I think when it comes to eating, the key is that nutrition matters more than calories. If you read that Starvation Diet study, the purpose was to specifically study starvation as happened during the wars and the diet was limited to things like potatoes, rutebagas, macaroni, etc. So, it wasn't healthy and balanced. I think a 1600 calorie diet that includes lots of fruits/veggies/eggs/meats/beans, etc. is going to produce different health results than a 1600 calorie diet of primarily starches and sugars w/o fruits/veggies/healthy proteins (like meat and eggs or beans).
I know I am able to calorie restrict w/o feeling hungry/tired or having negative psycological effects IF I eat A TON of fruits/veggies (especially green leafy veggies a day). However, I do find that type of diet does cost more(produce tends to be expensive, especially if you are consuming A LOT of it), and time (as it may mean shopping more frequently to prevent produce from going bad). But, if I really focus on eating nutrient-dense foods, then I can eat less calories w/o any negative effects. However, if I decrease calories but spend some of my fewer calories on more "empty" foods (like cereals, pasta, etc.) then I do feel all those negative effects and when I go off that diet end up eating more.
Homeschooling mom to 4
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I have personally lost about 80lbs through exercise....however a few points. at the time this started I was 14, 5'9" and 225lbs. I lost the weight on what amounts to a 4000cal/day diet of junk food. I was walking about 5 miles total per day (speed walking with my backpack for school) I cleaned 20 12'x20' horse stalls with a pick and a wheel barrow, and I rode between 4 and 6 hrs per day (show jumping, cross country and western reining not just walking along a trail). as far as I can tell I was burning between 6000 and 8000cal per day.
This may have been effective to loose weight at the time but several years of that lifestyle tore my body a new one. It is simply unrealistic to think that you can maintain that level of activity and consumption to burn it off indefinitely. Not. Gonna. Happen.
I lost my baby weight through a combo of calorie restriction and mild to moderate exercise such as walking at least 1 hr per day with DD in her carrier and running/jogging at least 20 later that night. There is absolutely no way I could have lost it through exercise alone. those years of eating whatever the hell I wanted RUINED my appetite left to my own devices I would still be eating around 3500 cal a day and I would have the fat to prove it. I think for most mama calorie restriction with SOME light exercise is the way to go.
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