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In her case I would up it to 1200 cal/day net and leave it there for now. It would create a deficit in the neighborhood of 600-700 cal/day, 1.2-1.4 lb/wk. That can usually be sustained fairly long. It also isn't too radical a change from the current status (slow changes > fast changes). If stalling issues come up again, bump the net cals another 100-200 up.

As long as you do a good job counting exercise cals, most women can sustain 1200 cal/day net until you enter into the ab detail zone (most guys can sustain a 1K/day deficit to the ab zone). Once you start getting the vertical lines of your abs, you need to slow your roll down to a deficit of 500 cal/day max. Same thing applies to guys (though guys tend to get horizontal lines before vertical lines). When you can start seeing abs, its a sign you're running out of fat, especially easy to mobilize fat, so you can't sustain as high of a deficit.

These are the nuggets of advice that I love finding... I started getting to the ab detail zone 2 weeks ago and I kept the same level of caloric deficit (around 800/day).  Over the last 2 weeks I have been losing alright but just not really feeling it like I used to.  I decided today to start adding more calories and drinking whole milk to make up the difference since I already eat plenty of filling food.  Thanks for confirming pretty much everything that I was thinking I should be doing!  This thread is awesome!

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Also be aware, once you start getting to the ab zone, the body starts ramping up the chemical-emotional warfare against starvation.

 

If you don't realize what is going on, it can be tough to deal with.  The hormones your body releases to fight starvation can really mess with your mind.

 

You can try to keep it at bay with refeeds, but some of it is inevitable.  When you start craving real filling food, dream and daydream about eating it, are hungry at the end of meals, and lose all desire to snack, (+ other emotional head games), time for a long reefed/diet break.

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Thanks for the tips!  I have another 2 weeks before the end of a bet that I am working on, then it will be done with dieting and up to a minor surplus, that I plan to maintain for a long time.  I haven't gotten any of those desires yet, besides the fact that after a meal all the sudden I now want something sweet to finish it off.  Which is strange because I have never been the kind of person to desire anything sweet.  Been satisfying that craving with a couple bites of fruit and everything after that is fine.

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Also be aware, once you start getting to the ab zone, the body starts ramping up the chemical-emotional warfare against starvation.

 

If you don't realize what is going on, it can be tough to deal with.  The hormones your body releases to fight starvation can really mess with your mind.

 

You can try to keep it at bay with refeeds, but some of it is inevitable.  When you start craving real filling food, dream and daydream about eating it, are hungry at the end of meals, and lose all desire to snack, (+ other emotional head games), time for a long reefed/diet break.

 

So are you saying, once a person gets to that point, they may start to feel more hungry, but it's just the body trying to be 'protective'?

 

Sorry, this concept is new (and highly refreshing) and I want to make sure I understand :)

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I found those craving (in and around ab-land) to be less real "hunger" and more about just mentally wanting food (mental hunger rather than physical hunger).  Having some coping mechanisms sorted out prior to experiencing them was a HUGE help (glass of water, gum, set of pushups, massive salad - all of these worked for me).

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Horsedog, on 09 May 2013 - 09:18, said:

I found those craving (in and around ab-land) to be less real "hunger" and more about just mentally wanting food (mental hunger rather than physical hunger). Having some coping mechanisms sorted out prior to experiencing them was a HUGE help (glass of water, gum, set of pushups, massive salad - all of these worked for me).

That doesn't sound like it got all that extreme.

This is a post I made recently in my challenge thread that is relevant to this discussion:

Waldo, on 06 May 2013 - 12:33, said:

.....part of it is that I'm starting to see the signs of hormonal shifts. The first month or so of a cut, your body is still pretty much in bulk/maintain mode, the tummy is a little rumbly at times, but for the most part the weight just easily melts away. Then it get wise to what you are up to, and it starts to fight it.

The way your body fights starvation is extremely mental, and the leaner you get the more powerful the signals are. They also are more noticable when you haven't been cutting a long time and losing a lot, when you haven't been in a state of somewhat starvation for many months, which helps to deaden the signal.

Warfare is a good analogy.

My body is is basically in the scouts/forward infantry firing some warning shots phase. Still pretty minimal, but compared to no warfare previously, it is a bit shocking at first. But this isn't my first song and dance with this, I know what is going on.

Next up comes the infantry with small arms. Some brain fog. Lethargy. Coldness. A little more mood swings, not quite as happy all the time. Hunger increases from a short lived annoyance to being fairly constant between meals. But it is easily dispatched with a little snack.

If that doesn't do the trick, out come the tanks and artillery. All of the above, except that the mood swings and general bummerness becomes much stronger. If you are prone to depression there is a decent chance its triggered. Hunger becomes a constant that is no longer cured by snacking. Even meals don't really cure hunger. Food fantasies start, where you start daydreaming/dreaming about eating really filling things (usually a lot of meat). Snacking starts to lose its appeal.

If that doesn't work, the air force gets involved. All of the above, stronger. Your body goes in serious conserve calories mode. Sex hormones get really messed up. Men completely lose all desire for sex and lose the ability to get erections. Women's periods go crazy or disappear entirely. Your emotions are completely out of control and pretty much eating is the only thing on your mind. You will seem, for all intents and purposes, crazy. Manic episodes and severe OCD.

With each step it becomes harder to deal with your bodies fight. It takes ironclad willpower to fight through since the desire to quit is so strong. Really the big guns are should only be experienced if you are cutting for a BBing show. Doing a thorough refeed causes your body to ease off.

Its good to be aware so that you can refeed when appropriate. The more you body fights, the more lean mass you lose. Day 22 now I'm starting to see the first signs. I should be good to go through to the end of the challenge, but by then I almost surely will be experiencing perma hunger and food fantasies. If I want to cut beyond that (I do currently), I will need a 1-2 week refeed, lest it get really brutal.

Last night my wife was watching Survivor, I happened to catch a little bit of it, including a prime example of a guy experiencing the extremes of the bodies fight against starvation. He was near suicidal, climing a really big tree just for a scrap of something, crying, etc...

This ascent into madness as you get leaner is the side effects of hormones, primarily ghrelin in the absence of leptin. When obese you are hypersensitive to tiny amounts of ghrelin, and the body produces very little, though this is moderated by large amounts of leptin (ghrelin is the hunger hormone). As you get leaner your sensitivity decreases but amount produced increases greatly, and the moderating effects of leptin decrease greatly. The high amounts of ghrelin ends up blocking serotonin (makes you happy and normal), testosterone, and insulin, among other hormones, making you crazy and hyper obsessed with hunger (also dropping your metabolism and consuming your muscles).

Refeeds, especially longer ones, decrease ghrelin and increase leptin, rolling back your bodies' fight against startavtion a bit.

Be aware of it and adjust accordingly. Chances are you will only experience the extremes if you get extremely lean. But when hunger becomes constant and meals cease to be satisfying, its time to consider a week or two refeed.

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How lean were/are you looking at there?  I never targeted anything lower than 12%, which was difficult for me as I've never been naturally lean...but the difficulty was more in staying consistent for long enough to reach that point.  I've definitely never experienced anything like what you're describing :numbness: .  I also do weekly refeeds whenever I run a deficit, mainly because that aligns with my lifestyle so much better (although still obviously at a weekly caloric deficit) - usually Mon-Thurs deficit, Fri-Sun maintenance.

 

Edit - ok just checked out your challenge - 8%!?!?! My hat is off to you, sir! Good luck reaching your goal, Waldo!!!

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So I kind of got glossy eyed through the first 10 posts- but I came back to re-read and I'm very glad I did. 

 

Esp knowing my friend is dealing with this- he's cutting- that's EXACTLY what's going on.... man- I really want to cut- but getting through all this stuff is a hassle.

 

Thanks for sharing Waldo- very useful... and enlightening.  

 

I have no idea how to cut which is what I'm fighting for- good read!!! 

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So I kind of got glossy eyed through the first 10 posts- but I came back to re-read and I'm very glad I did. 

 

Esp knowing my friend is dealing with this- he's cutting for his show on the 25th- that's EXACTLY what's going on.... man- I really want to cut- but getting through all this stuff is a hassle.

 

Thanks for sharing Waldo- very useful... and enlightening.  

 

I have no idea how to cut which is what I'm fighting for- good read!!!

I've only gotten to the food fantasy/perpetual hunger phase, never lost sex drive though, cutting after my last bulk (@about 12% BF, after 7 weeks of cutting). Its pretty hardcore, I lost 75 lb ending about a year ago and absolutely never experienced anything like that, though I only lost down to about 15% BF. I thought I understood what hunger was after losing all that weight; ah no.

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that's crazy- I had no idea!!

 

lol no wonder why he just stares at me like I've got 3 eyeballs LOL- his show is soon!  I'm usually kind of hyper when he gets there- around 8/9 PM. LOL so yeah- I'm a little too much for him at this phase of the cutting!

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