3

votes

Long Duration Exercise and Large Calorie Deficits

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 11, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I have been eating low carb paleo with a once-a-day eating window something like the Warrior diet idea. I have been doing this for weight loss and blood sugar control (have had a couple blood draws that show me in the pre-diabetic range and I want to nip that in the bud). In general, I like this routine. I've lost nearly 40 lbs since June 2012 and I feel pretty good.

I get most of my exercise in the form of long walks (I live and work by the sea and I have easy access to the Cape Cod Canal Rail Trail, which is very pleasant). I generally shoot for at least an hour walk per day, 3-4 miles. On weekends, sometimes (like today) I walk the entire distance out and back (14 miles). It sounds like a march but on a sunny day it really is nice.

So, the math - 14 miles at a 3.5 mph pace is something like a 1600 calorie expenditure, depending on the calculator that you use. I just polished off a nice extended dinner of several intermittent courses and even a little dessert over the last several hours (all paleo) that tally up to 1100 calories. So my intake hasn't even made up for my activity expenditures, never mind my basal metabolic rate of about 2000 calories per day. So a summary of the math:

Out - In = Deficit 1600 + 2000 - 1100 = 2500 calorie deficit remaining!

I feel fine - not tired or hungry or anything. But is there anything inherently wrong with this size of a deficit? Any pitfalls that I should be wary of? I do have some weight yet to lose so a 2500 calorie deficit is not alarming on that front.

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on November 11, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Leptin is something I wonder about, particularly because my hunger signaling is variable. If I wanted to I could probably go several days without eating, I just don't get a hunger pang. However I've noticed when I go too long without that I tend to get an angry feeling (a stress response I presume), so I make sure to have my evening fast-breaking. I was really pushing low carb, and I am still relatively low carb now, but I am less dogmatic about it. I might need to be a bit more pro-active about getting good carbs as I still tend to avoid them (outside of green vegetables and such).

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on November 11, 2012
at 01:23 AM

I think in the past I have bumped into some cortisol issues while tweaking my eating and exercise habits, but I am getting better at recognizing those symptoms and smarter at avoiding them. Today I walked 14 miles, tomorrow I'll sleep in and putter around the house. I don't do these sorts of deficits daily, perhaps once a week or so. On a daily basis I am usually more in the 500-1000 kcal deficit range, some days I break even. Weight is still coming off at about a pound per week.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on November 11, 2012
at 01:23 AM

...or plummeting Leptin. If you lose a ton of weight through low calorie dieting plus long duration exercise you can get in trouble with really low leptin situation I think. So, the occasional (once a week?) carb fest is something some folks use not just as a mental health "cheat" day but to help raise leptin levels for better fat loss.

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4 Answers

3
8425f2fefc608f58a8cc0f2dcaa93341

(381)

on November 11, 2012
at 12:59 AM

I don't think there is any harm in it, especially since you still have some weight to lose and you say you're feeling good.

On a daily basis, I burn 1000-1200 calories from running. I started doing it while I was quite overweight, and I would often find that at the end of the day, I had a large calorie deficit. Now, I'm down to about 10% BF, and I find that my hunger levels go along very much with my level of physical activity for the day. There's no way I could rack up a 1000 calorie deficit now days like I could when I was overweight.

If I were you, I'd just keep an eye out for the symptoms of high cortisol because both the once-a-day eating schedule and the large calorie deficit could contribute to it. A quick search on PH about high cortisol symptoms will reveal a lot of threads about it.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on November 11, 2012
at 01:23 AM

...or plummeting Leptin. If you lose a ton of weight through low calorie dieting plus long duration exercise you can get in trouble with really low leptin situation I think. So, the occasional (once a week?) carb fest is something some folks use not just as a mental health "cheat" day but to help raise leptin levels for better fat loss.

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on November 11, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Leptin is something I wonder about, particularly because my hunger signaling is variable. If I wanted to I could probably go several days without eating, I just don't get a hunger pang. However I've noticed when I go too long without that I tend to get an angry feeling (a stress response I presume), so I make sure to have my evening fast-breaking. I was really pushing low carb, and I am still relatively low carb now, but I am less dogmatic about it. I might need to be a bit more pro-active about getting good carbs as I still tend to avoid them (outside of green vegetables and such).

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on November 11, 2012
at 01:23 AM

I think in the past I have bumped into some cortisol issues while tweaking my eating and exercise habits, but I am getting better at recognizing those symptoms and smarter at avoiding them. Today I walked 14 miles, tomorrow I'll sleep in and putter around the house. I don't do these sorts of deficits daily, perhaps once a week or so. On a daily basis I am usually more in the 500-1000 kcal deficit range, some days I break even. Weight is still coming off at about a pound per week.

1
Medium avatar

on November 11, 2012
at 02:39 AM

Walking is so low-impact, imo, that you were probably utilizing fat stores more than food stores and if you're really overweight, that's a great thing. I usually have a 300-500 calorie deficit on top of my 1000 cals deficit a day (to lose 2 lbs a week) and I also feel fine.

So glad I haven't seen anything here about 'starvation mode' btw. It's just not something an obese or overweight person needs to worry about.

Congrats on your loss, by the way! I've had a similar loss since June and I feel like 7 bajillion bucks!

1
0425dfe4b5f5a87181043a542f4d29f6

on November 11, 2012
at 02:31 AM

I would say that you're okay, taking into consideration that your activity level is fairly mild.

I would ensure that you're getting enough of the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that your body needs in order to continue operating at its peak though.

Here's a video on the impact of Insulin management for individuals seeking to maximize their fat-loss on an Intermittent Fasting program. [3 minutes]

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on November 11, 2012
at 01:59 AM

Walking is such mild exercise I think that the calorie burn that calculators tell you should be mostly disregarded. Walking does burn calories, but I just don't think the exertion is enough to cause a lot of negative health problems. It's just walking. Now if you were running for hours and hours every single day, maybe that would cause some cortisol or leptin issues, but your body can adapt to walking so well as to make it virtually a net almost-nothing to your day.

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