Weight Loss
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how long does it take to get out of starvation mode?

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I just started doing this about a week and a half ago after finally realizing that I wasn't eating enough and therefore my body is in starvation mode.

Now I've read in other threads that when you pull your body out of starvation mode a lot of times you gain weight bc your body holds on to everything you give it in fear that you will starve it again, is this true?

For those of you who have gone through it, how long did it take for you body to trust you and for you to start losing weight? How much weight did you initially end up gaining?

I just keep seeing the numbers on the scale go up and up and its really scary but I know I'm doing the healthy thing, I just hope I'm not doing it wrong.

I'm 5ft 3 1/2, 20 years old, 138 (i was 135 when I started), I do a 20 minute ab workout in the morning and at night, plus I play ultimate frisbee or figure skate in the afternoon for an hour or two. I try to eat between 1500 and 1700 calories a day, depending on how much I work out and my food analysis has always been an A. I also used to be a big partier and so now I've stopped drinking all together. Am I doing everything right?? How long before I see results??? Its killing me!!! 
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no one??? please help im getting very frustrated!!!
It took my body about 3-4 weeks to even out after having been in starvation mode.  I'm 5'3'' and I started at 120 lbs.  I had been eating about 700 calories per day.  I spent the first 10 or so days working my calories.  I ate 800 the first day and added 50/day until I reached 1300.  I gained up to about 124, which stuck around for 2-3 weeks.  After that, I started losing consistently.  Seeing the scale go up is scary, but it's worth it.  I'm no longer tired or as irritable, and I have so much more energy.  Feel free to PM me if you need anything.

A couple of questions.....

Are you eating frequently enough.  Total calories is important, but so is the frequency of your meals. You should be eating at least 5-6 small meals per day.  Your body doesn't store proteins and it will start craving them if you don't get them.  This can trigger the starvation effect.

Next, what do your meals consist of?  Each meal should have a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate.  The protein for the reason stated above and the complex carb to keep insulin levels in line.  Dramatic spikes in insulin levels followed by the corresponding fall will lead to problems with insulin sensitivity and increase the body's propensity to store blood glucose as fat.

 Assuming you have those two things in line, I would look to add some strength training to your routine.  HIIT cardio and strength training have been shown to elevate your basal metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories while at rest) for up to 24 hours.  You literally burn calories just sitting on the couch.  Sustained rate cardio doesn't have this benefit. With sustained rate cardio, your body's furnace slows down almost as soon as you stop exercising.

 Good Luck, and let us know how you do,


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OMG it is so good to read your post and know that I am not the only one with this problem.  I started increasing my calories about 2-1/2 weeks ago for the exact same reason.  It is definitely scary and yes... I also have been gaining weight which has been messing with my head in a big way.  I have been so tempted to go back to restricting but I don't want to feel bad and in everything that I have read, I know I am doing the right thing.  It can be so disappointing because when I first started restricting, I got down to 110, where I ideally would like to be.  Over about a course of a year I got back up to 120, now after increasing I have stayed about the same maybe a pound or 2 of fluctuation.  It's funny though, the body definitely knows where it feels most comfortable and will become quite stubborn in budging.  I'm hanging in there though and I know you can do it to.  Keep with the calories and workouts and it is bound to start coming off.  Your young too so that is definitely going to work in your favor meaning your metabolism should bounce back quickly.  Have faith, I am writing this as much for myself as I am for you.  Please feel free to keep in touch with me too so we can keep each other updated.  Take care and best wishes.


Hey there Krissy... I wanted you to know that I have been in the same boat as you. I was anorexic (this is actually the first time I've told anyone) for a short time about two years ago(and we're talking like, 100 calories a day!). When I realized what I was doing to my body, I think I over compensated and ate WAY too much. But even with me eating 2500+ cals a day for six months at 5'2" and 140 lbs, I only gained 20 lbs. So you should be just fine! :D
I don't think you'll gain too much. But it might be as long as a month before your body stops storing all the fat it can get. You WILL gain weight! But in the end, your metabolism will be SOO much faster for it.
Good luck! You're definately doing the right thing. Just hang in there. It's scary, but worth it.

I had the same problem also...  I was eating around 800 calories a day and going to the gym 5 times a week and definitely not losing a single pound!  For the past month I have been seeing a diatitian and I am also slowly upping my calories...  I found for the first month nothing happened, then I lost about 5 lbs and right now I have been steady for a while, but I definitely feel better and I think this is the right track to make the weight come off.

Good luck!!!  :)
my biology teacher says starvation mode is a myth, so I dont know what to believe.
I've seen the results of starvation mode first hand. I restricted my calories to 1000 maximum, not knowing any better, for a few months, and I lost my period, my sense of hunger, my sex drive, I became dizzy and weak when I stood too quickly, and I was really irritable. So I believe it.
Over the long run, starvation mode becomes starvation, but there is no doubt that scientists have documented a decrease in metabolism that corresponds to drastically reduced intake of food over a short period of time.

I also put my maximum at 1,000 calories and kept it there for the past two, three months.  I thought I was fine, because I could still get hungry and I knew that was one of the symptoms of starvation mode, but I stopped kidding myself when my period didn't happen.  I'm hoping that I got to it early enough, as I haven't had any dizzy spells, but the irritation as well as food obsession is there as well.


How did you get over it?

That sounds about like me I done the calculator thing it told me to do 1200 cal I was doing that for 2 weeks I did indeed lose 8 lbs first week then nothing so everyone was telling I wasn't eating enough so I up my calories to 1400 and eating everything heathy working out every night and gained 2 lbs I'm frustrated but I can't give up I thought maybe I'm in starvation mode so I'm going give it a few more weeks and hope for best then everybody talking about net calories and I'm confused on that
I haven't 50 lbs. start tracking your calories in and your calories out (exercise). A good rule of thumb for losing is to be -1000 for the day. That would be losing 2 lbs per week. With exercise you will need to eat at least 1500 a day. So intake 1500 but burn 2500. That help?

I haven't put a mind to net calories...  They're kind of just there on my profile and I have no clue what they mean or what effect they have on me.

It helps a little, but how much exercise is enough exercise to eat more?  That's the part I suffer with.  

So im 17 and my stomach has been acting strange. I seem to be getting full much easier dropping my calorie intake from 2200 cal per day to 1000. I didnt really care much because ive been trying (barely) to lose weight but food is just so good but then i found out about this thing called starvation mode. I dont want to be in starvation mode! Im struggling to keep myself from gaining weight (Im 5'4" and a half was at 136lbs now im at 132lbs which is pretty good for me) I tried to eat some more but it doesnt sit well with my stomach. Am i in starvation mode?! (Ive had 800-1300 calories per day for about a week) How long does it take for me to get out of it? How do i get out of it?!

Eating 1000 calories a day is dangerous and will damage your entire body, including your metabolism, given enough time.

Start eating at a maintenance level for your age, weight, height, and lifestyle. Depending on how long you've been eating 1000 calories a day, you may see a weight rebound.  Let it happen.  If you continue to gain weight after a few weeks of eating at maintenance, then you're probably eating more calories than you think you are.

Regarding feeling full really quickly, that can be due to a lot of things including constipation, excessive stomach acid, or a food intolerance of some kind.  It could also be that, the more you've been restricting, the less used to digesting food your stomach has become.  After an illness that left me only able to eat a handful of saltines every day for a few weeks, when I started reintroducing other foods and increasing my intake, it felt VERY uncomfortable and "unnatural."   

Thanks. Im going to try and eat more frequently in smaller portions. And high calorie foods. It seems i cant even stomach more than half a sandwich (Its a nice big one though). I really hope im not in starvation mode because once i get better, if i get better, imma start eating 2500 calories worth of food and i want to do it without gaining 20 pounds.Hopefully, i can get in 1500 calories today. Lunchables help a lot.

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