This is exactly like a dog chasing its own tail going round in circles, because while your busy trying to lower your calories to decrease fat stores, your body is constantly monitoring your energy intake and adjusting your energy expenditure to match that energy intake so that fat stores are preserved and held constant.
The very moment you start consciously cutting calories, you become the dog chasing its own tail. Your chasing something which is in turn chasing you back. Your trying to create a large gap between energy in and energy out, meanwhile your body is constantly trying to close that same gap,
Referring back to the Myths/presumptions paper on obesity, we can quite easily see why Myth #1 is false.....
Myth number 1: Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes.
This notion that if you over-eat 10 calories per day youll gain 1lb of fat in 350 days is completely backwards logic and putting the cart before the horse. The faulty logic is that "we need to regulate our energy intake to match our energy expenditure" to be weight stable. This is NOT how it works. This is backwards. Whats REALLY happening is that energy expenditure is constantly being tweaked to match energy intake. Its not that we have to fine tune our energy intake to match our energy expenditure over the long term to remain weight stable.
Instead, our energy expenditure is constantly being fine tuned to match energy intake over the longterm. THATS why normal lean people remain weight stable despite wild fluctuations in energy intake.
The reason it works this way is simple. Energy availability from the environment is unpredictable. The organisms body cannot force the organism to intake a certain amount of calories per day because that calorie availability is completely unknown and uncertain. Instead biology has evolved to manipulate its energy expenditure based on the energy intake the organism can achieve in that day.
To correct myth 1, it should be re-stated as....
Changes in energy expenditure will occur in response to changes in energy intake such that over the long-term energy expenditure will match energy intake..
All the evidence I have seen indicates that fat stores are the most protected commodity in the body. Long term starvation usually results in death from organ failure due to loss of lean mass, Death from starvation never results from fat mass reaching zero. I.E. , you never run out of calories. Your body values its fat stores more than the lean mass. But we also have to remember that lean mass loss in starvation is because your body is reducing energy output, like a crew on a sinking ship thats throwing stuff over-board so as to reduce its weight and keep it afloat, your body throws out stuff that contributes to energy expenditure.
I enjoyed the latest spark form Gary Taubes, he makes the same point that many of us have been throwing around for yonks, i.e. that the overeating causes obesity type of thinking is circular logic.
Why do we get fat? Because we overeat.
How do we know we’re overeating? Because we’re getting fatter.
And why are we getting fatter? Because we’re overeating.
And so it goes, round and round.
I have argued previously that even the concept and word "overeating" is all but impossible to define. At no point can you feed someone amount of calories X and then confidently say whether or not you have "overfed" them. This is because, the current way "overfed" is defined is if you feed someone X amount of calories and that they gain weight from it. But it is (nigh) impossible to predict how much weight someone will gain from feeding them X calories.
Lets say I take a random person off the street, and feed them 5000 calories for the day. But thats the ONLY information I give you. How are you gonna predict if and how much weight they will gain? You cant, because I havent told you anything about the persons genetic and/or metabolic status, nor have I told you what im feeding them with. I could be feeding them with 5000 calories of doughnuts or 5000 calories of fatty meat and vegetables. Simply focusing on caloric intake alone gets you NOWHERE.