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  1. #1
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Starvation Mode?!?!

    Sorry for the book but I'm frustrated and trying to figure out what to do next.

    I’m a 36-year-old male that is 6’5” and weigh 240 lbs. with 15% bodyfat (confirmed via fat caliper self-test and scale). My goal is to build muscle while also reducing my body fat. My problem is that I’ve been unable to reduce my bodyfat for 6 months, even though I’m tracking calories consumed, burned, and making sure I’m at a deficit.

    During December of 2014 I reached my heaviest which was 255 lbs, over the next 9 months I worked out 5-6 times a week while maintaining a calorie deficit every day until I reached my lowest weight of 207 lbs at the start of September 2015. So I having a deficit works because it was very affective for me 6 years ago. Since then I’ve stayed primarily between 225-240 with varying levels of calorie tracking but staying consistent with some sort of cardio and weights.

    Starting in September 2020 I got back to regular exercise, I’ve averaged 5 days a week of cycling and weight workouts. Since March 2021, I dialed it up working out at least 6 days a week with most weeks being all 7 days. Some of the days I split up weights and cardio into 2 sessions (morning weights of 30-45 mins and evening walking or cycling of 20-45 mins). Since March I’ve maintained 235-240 with an inability to lose any meaningful bodyfat but I have been getting stronger and my cardio is improving (improved resting HR and improved max vO2).

    Below are my daily averages since mid-March:
    - Apple watch total calories burned: 4,145
    - Calories consumed 2,646
    - Calorie deficit: 1,499

    *I realize both the Apple Watch and my calorie tracking isn't 100% correct, but hard to imagine that I'm 1,499 calories off each day.

    With these averages I’ve been able to get stronger, gained about 2 lbs but unable to reduce my body fat. I feel like I’m working hard instead of smart. Why do you think I’ve been unable to further reduce my bodyfat? Is this the example of being at too big of a deficit so my body is in “starvation mode”. If so, would you recommend I decrease my deficit by a combination of burning fewer calories and eating more?
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  2. #2
    Conquer faithbrah's Avatar
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    have you taken pics? do you see a visual difference in the mirror?

    if you're losing weight while resistance training and getting stronger, your bf% is most likely going down and you trust the scale and your own measurements too much when it comes to bf%
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  3. #3
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    There is no starvation mode there is only too many calories
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    have you taken pics? do you see a visual difference in the mirror?

    if you're losing weight while resistance training and getting stronger, your bf% is most likely going down and you trust the scale and your own measurements too much when it comes to bf%
    Thanks for the feedback, I'm taking pictures with little changes since April-ish. I'm also doing circumference measurements which also is showing marginal changes. For example, the positives are:
    - biceps and forearm: 2% growth
    - waist: 3% smaller
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    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    There is no starvation mode there is only too many calories
    I also thought that was true but 1,500 calorie a day deficit is starting to make me think there is something there.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    At 240lbs, 15% bf, you'd have more lean mass than most elite level athletes have total mass.
    Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
    Galatians 4:16
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    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    At 240lbs, 15% bf, you'd have more lean mass than most elite level athletes have total mass.
    Thanks, I'm former college athlete who has worked hard but trying to get leaner.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    Thanks, I'm former college athlete who has worked hard but trying to get leaner.
    At 15%, your abs should be visible or are extremely close.
    Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
    Galatians 4:16
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    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    I also thought that was true but 1,500 calorie a day deficit is starting to make me think there is something there.
    If you're losing 3 lbs a week you know you're in a 1500 calorie a day deficit, if you're not losing 3 lbs a week then you ARE NOT in a 1500 calorie a day deficit.

    Apple watches and any other electronic mode of calorie tracking are complete nonsense.

    You are drastically overestimating your caloric burn, or underestimating your intake, or a combination of the two.

    "Starvation Mode" is complete nonsense. https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/starvation-mode/




    Reduce your intake by at least 500 calories a day.
    Last edited by xsquid99; 09-27-2021 at 03:32 PM.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  10. #10
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    At 15%, your abs should be visible or are extremely close.
    You are correct, but I don't see the definition I would like to see. Luckily the handy calipers are pretty close to the pin for estimating.
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  11. #11
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    I also thought that was true but 1,500 calorie a day deficit is starting to make me think there is something there.
    If you aren't losing 3 lbs a week you do not have a 1,500 calorie daily deficit every day for weeks on end.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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  12. #12
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    If you were in starvation mode and had a 1500 calorie per day deficit, you would be losing a lot more than 3 pounds per week. Muscle has fewer calories per pound than fat. I think it is about 3 cal per gram because of all the water. If you are not losing weight, that is better than losing muscle.
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  13. #13
    weigh, not measure mtnmama's Avatar
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    do you track every single bite or swallow that you put into your mouth - by weighing NOT measuring? meaning a kitchen scale and no meals/morsels/sips that you fail to track?

    be honest - no sense in bs here
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  14. #14
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    If you were in starvation mode and had a 1500 calorie per day deficit, you would be losing a lot more than 3 pounds per week. Muscle has fewer calories per pound than fat. I think it is about 3 cal per gram because of all the water. If you are not losing weight, that is better than losing muscle.
    Thanks for the feedback and insight.
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  15. #15
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mtnmama View Post
    do you track every single bite or swallow that you put into your mouth - by weighing NOT measuring? meaning a kitchen scale and no meals/morsels/sips that you fail to track?

    be honest - no sense in bs here
    Luckily I don't drink any calories, but I'm going to leverage the feedback of xsquid99 by dropping another 500 calories.

    I agree with him that apple watch is overestimating my calories burned in the day so I'm going to just leverage my estimated BMR + calories burned during workouts (measure by chest strap). As for consumed, I'm weighing all things that aren't prepackaged excluding leafy greens and I bet the biggest gap is any oil used in cooking the meals. Will see how the next 2-4 weeks go.

    Thanks
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    weigh, not measure mtnmama's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    Luckily I don't drink any calories, but I'm going to leverage the feedback of xsquid99 by dropping another 500 calories.

    I agree with him that apple watch is overestimating my calories burned in the day so I'm going to just leverage my estimated BMR + calories burned during workouts (measure by chest strap). As for consumed, I'm weighing all things that aren't prepackaged excluding leafy greens and I bet the biggest gap is any oil used in cooking the meals. Will see how the next 2-4 weeks go.

    Thanks
    good luck - check back in if you remember and let us know...most never do.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    If you were in starvation mode and had a 1500 calorie per day deficit, you would be losing a lot more than 3 pounds per week. Muscle has fewer calories per pound than fat. I think it is about 3 cal per gram because of all the water. If you are not losing weight, that is better than losing muscle.
    Huh?
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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  18. #18
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mtnmama View Post
    good luck - check back in if you remember and let us know...most never do.
    Sounds good, I'll tighten it up and do that.
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  19. #19
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Apple watches + My Fitness Pal= you will be way off on your calculations. Take in 10 calories for every pound you want to end up weighing and be accurate. You will be successful.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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  20. #20
    Registered User WorkoutWarrior7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mtnmama View Post
    good luck - check back in if you remember and let us know...most never do.
    Thanks for the feedback and guidance, the kick in the shorts got me on track.

    I've lost 5 lbs (2% of total body weight) in the last 16 days. Below is a summary of what I've changed:
    - Increased the intensity of my workouts, burning about 100 more calories during my workouts each day
    - I'm weighing/ measuring everything I eat, previously I was doing that for 80% of what I ate so I know my consumed calories are a lot closer to reality.
    - Outside of 2 cheat meals, I've cut out almost all processed carbs. The cheat meals weren't full blown binge sessions ;-)

    Overall I'm happy with the results, I don't need fast results just some progress.
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  21. #21
    weigh, not measure mtnmama's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback and guidance, the kick in the shorts got me on track.

    I've lost 5 lbs (2% of total body weight) in the last 16 days. Below is a summary of what I've changed:
    - Increased the intensity of my workouts, burning about 100 more calories during my workouts each day
    - I'm weighing/ measuring everything I eat, previously I was doing that for 80% of what I ate so I know my consumed calories are a lot closer to reality.
    - Outside of 2 cheat meals, I've cut out almost all processed carbs. The cheat meals weren't full blown binge sessions ;-)

    Overall I'm happy with the results, I don't need fast results just some progress.
    congrats dude!!!! almost no one reports back in - awesome to hear a positive iodate - have a sic weekend!!!
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  22. #22
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WorkoutWarrior7 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback and guidance, the kick in the shorts got me on track.

    I've lost 5 lbs (2% of total body weight) in the last 16 days. Below is a summary of what I've changed:
    - Increased the intensity of my workouts, burning about 100 more calories during my workouts each day
    - I'm weighing/ measuring everything I eat, previously I was doing that for 80% of what I ate so I know my consumed calories are a lot closer to reality.
    - Outside of 2 cheat meals, I've cut out almost all processed carbs. The cheat meals weren't full blown binge sessions ;-)

    Overall I'm happy with the results, I don't need fast results just some progress.
    Good to hear.

    BTW that IS fast results... we generally say that 1% of body weight per week is the safe limit for most people although at 240lbs you can continue that rate of loss fairly safely. Might have to bring it down as you get leaner but that is down the road yet.
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