?

Try upping your calories to 1600 - 1700 per day for two or three weeks. Let your body get adjusted.  And don't give up! We're pulling for you. :D

Even the energy consumption calculator on this site is not a good indicator of your basal metabolic rate.  Why? Because it's based off of the BMI concept.  That is, a person of a certain height and age should be a certain weight...  If that were true, I would be considered slightly obese.  I have a lot of muscle and I'm around 14.5% body fat, but my BMI is pretty high.  In fact, I could get down to 10% body fat and still be considered slightly obese according to the BMI.

My point is, the calculator on this site doesn't take into account how physically fit (or unfit) you are at your weight.  However, it does give you an "idea".  If you have an average amount of muscle, the BMI and this calculator will work for you just fine taken with a grain of salt.  Otherwise... much more salt is needed.

As for starvation mode, it's real.  I think it takes time to kick in, but you can actually *gain* weight by eating too little (eg. burn muscle and store fat).  I only say this because it's happened to me recently.  I thought somehow I was special... that somehow I could eat less, train more and not plateau.  Well... I was wrong.  I was restricting my calories far too much and at first the pounds shed off of me (4-5 weeks).  Then, 2 weeks of the same effort (and at times greater effort) produced nothing.  On top of that I felt like crap for those last 2 weeks.  I've since upped my calories and in just a couple of days my energy levels have sky-rocketed.  I'm pretty sure I'm back on track, but won't know for sure until my weekly weigh in next week.

So, if you want to drop 5-6 pounds below your normal non-diet no-workout eat-anything-you-want weight then go ahead and restrict your diet to damn near starvation and I honestly believe it will work (did for me).  But note that you'll feel awful, you won't get any lower than that after your body figures out what you are doing and shuts your metabolism down, and you'll waste a lot of time and effort if you keep going (as I did).
Thanks for all the advice everyone! It really helps a lot. I knew starvation mode was real, I just wasn't sure how long it took to happen. I guess I'll try and consume more calories for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. I know I'm getting disgusted, I've been trying to exercise and eat healthy since December with no results. I gained all of the weight when I quit smoking (Eating way more than I should in a day for the first month) and am looking for any ideas to help me loose it. Thanks again.


Bradleykun, please tell me that your message was one big typo.  That is the most dangerous thing I have ever heard of anybody doing!  This would do damage to all your internal organs, and also have the potential to do irreversible heart damage.  Please go see a doctor concerning this, even if you are eating a  normal amount now, just to make sure you have not done permanent damage.

Please don't post any other comments like this on these forums again either.  It encourages teenagers who are already a good weight a size to go to extremes to lose weight fast.  It may not have killed you, but it could kill one of them.


You say "I walk or elliptical 30 minutes a day".

Don't forget about muscle being heavier than fat! If your exercising is building muscle, you may be losing fat and gaining muscle.  Since muscle is heavier than fat, you wouldn't show weight loss initially, but you should have some change in body shape.

How long have you had your 1200 calorie diet?

I was in a plateau too! I didn't exercise during the summer and usually ate really little... with occasional big meal days in the week. My weight didn't change at all no matter how much I ate.


So now I'm calorie zig zagging and exercising. I'm tired of eating 1200 all the time! It feels like a luxury to eat 1600, I don't even know how to eat it all but it's nice to have an occasional 1600 day!

Well either way I probably WONT gain weight at least so might as enjoy food more :)


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up your calories to 1500

and do a more intense workout

like if your speed on the machine is at a 5

bump it up to a 7


Original Post by merylwhite1:


^Again, OLD THREAD. Start a new one.

I heard you need 2000 to 2500 from a proffessional, if you get less then 2000 consistantly or less then 1800 your body goes into stravation mode, in the end straving or restricting calories often times just leads to weight gain and health problems, but I am not sure about the whole thing.  I think maybe in the end its better to just eat healthy and let your body go were God allows it to go and accept what you have been dealt with easier said than done through, I think everyones body has a set point were it tries hard to stay at no matter what, you just need to eat healthy something from each food group at each meal I know is normally recommended and 2 to 3 snacks snacks being 2 to 3 food groups and than occasional desert if you so choose I think. I don't really know through.  She said 2000 is the miniumum for a coach potato 2500 is if you moderately active, and she said she never saw anyone who needed less then 1800 calories a day, she has been working with people for a number of years so I really don't know.  But i do know that they often put very overweight people on very low calorie diets and they lose weight atleast in the beginning. And I know gastric bypass surgery allows for very few calories right after surgery so I really don't know.  I think that its not wise to cut your calories to low without doctor supervision and things like that however,and I do know that the person i saw said that cutting them very low you can start gaining weight eating very little amount of calories and the solution is to raise your calories not restrict them more to get your body out of stravation mode.

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