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    Calorie Deficit

    Hey, I am 6'2 and currently 182 pounds and 19 percent body fat. I know my average maintenance cals, and know I should eat around 250-500 cals less then that to loose weight. I have started to freak out, and eat prob around 800-1200 cals a day. I am losing weight, but the scale says my body fat isn't really dropping. I think I should bump up my calories so my body will start burning fat instead of muscle and water weight, but Im scared that my metabolism is set to such low cals, and Ill gain it all back. What should I do? I am a 18 y/o male
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    Please post a straight on photo in good lighting.

    Even with a relatively light daily exercise level your TDEE is probably 2500 or more at your size. So at 2000 calories a day you should be able to lose weight comfortably.

    You should absolutely not (and there is no reason to) eat less than 0.7g of protein and 0.4g of fats per lb of body weight, and that’s if you ate exactly 0 carbs.

    Also There is no “scale” that can tell you what your bodyfat is with any accuracy.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    1. You "lose" weight, you do not "loose" it.

    2. Based upon what you have told us, you are seriously under eating for your body size. You should bring your calories up to roughly 2000 per day.

    3. Your scale is accurate for telling you your weight and nothing else. Scales cannot measure Body fat. They measure the amount of overall conductivity and electrical resistance that your body is giving to the scale's sensors meaning that changes in hydration, electrolytes, Etc. will all throw off the scale's "body fat" numbers.

    4. Your metabolism doesn't "set itself" to lower calories. That is frankly ridiculous.

    5. I seriously hope that you are engaging in weight training while attempting to lose the fat because if you aren't then at the deficit levels that you have been running you have likely lost as much lean mass overall as you have water and fat.
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    Originally Posted by BenPossible View Post
    Hey, I am 6'2 and currently 182 pounds and 19 percent body fat. I know my average maintenance cals, and know I should eat around 250-500 cals less then that to loose weight. I have started to freak out, and eat prob around 800-1200 cals a day. I am losing weight, but the scale says my body fat isn't really dropping. I think I should bump up my calories so my body will start burning fat instead of muscle and water weight, but Im scared that my metabolism is set to such low cals, and Ill gain it all back. What should I do? I am a 18 y/o male
    Your maintenance is not 1500 calories, I don't know where you got that from, it's probably more like 2500.

    As mentioned, ignore the results from bodyfat scales - it will usually mislead you. They shouldn't even be allowed to claim that they can measure BF%

    And you can't change your metabolic rate that easily (or at all except in much more extreme cases)
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    1. You "lose" weight, you do not "loose" it.

    2. Based upon what you have told us, you are seriously under eating for your body size. You should bring your calories up to roughly 2000 per day.

    3. Your scale is accurate for telling you your weight and nothing else. Scales cannot measure Body fat. They measure the amount of overall conductivity and electrical resistance that your body is giving to the scale's sensors meaning that changes in hydration, electrolytes, Etc. will all throw off the scale's "body fat" numbers.

    4. Your metabolism doesn't "set itself" to lower calories. That is frankly ridiculous.

    5. I seriously hope that you are engaging in weight training while attempting to lose the fat because if you aren't then at the deficit levels that you have been running you have likely lost as much lean mass overall as you have water and fat.



    Thanks for the spelling correction! Yes ik the scale will not accurately tell me my body fat, I just wanted to include a general idea of what it is. I am strength training, but mainly focusing on lighter weights
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Your maintenance is not 1500 calories, I don't know where you got that from, it's probably more like 2500.

    As mentioned, ignore the results from bodyfat scales - it will usually mislead you. They shouldn't even be allowed to claim that they can measure BF%

    And you can't change your metabolic rate that easily (or at all except in much more extreme cases)
    I have just heard that too low calorie deficits make your body store more fat than loose
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    Pics attached

    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    Please post a straight on photo in good lighting.

    Even with a relatively light daily exercise level your TDEE is probably 2500 or more at your size. So at 2000 calories a day you should be able to lose weight comfortably.

    You should absolutely not (and there is no reason to) eat less than 0.7g of protein and 0.4g of fats per lb of body weight, and that’s if you ate exactly 0 carbs.

    Also There is no “scale” that can tell you what your bodyfat is with any accuracy.
    I have attached pics, best lighting I could get
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    4. Your metabolism doesn't "set itself" to lower calories. That is frankly ridiculous.
    Yeah, it kinda does. NEAT gets screwed up fast and after that the body starts sleeping more and wasting away metabolically active tissue like muscle
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    Originally Posted by BenPossible View Post
    I have just heard that too low calorie deficits make your body store more fat than loose
    Which is why people that are starving become ....fat?

    Ridiculous.

    You cannot gain fat while in a significant caloric deficit. It is literally impossible to do so.
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    Originally Posted by alec935 View Post
    Yeah, it kinda does. NEAT gets screwed up fast and after that the body starts sleeping more and wasting away metabolically active tissue like muscle
    That isn't a "metabolic" change.

    That is a change in a person's daily actions and activity levels. Something which can be both predicted and compensated for by simply being aware that they are being "lazier" after having been in a deficit for a prolonged period and need to get up and resume their previous degree of activity.

    And even though you lose lean mass while on a diet (which you shouldn't be losing all that much of if you are cutting fat correctly) you are talking about a difference of 6-8 calories in total per day per pound of muscle tissue lost which unless you are losing ridiculous amounts of muscle is metabolically insignificant overall.
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    That isn't a "metabolic" change.

    That is a change in a person's daily actions and activity levels. Something which can be both predicted and compensated for by simply being aware that they are being "lazier" after having been in a deficit for a prolonged period and need to get up and resume their previous degree of activity.

    And even though you lose lean mass while on a diet (which you shouldn't be losing all that much of if you are cutting fat correctly) you are talking about a difference of 6-8 calories in total per day per pound of muscle tissue lost which unless you are losing ridiculous amounts of muscle is metabolically insignificant overall.
    NEAT is a very important part of metabolism. You can't just be less lazy, it's subconscious and effects how often you bob your head or fidget. And the body has other ways of slowing metabolism in a deficit too. The truth is you can be burning hundreds of calories less after a prolonged deficit.
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    Originally Posted by alec935 View Post
    NEAT is a very important part of metabolism. You can't just be less lazy, it's subconscious and effects how often you bob your head or fidget. And the body has other ways of slowing metabolism in a deficit too. The truth is you can be burning hundreds of calories less after a prolonged deficit.
    However, what you just described isn't an actual change to a person's "metabolism".

    Choosing to spend more time sedentary after being in a prolonged deficit consciously or unconsciously is still a choice. One which can be compensated for (as I have already said) by simply realizing that you are moving less and need to get yourself up and resume your previous degree of daily activity.

    A true metabolic change is not a choice, it is an involuntary decrease in your TDEE due to physiological changes such as having less overall mass to sustain, which is generally only a few calories overall per pound lost and certainly nothing anywhere near as significant as many people (such as the OP) believe it to be.

    To confuse the two types of reductions to TDEE by referring to both as "metabolic changes" perpetuates these misconceptions and is what leads to people saying things like...

    "Oh No! I ate too little and have damaged my metabolism so much that I cannot lose weight anymore!!!"
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    However, what you just described isn't an actual change to a person's "metabolism".

    Choosing to spend more time sedentary after being in a prolonged deficit consciously or unconsciously is still a choice. One which can be compensated for (as I have already said) by simply realizing that you are moving less and need to get yourself up and resume your previous degree of daily activity.

    A true metabolic change is not a choice, it is an involuntary decrease in your TDEE due to physiological changes such as having less overall mass to sustain, which is generally only a few calories overall per pound lost and certainly nothing anywhere near as significant as many people (such as the OP) believe it to be.

    To confuse the two types of reductions to TDEE by referring to both as "metabolic changes" perpetuates these misconceptions and is what leads to people saying things like...

    "Oh No! I ate too little and have damaged my metabolism so much that I cannot lose weight anymore!!!"
    NEAT is truly subconscious and can only be compensated by extra EAT. Metabolism includes all factors, it's not just BMR. Also eating less lowers TEF. And as you said losing weight lowers BMR anyways. So yes a deficit will make your metabolism slower by definition.

    Losing tons of weight too fast can definitely lead to a "damaged metabolism" because you'll have 0 energy (burning hundreds fewer calories!) and overwhelming hunger signals. I have no idea why refeeding to maintenance is looked down upon when multiple studies have shown it helps lose weight in the long run

    And btw, in a deep enough caloric deficit, you will literally slow your heartrate and breathing to expend less energy. But the diet has to be pretty extreme for that to happen
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    Originally Posted by alec935 View Post
    NEAT is truly subconscious and can only be compensated by extra EAT. Metabolism includes all factors, it's not just BMR. Also eating less lowers TEF. And as you said losing weight lowers BMR anyways. So yes a deficit will make your metabolism slower by definition.

    Losing tons of weight too fast can definitely lead to a "damaged metabolism" because you'll have 0 energy (burning hundreds fewer calories!) and overwhelming hunger signals. I have no idea why refeeding to maintenance is looked down upon when multiple studies have shown it helps lose weight in the long run

    And btw, in a deep enough caloric deficit, you will literally slow your heartrate and breathing to expend less energy. But the diet has to be pretty extreme for that to happen
    You are VASTLY overstating this ^^^^. Calorie requirements will drop about 100 calories a day per 10 pounds of weight loss.
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    "Metabolism - the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life." As to the semantics debate between alec and luclin i'm favoring luclin note the word "within" in the definition I think this pretty clearly excludes how often you move. So while you may notice a drop in energy that makes you move less in a deficit that is not technically a metabolic change. I do think there is wisdom in your words in that the OP would possibly have more energy and naturally walk around more and burn off the additional calories going from insanely low amounts around 1000 calories to a more normal 2000.For clarity NEAT and metabolism are not interchangeable words they mean different things.
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    You need to add muscle more than you need to lose fat.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Originally Posted by alec935 View Post
    NEAT is truly subconscious and can only be compensated by extra EAT. Metabolism includes all factors, it's not just BMR. Also eating less lowers TEF. And as you said losing weight lowers BMR anyways. So yes a deficit will make your metabolism slower by definition.

    Losing tons of weight too fast can definitely lead to a "damaged metabolism" because you'll have 0 energy (burning hundreds fewer calories!) and overwhelming hunger signals. I have no idea why refeeding to maintenance is looked down upon when multiple studies have shown it helps lose weight in the long run

    No. A person's TDEE includes all factors.

    BMR literally means "Basal Metabolic Rate" and is ~one~ factor in a person's TDEE. The other being their activity level.

    The first part is literally the person's metabolism and how much energy it requires to keep the person alive. The other is how much they get up and move, whether consciously or unconsciously.

    And the actual effect on a person's "metabolism" from losing weight is really not that large of a factor.

    Studies show* that a pound of muscle only burns 6-7 calories per day, while each pound of fat requires roughly just 2.1 calories. Meaning that if a person loses 10 pounds (and we assume that this loss is at an 80/20 ratio of fat to muscle) that person's metabolic requirements will have only dropped by approximately 30-35 calories per day.

    This indicates that the primary cause in a decrease in TDEE from a prolonged deficit is indeed from decreased activity and not specifically a metabolic issue.

    What you describe as a "damaged metabolism" is not a metabolic issue. Your own description essentially states that the problem is literally due to a reduced activity level which again can be compensated for by a conscious decision on the part of the dieter to get up and become more active.

    Essentially what you have been saying is correct in the broader sense, the only issue is your mistaken use of "metabolism" in regards to what is occurring for people in a sustained deficit.

    I really can't explain it any more clearly than this.





    * "Dissecting the energy needs of the body " by McClave, Stephen A.; Snider, Harvy L
    https://journals.lww.com/co-clinical...e_body.11.aspx
    Last edited by Luclin999; 08-04-2020 at 04:50 PM.
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    I'll concede the definition of metabolism, but BMR does reduce in other ways than just weight loss in heavy caloric deficits. Thanks for linking the study.
    Last edited by alec935; 08-04-2020 at 10:51 PM.
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