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Re: Why diets fail
12 Mar 2014, 00:43
Sallyo wrote: I don't get what you're saying about two different names? Is that in the video?

some people call it "starvation mode" and it's also related to "set points". The scientific term is adaptive thermogenesis. Sometimes starvation mode refers to something else entirely, but otherwise, I think they all more or less refer to the same thing. Giving it more names just adds to the confusion! (As far as I can tell, it's not particularly well understood anyway)

edit to add a link to this thread, where all of this is discussed extensively: the-5-2-lab-f10/change-in-tdee-with-weight-loss-t11078.html
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Re: Why diets fail
12 Mar 2014, 01:42
I think what works for me on the 5:2 WOL is that I am not having to restrict entire food groups e.g. Carbs, I still can eat them, even "bad" carbs occasionally. The second you tell me that I am never allowed to eat something I immediately want it and even worse is the fact that I want a lot of it. Allow me to have something bad and if I end up eating it it is only in small quantities and so often I have found that on a feast day the food that I so desperately wanted when I was fasting is no longer appealing. Which is probably why I found a packet of Tim tams (chocloate coated chocolate cookies for our friends in the US) that had gone out of date. They weren't even hiding in the cupboard, they were sitting front and centre in my pantry highly visible every time I opened the pantry door.

The major difference for me is the mental victory that is leading me to change what I am physically doing to myself.

I think if they continue to research IF, ADF etc the next 10-20years of nutrition research is going to be very interesting indeed.
Re: Why diets fail
12 Mar 2014, 09:53
Yes, I agree. @TheFrog. Forbidden food is the most irresistible. That's why 5:2 works for me.

Amanda Salis doesn't use 'starvation mode'. But I guess it is the same thing as 'famine reaction' she does use the term 'set point' which is the weight your body thinks it should be and tries to stay at. That's why we zigzag down and sometimes step down in weight instead of it being a straight line down.
Re: Why diets fail
12 Mar 2014, 11:06
My interpretation of the famine reaction is that it ha nothing to do with any change metabolism but everything to do with hypothalamic pathways driving appetite and possibly leptin levels.

Adaptive thermogenesis refers to changes in metabolism and NEAT but not appetite.

Starvation mode is by contrast to do with metabolic alterations seen when body fat drops to around 5% as seen in the Minnesota experiment. This involves a more dramatic drop in metabolism, thyroid function, brain changes etc.

So I think the different terms refer to different phenomena.
Re: Why diets fail
13 Mar 2014, 00:47
I sort of agree, but they're all related to adaptations that takes place when we lose a certain amount of weight (except "starvation mode" which when used correctly, is something different). And aren't all these adaptations (in appetite, metabolism, etc.) likely to be linked?

I found it heartening that one of the reviews in the thread I started about lower than normal TDEE came out of a meeting, where everyone got together to try to reduce the confusion in terminology as well as make some sense of the mechanism of what is happening after people lose weight. I'm a bit too obsessed with this at the moment, having reached goal weight, then gained, and struggling to get back to goal weight, in spite of 4:3/ADF and lots of exercise.
Re: Why diets fail
13 Mar 2014, 22:54
kencc wrote: What I find disappointing about this type of article is that it appears to perpetuate the "famine reaction" or "starvation mode" myth that there's some sort of automatic "reduction in metabolism" perhaps similar to a dormouse's body functions slowing right down when it hibernates i.e. we lose weight; our body substantially reduces temperature, substantially slows down brain functioning, heart rate, other essential body organs, etc, etc to such an extent that we inevitably remain on a weight plateau.

But it doesn't happen that way ..... in some cases there may be a relatively small slowing down of metabolism but the two major effects are .....
Firstly, the body manipulates the hunger hormones which makes us hungrier than before so we're more likely to increase portion sizes etc. For example, in 5:2 we're more likely to eat more than our "normal" eating on a non-fasting day.
Secondly, the body tries to lower energy expenditure by making us feel tired and lethargic so we sit more etc and even, perhaps, reducing NEAT by reducing the number of times we turn over in bed, reducing fidgeting, etc.

Plateaus are not inevitable; however it may be extremely difficult to withstand the hunger pangs and it may be difficult to sustain energy expenditure at previous levels.


I always find your comments good @Kencc. Could you elaborate on your statements here with implications for strategies to lose weight over a period of time and nearing a target weight loss. Maybe with emphasis on people like me who had say 6kg to lose and have just one or two kilos to go to get to a correct weight or BMI. What should or shoudnt we do? Indeed do you have any good advice in establishing just when we should stop trying to lose more weight. I read BMI may not be the best measure anyway.

You may have already explained in other threads, but many newcomers on the forum who I am sure would be very interested in your advice.
Re: Why diets fail
14 Mar 2014, 01:35
If you haven't looked already at the link to burnthefatblog in stephent's post in your other thread, I highly recommend it: http://www.burnthefatblog.com/archives/ ... isited.php
Re: Why diets fail
14 Mar 2014, 13:20
kencc wrote: @Juliana.Rivers

My usual stuff ......
1. I don't count calories and I don't know my TDEE. I weigh daily and draw a trendline. If the trendline is level then I have a rough idea that the type of meals I'm eating are about my 'normal' calorie intake for maintenance. If I'm on 5:2 and the trendline drops then I have a rough idea that my 'normal' eating days are about right.
2. People who eat boring food lose weight faster. Why would anyone have a range of menus for 200 calorie meals?
3. May be discipline is too strong a word but you need some form of structure to eating/activity levels.
4. You need to lose about 4lbs. Pick a 6 week period that is likely to have minimum stress, big social events etc and as far as possible apply a structured 5:2 for that 6 weeks.
5. Whether you eat 500casl or 600cals on a fast day makes no difference.
6. Much more important to have a structured eating plan on as many normal eating days as you can e.g. 2 light meals, one largish meal and 2 glasses of wine ... or whatever
7. On normal eating days very approximately (i.e. not obsessively) try to manage the size of meals so that you are truly hungry for 2 hours before the main meal. That is a very rough indication you are in a bit of a calorie deficit and you have not eaten more than TDEE. If you don't feel that hunger then eat more sensibly for the main meal.
8. Have a structured daily body movement/activity plan. No absurd intensive aerobic Exercise with a capital E because that will only increase water retention, make you tired, make you hungry and make you gain weight. Steady pace activity like walking or step-ups while watching TV or whatever. Stay on your feet; no sitting on exercise bikes etc ... you need to get the biggest muscles moving to burn the most calories; the biggest muscles are in your butt and your thighs. Personally, whatever activities I have during the day, I spend 60 to 90 minutes a day walking on my treadmill watching TV so that I make sure I get the minimum structured exercise I think I need.

Typed quickly so may not all make sense.


Thank you for your suggestions @kencc. makes sense to me. I see you recommend some amount of "structure" or control on normal eating days which is a little different to many peoples' methods. The not eating unless your hungry on a normal day is good

do i read from this that you are not into H.I.T. (HIGH intensity training) concepts, as promoted in MM's new book, Fast Exercise.
Re: Why diets fail
14 Mar 2014, 13:22
kencc wrote: @Juliana.Rivers

Establishing a target weight

1. Fat around the stomach is bad, bad, bad. Most important to lose enough weight that waist/height ratio is less than 50%.
2. Statistically, the lowest risk of developing nasty stuff like type 2 diabetes, heart problems, hypertension, some cancers is BMI 21/22.
3. Family history. My wife's family have a history of type 2 diabetes. At BMI 24 my wife's blood tests show she would soon be on medication for diabetes. At BMI 21/22 it's still inevitable she will get diabetes but perhaps not for another 20 years. She tries to stay at BMI 21/22.
4. General health. At BMI 25 I get an absurd pot belly and develop occasional sleep apnea and occasional acid reflux. Below BMI 24 I don't. I try to stay BMI 22/23.
5. Aesthetics. I'm an ectomorph. I put on weight above BMI 24 but I still have thin arms/legs but absurd pot belly. I'm too old to to care about how I look but see above about waist/height ratio and general health. An aesthetically pleasing body size often equates to healthy.


Interesting. if i gain even a little weight , for me its all in the tummy such that i can almost predict weight by feeling tummy when i weigh myself. Arms are staying thin for me too. Good news is boobs are still there too. :oops:

im the late 23's early 24s for BMI so definitely need to loose my tummy / lose weight still
Re: Why diets fail
16 Mar 2014, 03:10
Thanks again @Kenccfor your detailed response on my question about HIT

I think i like your approach particularly if you are overweight or obese when one starts 5:2. The weight has to go first but moderate "non exercise" activity as much as can be sustained whilst losing weight is a good idea.

I started up the HIT club in here at the beginning of the year but just after sustained some kind of muscle injury to right arm so just taking it easy so to speak. And then my house renovations got in the way dusting off the treadmill and bringing it in from the garage into the house. Or that's my excuses anyway.

I'm conscious of sitting too long at my desk so getting up as much as possible. Wish i can go for walks more as I used to love doing that.

Kencc is a 30 minute brisk walk in the neighbourhood good. or does it have to be longer than 30 minutes to be beneficial?
Re: Why diets fail
16 Mar 2014, 03:36
Great thread thanks lots of food for thought especially appreciate Ken's expanding on questions.
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