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Old 10-02-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
Jeff Belyeu
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Calorie Deficit Question

I have read several references before that if you have too much of a calorie deficit, your body will go into a "survival" mode and try to hold onto the fat stores it has. In order to have enough energy, your body breaks down muscle. My question is, how much of a calorie deficit do you have to run in order to worry about this type of thing? I am eating zone-like. I have read the CFJ articles, and several threads here. I have read testimonials that a strict zone diet can improve your performance on the WODs. I am not sure I will be that committed right now. I am thinking that the workouts and intensity will improve the WODs, and the diet will (hopefully) take care of the spare tire type of mental picture of things. If I don't get all my blocks in a given day, I am just curious if I am losing more fat, or losing muscle. Perhaps you only process the muscle if you run extreme calorie deficits, but I can't find a thread that covers that aspect of the question.

If it's helpful, here's my current info.
36 yoa, 5'10", 165#, guessing 20% bf

typical day's food intake
bfast- 2 eggs, 3 slices ham, 1 slice cheese, handful grapes, plum, sometimes make eggs, etc. into sandwich w/ 2 slices wheat bread
lunch - chicken breast w/ cheese, grilled onions & mushrooms, grilled veggies, cup of fruit, butter used on veggies
dinner - can of tuna w/ diced apple, nectarine, nuts
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:42 PM   #2
George Mounce
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

I'd suggest tracking your food with something like (wfs) www.fitday.com for a week and really measure your food.

You said Zone like - but the Zone requires measurements to be accurate.

Hard to tell when you don't say exactly how much of something you are eating.
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:39 PM   #3
Cory Osborne
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

There is truth in what you have heard. Your body starts storing for survival around 2100 calories. Where the 2000 calorie diet on all the food labels you see came from is beyond me. FYI, the prisoners of the concentration camps got a serving of 900 calories a day. Some anorectics would look at you in disgust for eating 900 calories a day for it is too much. Anyway, men should have around 2800 calories at least, women about 2500. But are calories what you should be concerned with? Not really... You're wasting time that you could be training, or being better husband, father, friend, wife etc... Think of it this way, when you eat an apple that is 44 calories, will fill you up more than all the hype of 100 calorie snack packs which are made up of mostly cookies or processed foods. Try to keep some fruit or almonds with you for those times when all you have is the snack machine around the corner. Good luck!
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:06 AM   #4
Jay Cohen
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Osborne View Post

There is truth in what you have heard. Your body starts storing for survival around 2100 calories. . Anyway, men should have around 2800 calories at least, women about 2500.
2800 calories for Men????????? What age, what activity level, who arrived at that number??

Are you saying this is a average caloric intake number??
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Old 10-03-2007, 04:27 AM   #5
Aileen Reid
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

It is generally advised that you don't go less than 20% less than maintenance.

I think its hard to make generalisations. I had a DEXA scan for body composition recently and so I know my body composition and my fat free mass. So for me I can use the formulae around on the net for resting matabolic rate. Then I factor in activity. Use that figure and take 20% off it for dieting without losing muscle mass etc etc.

For example, I am 5 foot 2 1/2, 63 kg in total with muscle mass of 44.8 kg, bone 2.6 kg and fat 15.9 kg. My RMR is about 1480 cals/day, my maintenance is around 2000 so I diet on 1740.

Really it comes down to having a good estimate of your fat free mass.
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:08 AM   #6
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

There's a zone of efficient FAT loss that exists in a range of calorie deficit that is sufficient to cause burning of fat stores, but not so excessive as to alert the body to hold onto fat and dump muscle. Since one pound of fat represents 3500 calories, to lose that pound of fat, you have to consume 3500 fewer calories than you need. If you create a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories, you will lose one pound of fat per week. This is generally sustainable over time, and spares your muscle tissue.

Now, how many calories a given individual should eat in order to create that daily calorie deficit depends on how many calories they need to maintain their current weight. This is where we burn calories:

1. Basal or Resting Metabolic rate: the number of calories it takes to keep you alive lying in bed and not moving--the mechanical and chemical processes of being alive. The more muscle tissue you have, the higher this number will be. One pound of muscle, on average, requires about 50 calories a day AT REST. One pound of fat, on average requires about 2 calories a day at rest. This is why the Zone requirements are based upon estimates of lean body mass.

2. Your lifestyle calorie requirements: how many calories you burn in the course of your usual day. A landscape worker will burn more calories than a medical transcriptionist.

3. The number of calories you burn in deliberate exercise.

Add those up, and that's how many calories you require to maintain your current weight. If you eat somewhat fewer calories than that, you will lose fat.

A good website that explains all this better than I is: http://www.hussmanfitness.org/index.html (w/f safe)

Susie
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:00 PM   #7
Cory Osborne
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

Quote from Jay Cohen:
2800 calories for Men????????? What age, what activity level, who arrived at that number?? Are you saying this is a average caloric intake number??

My Reply:
This number comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Also, I'm not sure if you're asking about my reference regarding how the body goes into starvation at 2100 calories, if so, check out the study the World Health Organization (WHO) did through it's experience with worldwide starvation.
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:34 PM   #8
George Mounce
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

From the USDA what you are referring to is this (wfs):

http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/dis...es_amount.html

While also the USDA tells you to eat a ton of starchy foods, and a load of crap. They basically in their new guidelines say a pizza is a complete meal because it takes from starches, meats and veggies (while a tomato is a fruit).

The USDA makes people fat. How do I know this? Well the USA is the fattest and its guidelines if they are good should make people healthier. Even Subway claims to fit to the American Heart Association guidelines for good eating. Great! Except the "halo of healthy" as it it called around the supposed "I'm eating at Subway therefore I can eat more healthy food" is causing Americans on average to eat 300 more calories at Subway then they would at McD's (reference wfs: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...mcsubway_N.htm)

Point I'm making is most people on these boards realize they are as unique as they are alike. Everyone needs are different and a random number according to a general calculation does not work when determining people's needs. Those 2800 calorie people also need a good kick in the butt to do something better before they die of a heart attack as well.

/rant off
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:39 PM   #9
Garrett Smith
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

I'm going to have to do a typical day of mine on FitDay sometime.

I'd guess I get around 2000 calories a day, I'm far from starving at 6', 178#, and less than 10% BF. Somebody please tell my body that it should be atrophying and withering away...Seriously, Corey, the WHO is not a health reference anyone should use.

The calorie theory is pure bunk anyway. There's a whole lot more to food and the neuroendocrine response to food than how much carbs/protein/fats are contained within. It's not that simple.
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:12 PM   #10
Scott Clark
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Re: Calorie Deficit Question

That 2,800 for men and 2,500 for women is asinine. That sounds likes some bodybuilding talk there! For someone to throw those numbers out there without any consideration of a multitude of factors makes no sense whatsoever.

I generally take it about 2,200/day on average, but always stay between 2000 - 2500 except cheats where it goes much higher
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