The Girl Who Could (Formerly) Eat Anything

Getting fit and taking names

Eat More to Lose More

I know, I know. It’s counterintuitive. I’ve been admonished by a particular blowhard on a message board that this is against the laws of thermodynamics.

The problem is, the human body isn’t a machine and every metabolism is individual.

When I was on Weight Watchers, I found that I lost larger amounts of weight in the weeks I ate all of my points (daily, weekly and activity) than the weeks I didn’t. I was informed by that same blowhard that I was a liar. Or possibly an idiot who didn’t know how to read a scale and subtract.

To be honest, I was at a loss as to how to explain why it was happening. All I knew was that it was.

Two weeks ago, I lost 1.5 pounds and had eaten almost every calorie allotted or burned. Last week, I barely ate at all and lost .5. So far this week, I’ve far out-eaten last week and as of this morning, my weight was down 1.5. This may or may not be the case come Saturday morning, but it is the case at this moment.

So, I’ve thought long and hard about this subject and I think I have a way to explain why it may be that makes sense. I’m no scientist. I’ve done no trials. I’m just using some common sense.

First, I’ll point out that there are people on Weight Watchers who absolutely cannot eat beyond their daily points and still lose. Some even gain. Some are like me and some fall somewhere in the middle. What’s true for me may not be true for you. But this is my theory:

We’ve all heard that a body is like a car. It needs fuel to function. Metabolism is what we call whatever the mechanism is that burns that fuel.

If we don’t give our bodies enough fuel, the metabolism will slow down to conserve calories. You shouldn’t stop losing weight in that case (or there would be a lot of fat anorexics out there), but you will lose more slowly and it will be that much more difficult to go back to regular eating without gaining back everything you lost.

If you eat too many calories, you’re going to either stall or gain weight.

Somewhere in the middle lies a person’s optimal calorie intake. I think that is what makes the difference in my losses. If I eat below my optimal fuel burning point, my losses slow. If I eat right at it, my losses speed up.

Last week, I just wasn’t hungry. That’s rarely a problem. But I’ve never been one to eat when not hungry. I am not a binge eater or an emotional eater. It just happens that when I was hungry in the past, I ate the wrong foods and wasn’t moving enough. So, not being hungry much last week, my calorie counts were very low. And I paid for that on Saturday.

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September 8, 2010 - Posted by | Nothing More Than Feelings, Progress, Tips

11 Comments »

  1. So, do you eat a little bit every couple of hours or do you eat meals? The grazing can help boost your metabolism and keep your energy higher longer. I’m glad you realized you needed to consume a bit more food.

    Comment by thebrokengirl | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m not that specific about it. I eat when I’m hungry. 1,200 calories doesn’t leave a lot of room for snacks, and eating just a little every few hours ends up leaving me starving all the time.

      I’ve heard very different things about the idea of eating every few hours and whether it’s beneficial or makes a difference. Since most of the people pushing that tend to be personal trainers, my instinct is to say it’s bunk. If you feel better doing it, then do it. But I think it’s a matter of calories in vs. calories out, and it doesn’t matter when you eat them.

      Comment by Renee | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. Yes, it is a matter of calories in vs. calories out, but you still need to leave yourself a good amount instead of burning the majority off during exercise.
    You’re right 1,200 calories isn’t a lot to ration throughout the day. With your exercise couldn’t you up your calories a little and still lose the weight? You might not lose as quickly (which if you want to keep it off, is the way to go), but you’d still lose.

    Comment by thebrokengirl | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I do lose more when I eat more of my calories. But I just haven’t been hungry. I don’t eat when I’m not hungry, just to eat, ya know? I went to bed last night not hungry and woke up this morning not hungry. I did eat breakfast, but I feel full still — and it’s been two hours.

      I think that’s why I had such a small loss this past week.

      Comment by Renee | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  3. I wish I had days when I didn’t feel hungry. Since starting this thing on MFP I’ve been waking up hungry every day.

    Comment by thebrokengirl | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • You’ll get used to it and won’t feel as hungry. Do you feel better when you get closer to your calorie goal? You seem to be under it every day. If you’re hungry, you need to eat — or change WHAT you’re eating. You need some fiber, fat and protein with every meal or snack to stay satisfied. Adding some canola or flax oil to cereal or yogurt or whatever helps.

      Anyway, this not feeling hungry thing is not normal for me. My body seems to go through phases. I’m either so hungry I can’t get enough to eat for weeks or I have no appetite at all. I’m in the no appetite stage at the moment.

      Well, I have an appetite, just not a huge one.

      Comment by Renee | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. No, it’s not better when I’m closer to my calorie goal. I do eat. I feel like I’ve been eating quite a lot. I eat plenty of fiber, fat and protein. Especially fiber and protein. I eat lentils, beans, whole grains. I add flax seeds to a lot of things. I drink plenty of water too. Maybe I need more fruit and veggies, but those don’t make me feel full either.

    Comment by thebrokengirl | September 8, 2010 | Reply

    • At this point, it may just be a matter of letting your body get used to eating less food. I haven’t read it, but a lot of people I know have had great success reading The Beck Diet Solution Workbook. You can find it used on Amazon for a little cheaper than the store if you’re interested in it.

      Comment by Renee | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  5. I agree that it’s an individual experience. For me, what works the best is not having sugar spikes and grazing.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Comment by meeshelleneal | September 8, 2010 | Reply

  6. I think you are absolutely right that there are exceptions to the eating enough to keep your metabolism up rule. For most, eating a healthy, balanced diet works but there are those who will gain or maintain regardless. In those cases, it may be that the fitness routine needs some tweaking. I firmly believe that there is a path to success for everyone, it just may take some experimentation to find it.

    Comment by karen-fitnessjourney | September 9, 2010 | Reply

    • The fitness routine burns more calories. It’s a matter of finding the right balance, One can eat more if one burns more calories. If your metabolism is especially slow, obviously, one would have to eat a lot less than others.

      Comment by Renee | September 9, 2010 | Reply


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