(Closed) Counting Calories – Why is "eating too little" bad??

posted 7 years ago in Fitness
Post # 3
690 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Calories = Energy


Post # 4
8440 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Rock Hugger:  I think there is something different about a morbidly obese person’s metabolism.  My Fiance knew someone that got gastric bypass and they actually have to eat a really strict/weird diet.  There’s a really good show from the UK called “supersize vs superskinny” that explains a lot of the medical side of starvation and over eating.

Post # 5
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Eating too little calories will put your body into starvation mode.  Your metabolism will plummet.


If you want to lose weight, you need your metabolism running.  


When you don’t eat enough, your body will adjust itself to be used to the limited resources it has to run on– your body is a machine.  So if you go from 1,500 daily calories down to 800, you will lose weight initially, but then it will become very hard to lose any more weight.


And, let’s be honest here.  A diet that severe is not something anybody could stick to for life.  Once you go off such a restrictive diet, you will be guaranteed to gain back the weight and then some.


**I have no knowledge about pre-op gastric bypass, but I would think that those patients are under doctor supervision.  For most people trying to lose weight, SENSIBLE diet and exercise is all you really need.  And some willpower and patience.

Post # 6
1123 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

For one, her diet is for a short period of time. Also they likely (if it carried on for an extended period of time) had her taking or drinking suppliments and were keeping an eye on her.

When Opra went on a 1000 calorie a day diet she had to see the doctor every day.

In my experience, it’s not goot to really cut calories. I used to go days without eating as a teenager, just to test my bodies strength. It came with a weaker immune system and other issues but eventually I stopped around 17 years old and started eating too much.

When I became over weight I decided to diet. I cut my calories to 500 calories a day. I would only eat like rice cakes and things like that, low cal yogurt etc.

Then I fainted. At 21 years old I was at work and fainted and stopped breathing for nearly 3 minutes. I’d been on my diet about 5 months and had lost a lot of weight but it almost cost me my life. My heart had gotten weak and tried to give out.

I still kept on with my diet. About 2 months later I started having an irregular heart beat. I would be watching TV and my heart would speed up really fast and be pounding and then it would stop and miss a couple beats. I eventually went to the doctor who ran some tests and my heart had become to weak at just 21 years old because of the diet that only lasted 7 months. 

Now the issue with starvation mode is your body feeds off of your muscles when it’s not getting enough food. And the biggest muscle in your body? Your heart. That’s why so many women with eating disorders have heart attacks.

Part of this has to do with calorie consumption. Depending on your height physical activity and weight you should consume between 1,600 and 2,200 calories a day average. 

I had to see a nutritionist to have my body get back on track. I couldn’t just force myself to eat “normal” after that time because my body would reject it so I had to gradually increase my diet.

When I started eating healthy meals and spreading them out to 5 meals a day I lost more weight faster than my low cal diet.

My 5 meal diet was something like this:

7am: I would eat a bananna and some low cal yogurt for breakfast (or strawberries and yogurt when I wanted to change it up

10am: I would eat a snack with peanuts or peanut butter to ensure I got enough protein. Like peanut butter on some crackers or another bannana

1pm: I would eat a sandwhich on whole wheat bread (and I dislike whole wheat but you get used to it) with some low cal popcorn or chips

4pm: I would eat dinner, usually some form of baked chicken with a couple veggies on the side

7pm: I would eat a 100 calorie pack, the muffins cupcakes or something of the sort to help my sweet tooth.

This really helped to lose weight the healthy way and I was running on the elliptical for about 30-45 minutes per day. I felt healthier and lost weight faster and ended up passing my weight loss goal but the healthy route.

If you eat more frequently throughout the day and keep it at a set time every day your body knows it wont have to store any extra food and digests more quickly. It also helps when you want to pig out knowing you only have three hours to wait for your next meal. And I always allowed a meal on Saturdays to be my “anything goes” meal. I would pick one meal that I could eat, steak, fast food, burger, anything I wanted and would look forward to that day all week. And when you know you’re going to be able to eat whatever you want for one meal that week, it helps keep you motivated to keep on track

I did more than try to answer your qustion and I’m sorry for typing so much but cutting your calories drastically is dangerous and I still have heart problems from it

Post # 7
839 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@JaneyDcat:  +1, eating too little will make your body think you are starving, and it will stop burning fat/calories in order to store up as much as it can, which is what people mean when they say your metabolism will decrease.

I think this does still apply to people who have had gastric bypass in a way. They have to eat a very strict diet and take suppliments to make sure their body is getting the nutrition it needs. I had a friend who had the lap band, and I know that’s a little different, but she had to eat a tiny amount of food every 2 hours to keep her body from going into starvation mode.

Post # 8
37 posts
  • Wedding: March 2013

I have a family member who just go gastric bypass.  Gastric bypass doesn’t just make the stomach smaller,  it also adjusts (removes?) a portion of the small intestine or something like that so that the body doesn’t absorb calories either. 

I wondered the same thing about the low calorie intake.  Their most important requirement is to drink protein, to avoid losing muscle mass.  Their body is surviving by feeding off the fat.  When they become smaller, they start adding more (small) amounts of food.  Also, they are not hungry at all anymore, and often have to force themselves to eat.  I believe the gastric bypass causes chemical changes within the body that permit those people to exist on very low (i.e. 500 calories a day) diet. 

People without the surgery do not have the same chemical adjustments.  Of course starving must work to some extent, eventually, because of anorexics, but if you have a slower/sluggish metabolism, it just doesn’t seem to work.

Not a very good explanation, but something I wondered about as well and learned recently.

Post # 9
5107 posts
Bee Keeper

I went to a weight loss doctor once and it’s just a fact that your metabolism slows down if you don’t eat enough. It’s just a fact. Gastric bypass people are on a very specialized diet the same way as I was on the weight loss doctor’s plan. They have supplements and shakes and I’m sure just feel miserable… I was on an 800 calories doctor with him eating every 1.5-2.5 hours, and yes I lost weight but I felt…horrible.

That being said, I still probably don’t eat enough…but I am eating about 500 calories more than I was when I was with the weight loss doctor and feel great. I’m exercising and still eating every two hours, trying to eat nutrient dense foods and low GI foods. I think that’s the way to do it! =)

Post # 10
952 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Other posters have said this. 

Your body will store fat rather than use it for energy. Also if you are already at a point where you %body fat is already low, your body will start burning up your muscles for energy. 

Lets not forget that other organs in your body will start to malfunction such as your pancreas will screw up its insulin secretion so if your diabetic or risk of it, you may end up with more lows/highs. 

Post # 11
8038 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Rock Hugger:  I think part of it is that it’s unsustainable to be hungry all the time… so inevitably you will gain the weight back once you start to eat normally again. If you consistently eat only “starvation mode” calories, you will become anorexic. You’ll lose muscle mass. You won’t have any energy. I am not sure how it works w. gastric bypass to be honest.. I just know that they’re not supposed to have big meals. I bet they still get at least 1,000 calories per day (at least once they’re fully recovered from the surgery).

I think a lot of people underestimate the calories they eat. Realistically, if a person has weight to lose, then in general they must be eating well over 1,000 calories per day (I think that’s where starvation mode begins.. for women anyway)… so keeping it at 1,200 or 1,400 or whatever the healthy recommended calorie intake is will be difficult enough for most people. Add exercise to that (and you need energy to exercise), and you’re burning a bunch of calories anyway, so it will lead to weight loss.

Post # 12
556 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

“Starvation mode” is a myth, and only happens when you are literally starving. A simple caloric deficit will not produce this. 

Not eating doesn’t equal no weight loss. If you have ever struggled with an ED or have ever known an anorexic — you didn’t lose weight by magic, it was because food was not eaten at all or very few calories were consumed.

Post # 13
847 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

@Rock Hugger:  Because having a gastric and fitted generally means that you’re morbidly obese and that if you don’t lose some weight bad things will happen. As a PP said there is a specialised diet that goes along with the band. 

Not eating enough calories is bad because it means your body has no fat recesses or energy. And it needs both of those things. Slowing your metabolism down is very dangerous and leads to your body digesting muscle mass and organ failure. Starvation mode is a myth. 

Stuff like the ABC diet is just a thinly veiled eating disorder. Please don’t listen to the people who preach that sort of thing. 

If you want justification for an eating disorder you’re not going to find it on the Bee and if deliberately consuming less calories than you know you need is something you do often and in purpose then I would talk to someone. 

Post # 14
1083 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My Future Father-In-Law just got gastric bypass. . . the whole point of the surgery is to shorten the length of the intestine into the stomach, therefore, your stomach cannot handle all that much food, essentially causing you to lose weight. This is OK for your body. . . you’re basically tricking it into thinking that this is all the food you need and there is no starvation whatsoever. When it comes to regular dieting, your metabolism depends on a certain amount of calories. If you lack calories, you can become malnourished. It’s an entirely different situation.

Post # 15
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@elle_z:  I agree!

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