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  1. #1
    Registered User unleashthelion's Avatar
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    Cool Why is the Metabolic Slowdown thread a sticky?

    Metabolic slowdown isn't a slowdown, at all; it is just a reduction to the energy you expend commensurate with the change in TEF, activity level, and your weight. However, most take it to the extreme by believing the anomalous adaptations by the human body in response to severe malnourishment can occur in non-lean (>15% body fat) individuals.

    To this extent, it is a pernicious concept and should be shot down at all costs; it shouldn't be propagated and lent credence by being put at the top of the forum.
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    while it is overexaggerated, I believe various studies have shown up to a 10% adaptation...which is the level that many people try to cut at...which could eat up a deficit.

    I would definitely agree that the majority of reduced metabolism is from change in weight and activity level. There are some interesting studies that show huge decreases in NEAT occuring also.


    Personally, I've lost 90 pounds, track calories, weight, very accurately, and observed a decrease in metabolism over a couple months with not much change in weight, no change in activity...by about 10%...and tried a reverse diet protocol, and TDEE increased back up about 10%.

    I think metabolic downregulation is real, but it tends to be overexaggerated.
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Metabolic slowdown isn't a slowdown, at all; it is just a reduction to the energy you expend commensurate with the change in TEF, activity level, and your weight.
    You are splitting hairs here. Whilst 99% of people will never have an issue, severe metabolic slowdown in lean individuals can occur. The thread contains some great information from people far more qualified than you, I don't see why you would nitpick with it.
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    This is in the OP of the thread as well:
    Please note: Most dieters will not be suffering from metabolic slowdown. The most common cause of weight loss stalling is inaccurate calorie counting (or inaccurate estimations of one's maintenance, thus leading to a small or non existent caloric deficit). Please do not use this thread as an excuse. Make sure you're counting is accurate. The information here is great for everyone, but using metabolic slowdown as the sole reason of one's stalled weight loss is likely to be a last resort.
    It's not intended as an excuse forming thread, it's just an informative thread.

    It tends to happen most noticeably in contest dieters, yes. I also remember reading a study where a very obese person fasted under doctor's supervision for over a year, but to think that dieting on low calories for an extended period will not have an affect on one's metabolism is short sighted imo. But if it helps to prevent people from doing crazy things like beginning a diet with an absurdly low calorie count (or continuing with one), then I think it's served its purpose.
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Metabolic slowdown isn't a slowdown, at all; it is just a reduction to the energy you expend commensurate with the change in TEF, activity level, and your weight. However, most take it to the extreme by believing the anomalous adaptations by the human body in response to severe malnourishment can occur in non-lean (>15% body fat) individuals.

    To this extent, it is a pernicious concept and should be shot down at all costs; it shouldn't be propagated and lent credence by being put at the top of the forum.
    Maybe it's mainly for <15% BF people who are trying to get really lean? Did your read the original post or watch Layne's video, where he discusses it in relation to contest prepping individuals? Layne Norton is about as non-brosciencey and evidence-based as there is.

    And, right there in the OP, bolded:

    Originally Posted by lee__d View Post
    Please note: Most dieters will not be suffering from metabolic slowdown. The most common cause of weight loss stalling is inaccurate calorie counting (or inaccurate estimations of one's maintenance, thus leading to a small or non existent caloric deficit). Please do not use this thread as an excuse. Make sure you're counting is accurate. The information here is great for everyone, but using metabolic slowdown as the sole reason of one's stalled weight loss is likely to be a last resort.
    I think if it doesn't apply to you, move on. I've ended up having to drop calories well beyond what I could expect to be accounted for by 6-7 lbs of weight lost, I guarantee you. Mostly a reduction in NEAT, as there is a night and day difference in my energy levels when I am dieting and lean.

    I don't give people who have tons of weight to lose much advice because I don't have a lot of experience in that realm. If you have never been dieting as a lean person, maybe you should refrain from dismissing these things.
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    Because it's more BBing.com bull**** that people will fall for. Take all articles etc that you read on this site with a grain of salt. srs
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    ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■) lee__d's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kraken View Post
    Because it's more BBing.com bull**** that people will fall for. Take all articles etc that you read on this site with a grain of salt. srs
    pls go, not one article from this site is referenced in the thread.
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Metabolic slowdown isn't a slowdown, at all; it is just a reduction to the energy you expend commensurate with the change in TEF, activity level, and your weight. However, most take it to the extreme by believing the anomalous adaptations by the human body in response to severe malnourishment can occur in non-lean (>15% body fat) individuals.

    To this extent, it is a pernicious concept and should be shot down at all costs; it shouldn't be propagated and lent credence by being put at the top of the forum.
    That's a fairly arrogant position given the the people sited in the sticky.... The bold part is actually wrong, if you read the Minnesota starvation study?

    "For example, in the now classic Minnesota Semi-Starvation Study, the study which found the largest drop in metabolic rate ever measured, the total drop was only about 40% (of which 25% was due to weight loss and the other 15% was the adaptive component). Certainly this is large."

    -Lyle McDonald

    Now here is the kicker, the Minnesota starvation study was done with healthy young men not old or obese people. Are you going to infer that age or health issues do not have an effect on metabolism? If what your saying is true and that the efficiency of the body stays the same at all times and an adaptive component does not exist, a 20 year old man will have the same metabolism as a 60 year old man of the same weight and activity.
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    Originally Posted by lee__d View Post
    pls go, not one article from this site is referenced in the thread.
    Did I hit a nerve, Suzie?
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    Dem Beetroot Gainz matman1813's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kraken View Post
    Did I hit a nerve, Suzie?
    Might have been when you proclaimed your superior knowledge to someone with a PhD.
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    The tread should very much be stickied. Do you know how many metabolic slowdown/shutdown threads get posted in this section? It provides insightful information to people to help understand the difference between stalling and true metabolic slowdown. Yes I agree most people who think they are in "starvation mode" are really just overeating but that's not true for all of us.
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    Originally Posted by Kraken View Post
    Did I hit a nerve, Suzie?
    No, you're just an idiot.
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    I dont have evidence, im not a doctor, but have spoken with people who had legit been eating very low cals and accurately counting them, and could hardly lose anything. The same folks had been doing an overabundance of exercise, a LOT of exercise. I would think that being overactive for that individuals recovery changes whatever hormones are responsible for fat oxidation, but there is a response for some that get to those levels of very low cals. Granted obviously if they ate nothing they would drop weight but they arent trying to go machinist mode.
    There is always someone less fortunate, with real hunger, with real adversity, who made something of themselves. What is your excuse?
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    Don't it take a very long time (12 months+) for most people to recover?
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    Originally Posted by coughs View Post
    Don't it take a very long time (12 months+) for most people to recover?
    Depends on the individual and extent of the damage.
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    1. I'm not familiar with too many people who cut at a 200-300 deficit; but even if they do, if they lower it by another 200-300, they could still lose weight. Many proponents of metabolic damage act as if your metabolism will continuously slow down to whatever you're eating (that it would just lower another 200-300 and if you lowered your consumption again, it would lower again). Like I've said, this is impossible; as sure as you can starve to death, you will lose body fat at a deficit.

    Matman
    2. There is no need to try to big league me. We are all just people who are looking to discuss concepts. I don't bring up my academic pedigree (which is formidable, I assure you) to try to silence others; I really like your posts and I respect you as a poster, but that comment was uncalled for. As to why I am deriding the prominence of the thread, I mentioned why.

    Lee____D
    3. I know the intention wasn't to provide excuses, but that's how it's being used by most. By no means do I believe that a person's metabolism will be unaffected by constant dieting, I just don't believe there are normal people cutting at a significant deficit without losing weight. This is sheer opinion, but I don't think that its utility of preventing some people from starting a cut at too high a deficit outweighs the damage it does by making people think they have a damaged metabolism when they are just in a momentary stall, which usually results in them increasing their intake through reverse dieting.

    CSB
    4. I watched the video and it was pretty dang anecdotal. I think I stopped myself from commenting on it because I didn't want to seem like I was attacking Layne, but I felt the video just supported a lot of myths instead of critically assessing them; I'd have to re-watch it, but I remember having issues with it and feeling very unconvinced. I do not dismiss anything, but I do try to situate things in their relevant context; the issue is that non-lean individuals go around claiming metabolic damage when it isn't even a remote possibility for them - which is the crux of the issue, in my opinion. If the thread were chock full of competition-ready people talking about how much physiological adaptations are for the super lean, I'd have no problem; as it is, I think a serious reality check is in order. At any rate, we are talking about concepts not feelings or experiences. My lack of experience in being lean has no bearing on this.

    Kraken
    5. I am inclined to agree with you (that it is BS perpetuated on BB.com); it is just another myth (at least in its common use) that is spread by people who are looking for excuses.

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    6. If there is data that contradicts my statement, then it needs to be evaluated. Someone just having reported some data does not make my statement "wrong". To your point, the fact that it was done on healthy men (who were presumably fairly lean or at least leaner than most overfat individuals who claim metabolic damage) shows that this may be specific to lean individuals.

    Vismal
    7. I think the presence of the sticky has caused the glut of metabolic adaptation threads. And to your second post, what is "metabolic damage"?

    Serpentarius
    8. And that's the point. By no means do I think that it is ideal to eat at a severe deficit, but it will definitely cause fat loss; it doesn't matter who you are or how active you are - or aren't, as long as you are a living organism - you can remove energy stores by consuming energy at a caloric deficit. Some of the metabolic damage crew would have you believing otherwise.

    The fact remains that this "metabolic damage" or "true metabolic slowdown" is something that can happen in a very small percentage of the population and, even in that population, only few will actually experience it. For it to be featured as one of the most important threads, the sub-forum is tacitly supporting the notion that this is common; it just doesn't cohere for it to be such a rare situation but for it to be given such attention. If anything, there should be a sticky where the sole focus is showing people they aren't undergoing metabolic slowdown; that is what is most relevant about it, that it happens to a fraction of a percent of people trying to lose fat.
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Retoaded

    CSB
    4. I watched the video and it was pretty dang anecdotal. I think I stopped myself from commenting on it because I didn't want to seem like I was attacking Layne, but I felt the video just supported a lot of myths instead of critically assessing them; I'd have to re-watch it, but I remember having issues with it and feeling very unconvinced. I do not dismiss anything, but I do try to situate things in their relevant context; the issue is that non-lean individuals go around claiming metabolic damage when it isn't even a remote possibility for them - which is the crux of the issue, in my opinion. If the thread were chock full of competition-ready people talking about how much physiological adaptations are for the super lean, I'd have no problem; as it is, I think a serious reality check is in order. At any rate, we are talking about concepts not feelings or experiences. My lack of experience in being lean has no bearing on this.
    Your assumption that everybody who wants to lose fat must be fat DOES have bearing on this. It is an assumption that I have seen in your posts in the past.

    As far as Layne's video is concerned, I think you have to apply a little logic. We might never have real (not self-reported), substantial data on this kind of thing (lean people dieting), ever. But it's not just Layne who mentions these issues, other coaches do as well. Are all these competitors complying to the claimed diet? Probably not, but these people aren't your typical fat people with no food control and no motivation other than a doctor's admonishment or cheaper insurance. These are people with scheduled competitions, probably already a little excessively body-obsessed, who are familiar with busting ass. I'd bet the majority of these people are being truthful.

    I think you are also missing the point. Most people don't actually think that they will stop losing weight (and we'll argue and assume mostly fat) even if you continue to drop calories. Obviously, nobody is immune to starvation. But there becomes a point where further lowering calories isn't going to be helping things out in the big picture, because things are out of whack. And I am not talking about muscle loss in any immediate sense. I am talking about feeling like garbage, fatigue, hindered cognitive functions, and sex drive. They can't train properly (which will lead to muscle loss). If this wasn't an issue then people wouldn't be taking drugs to prevent them from happening.

    The fact that the original post does have a disclaimer in bold is also relevant.

    Sh*t if the sticky keeps people from posting their starvation mode questions in the main forum I am all for it. I hadn't even opened the post until today, and now I am all for it. Keep these questions in one spot, like body fat estimates.

    Moreover I really fail to see what this has in common with the normal BB.com featured articles, in any way, shape or form.
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Electricheadd
    6. If there is data that contradicts my statement, then it needs to be evaluated. Someone just having reported some data does not make my statement "wrong". To your point, the fact that it was done on healthy men (who were presumably fairly lean or at least leaner than most overfat individuals who claim metabolic damage) shows that this may be specific to lean individuals.
    The quote I gave you was from the Lyle McDonalds review of the Minnesota Semi Starvation study. It is one of the few studies where we have controlled (Not self reported) calories. They found a 40% adaption of which 25% could be explained by weight loss and a 15% adaptive component. This means if your maintenance was 3000 calories 400 calories was being conserved via metabolic adaptation this is a huge number. Granted this experiment was extreme they literally starved these guys down to 7% body fat. (Sound familiar) Many lean body builders shoot for even lower body fats and report the same adaptation.

    The reason I bring up fat guys is because they spend an even longer time at a deficit and many report the same adaptations and even more are pre-diabetic. Keep in mind when the Semi starvation study was done nobody weighed 300+ lbs this was a fairly short experiment. I am not sure I would be so quick to rule out long term deficit as another component to adaptation. We likely will never have a long term starvation experiment with controlled calories...... (Cruel and unusual)

    Lastly, the vast majority of the calorie controlled studies were done on young men. We have almost no data on women... they report these sort of adaptions even more than men. Given they have a completely different endocrine system its not surprising. Ever see how lean women get when you jack up their testosterone levels? If increasing your hormone levels causes you to lose weight why do you find it so surprising that the opposite happens when calories are restricted?
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    The slowdown occurred with me when I ate at 1300 calories and then I raised my intake to 1800 and I lost more weight than I did at 1300. And I was over 20% body fat. I was using my body bugg and found out I was way under eating for my activity level when I was consuming 1300 calories.
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    If increasing your hormone levels causes you to lose weight why do you find it so surprising that the opposite happens when calories are restricted?
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    Originally Posted by unleashthelion View Post
    Matman
    2. There is no need to try to big league me. We are all just people who are looking to discuss concepts. I don't bring up my academic pedigree (which is formidable, I assure you) to try to silence others; I really like your posts and I respect you as a poster, but that comment was uncalled for. As to why I am deriding the prominence of the thread, I mentioned why.
    I'm not trying to big league you, I'm not qualified in this. It's clear that you did your research and unless I'm mistaken, the pathways by which metabolic slowdown happens are not fully understood, the things you listed contribute but cannot make up for 100% of it. Layne is one of the most respected guys within the industry with years of experience coaching and competing as well as a PhD (in Nutritional Science I believe) and has documented it a number of times.

    It will never apply to 99.99% of people who come here, but it is very important information to those few who need it.

    For what it's worth though, disagreements are good, they help all of us learn. So you are right, I was out of order and you have every right to question any of the information here.
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    So you disagree with the dissemination of valuable information based upon the fact that some people will misuse the information, and that the information should be omitted to dumb it down for everyone?


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    I see what you're saying and agree to some extent. However, the adaptive component exists and the information in that thread is useful for helping to prevent/repair that. Moreover, I agree with electrichead that it does not occur solely in elite bodybuilders who are at extremely low bf levels. I've been quoting/citing Lyle McDonald a lot lately, but I'll do it again because I respect his opinions:

    "Q. Some claim that that your body will go into 'starvation mode' if you eat too few calories, preventing you from losing weight and that trying to lose weight by eating fewer calories doesn't work. What do you think?

    A. Well there is no doubt that the body slows metabolic rate when you reduce calories or lose weight/fat. There are at least two mechanisms for this.

    One is simply the loss in body mass. A smaller body burns fewer calories at rest and during activity. There's not much you can do about that except maybe wear a weighted vest to offset the weight loss, this would help you burn more calories during activity.

    However, there's an additional effect sometimes referred to as the adaptive component of metabolic rate. Roughly, that means that your metabolic rate has dropped more than predicted by the change in weight.

    So if the change in body mass predicts a drop in metabolic rate of 100 calories and the measured drop is 150 calories, the extra 50 is the adaptive component. The mechanisms behind the drop are complex involving changes in leptin, thyroid, insulin and nervous system output (this system is discussed to some degree in all of my books except my first one).

    In general, it's true that metabolic rate tends to drop more with more excessive caloric deficits (and this is true whether the effect is from eating less or exercising more); as well, people vary in how hard or fast their bodies shut down. Women's bodies tend to shut down harder and faster."

    http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/research/lyle.htm
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    I've always thought the same as OP. Starvation mode is extremely over exaggerated, and I've never noticed my metabolism being any different at all.. It's always been calories in vs calories out. I've never really plateaued but then again I'm only at around 22% bodyfat so I'm sure ill see it once i get down in the pre teens and what not. I was around 33% when i first started. I found out how many cal's i should eat a day and how many macro's i needed and I would Re calculate them every time i lost 15 pounds or if my activity level changed. Everyone quit getting so butthurt... ha. xD Debates are good, but damn guys we all are just trying to find the most effective way to be healthy.
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    Originally Posted by matthew2474 View Post
    Starvation mode is extremely over exaggerated, and I've never noticed my metabolism being any different at all.
    Nobody posting in this thread will likely deny that. Additionally, there is a BOLDED disclaimer at the beginning of the thread in question explaining this is the case.

    The person who should be getting butthurt is lee_d, after insinuations that this is just "BS perpetuated on BB.com".

    FWIW I never had anything remotely close to a plateau until I got to sub-15%, and even then cutting calories would always eventually correct the issue. I always wondered what the hell everyone seemed to be bitching about, this cutting sh*t was a cakewalk, and I must be The Man. But here is a simple fact that some people seem to miss or completely ignore: this gets harder and harder to do the leaner you get and the fewer calories you are eating. It's not a matter of defying physics, it's simply being able to work/train/think/function. Just because it hasn't happened to you yet or the OP doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

    This entire board, including the LF Chat section, is geared to a wide variety of people. If something doesn't apply to you, feel free to ignore it. I do all the time.
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    This is from personal experience, but my metabolism after being anorexic and going from 5'8 115 (healthy relationship w/ food and exercise) to 5'9 102 lb (warped relation w/ food and exercise) because warped.

    I would binge on 4000+ calories or so and I would be 105 lb and this was around 6x a week at the start and I didn't gain much. Then, once I started eating regularly each day which is around 3000 while being active, I gained to 115 and have been stalling ever since.

    I believe it does exist, but it takes an extended period of time before it happens. My metabolism is almost where it was when I was healthy, so eating more certainly does help.
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    I understand why the OP argued his point and to some extent I agree. We don't do the majority of people here any favors by entertaining the idea of metabolic adaptation. For most, any adaption is very minor or non existent and talking about it lends credence to the idea that there is some magic number where you will lose weight. The truth is most of the people who ask the question simply are miscounting calories or under the wrong impressions as to how weight loss works. Even if they have some minor adapations the only options they have are reverse diet or cut calories.

    That said, we do have some posters here who are on the extreme ends of the scale. I have seen some who have lost 100s of lbs over the course of years of living in a deficit and others who are pre-contest who are dropping to extremely low body fats. These are the guys we are talking about when we are discussing the idea of metabolic damage. These guys know how to count calories and track food yet they still have to cut on much lower calories than their BMR and activity level would indicate. I believe they can definitely gain some benefit from the discussion around metabolic damage. Especially the idea that you need to feed your metabolism in the off season little by little in a controlled manner.

    So the question becomes, do we dumb down the conversation and help the masses who ask question on the forums or do we entertain the discussion for the small subset who would benefit. This is where I disagree with the OP, I don't believe we should ever dumb down the conversation and filter the truth for the ignorant. Part of what makes this forum awesome is people give you the truth, they tell you XYZ supplement sucks and the real path to success is paved in sweat and consistency.
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    1. I do not assume that; I only speak to that when the person posts their 250lb+ weight or >20 BF percentage. As for whether or not they are being truthful, who is to say? Again, my issues are not with those rare situations -- which are really so exceptional that they almost don't warrant discussion. I will say that they are hungry people and people have even reported here about sleep eating. I'm not saying that's the case but between that, the decrease in NEAT, and the fact that our methods of measuring one's RMR and TDEE may not be the most accurate for the super lean... I don't think there is an antecedent that can't be identified, explained, and cited as being state-specific to the super lean. In which case, the issue may not be properly described as metabolic adaptation any more than describing the TDEE decrease that is explained by one's weight loss. Actually, I've seen people say that they think they will -- almost arguing that one's metabolism just goes down to whatever daily amount they are taking in, as if a 200lb man wouldn't lose weight on 700 calories a day due to "starvation mode"; heck, I've seen people argue that one 4000 calorie meal a day would give you "metabolic damage" from too infrequent of daily feedings. Right, but who does this really apply to? People who are on a 3000 calorie a day deficit, while working out several hours a day at a sub-10% body fat? This would be an issue but it would be such an aberrational case that it wouldn't warrant being featured at the top of LF, which is my point. There are still tons of those threads in LF and while you may argue that it has caused less, I would argue it has caused more. No opinion on BB.com featured articles.

    ElectricHeadd
    2. Thanks for this. So, the assumption is that a sample of 100 people who are at the same weight and stats as the ones in the study would have 15% more of a TDEE, on average (I'm assuming you wouldn't say that they could actually have the same TDEE because anyone who gets to 7% will have a 15% adaptive component, because that wouldn't mean that there'd necessarily be an adaptive component - as the discrepancy, from 40% to 25%, could be explained by a miscalculation of the TDEE of people with such a low BF%). If this is the case, it is definitely an adaptive component and it does show that some people can "damage" their metabolism; now, whether or not this pretty rare effect is worthy of being featured - taking the masses' penchant for making excuses and feeling like they are unique snowflakes (see: millennial generation) into consideration, I'd argue the disclaimer is insufficient. As you know, women carry more fat than men and would, therefore, be more susceptible to this - as they may experience it at 15%, where it takes a man to 8% before he can undergo this adaptation. However, playing the percentages, women may not be as rigorous in their counting - which I have heard argued (re: monthly hormonal changes, gender-specific personality traits, coping mechanisms, and moral foundations).

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    3. How long were you at 1300 calories? How much more did you lose and for how long?

    Matman
    4. True. I am definitely not as qualified as Layne, but I didn't hear anything all-that convincing in that video; him just relaying anecdotes does very little for me. As for his substantive comments, I think I addressed them in my OP; while I know it isn't 100% of it, I think it is in most cases of a deficit in your metabolism from the start of a cut. Sorry for using such strong language, but - like I said - I really respect you as a poster and, like you said, it really isn't all that conducive towards our learning and betterment.
    Started 2012 at over 410lbs (that was as high as my scale went) and I ended the year at 260lbs.

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    Originally Posted by MoarseCode View Post
    fuk you, its real
    This thread is from 2013 and the poster you're quoting at hasn't posted here since 2017...
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