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  1. #1

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I was thinking about this today at the gym as I tried to force myself through my last weight training session before my recovery week. If you're battling a cold, allergies, whatever in a decent caloric deficit (say, 700-1000 calories a week), will fat loss slow or stop because your body is in some kind of conservation mode?

    And in the same vein, are you substantially slowing down your recovery from illness by continuing to eat in that deficit?

  2. #2

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I would say that your body, if anything, is expending MORE energy while you're sick - fever, in particular - fighting against the illness... however, you are also likely to be dragging and more tired so perhaps not doing much (any) NEAT as your body focuses on the battle. Not sure how allergies would affect energy usage (if at all).

    As for recovery from illness - I wouldn't want to be in a significant deficit because you need energy to fight back to health. RECOVERY. I'm not saying you have to go to full maintenance cals or higher, but if you're trying to get over being sick (when you have also, potentially, been way low on calories due to either GI issues or just plain feeling like crap), if you're hungry, I'd think it's best to eat.

    A little head cold or allergies, maybe not as big a deal...

    Hopefully others will weigh in on this as well...

  3. #3

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Bytsi covered it more or less: especially when body temperature is higher, you are going to expend MORE calories, not less.
    However, the sicker you are, the less you're going to move, so NEAT will be down a lot.

    An interesting phenomenon: when you're healing from illness (and no longer feel sick) maintenance can be higher for several weeks, depending on the severity of your sickness and the extent you've lost LBM. The raised mtn is often due to 'muscle memory'.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Quote Originally Posted by "krispy1138":3i19bouq
    I was thinking about this today at the gym as I tried to force myself through my last weight training session before my recovery week. If you're battling a cold, allergies, whatever in a decent caloric deficit (say, 700-1000 calories a week), will fat loss slow or stop because your body is in some kind of conservation mode?

    And in the same vein, are you substantially slowing down your recovery from illness by continuing to eat in that deficit?
    Last winter I pushed through a cold that went into a mild bout of bronchitis and the thing ended up dragging on for 3 months. At the beginning I didn't think I was all that sick but boy by the end I was totally wrung out. It took another 2 or 3 months after that before I felt myself again. I'm sick right now and I'm doing things totally different this time around. I purposefully planted my butt on the couch and I must say I think it's helping. I still feel like crap but I don't have that bone weariness I did last winter. Of course this time I've had a bit of a fever with the crud so it was a little more obvious that rest was needed.

    I agree with the other posters that your energy expenditure may be higher or lower depending on the circumstances. Obviously a deficit wouldn't be optimal nutrition for healing but whether it impedes healing/fat loss would probably depend on what kind of nutrients you're taking in and how severe the deficit is and the duration and severity of the illness.

    I know when I get sick calories end up low man on my totem pole. I just try to eat when I'm hungry and I usually don't aim for a specific calorie target. I usually end up losing a little weight or maintaining during ordinary stuff. Last winter I did end up gaining a little weight about 5 lbs when all was said and done. I'm not complaining though it could have been a lot worse considering I wasn't tracking my food at the time and I was on high dose steroids for a few weeks.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Diana

  5. #5

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I went through what Diana described in January/February time frame as well.

    I got sick Jan 4th, bounced back and went back to doing NROL4W. Then a week and a half I got sicker than a dog. I was out of work for 4 days because I couldn't get up the energy to do anything else. After I was finally able to go back to work it was a good month and half to two months before I felt better and back to normal.

    I'd err on the side of caution and bump up to maintainance. Why push through and risk making yourself sicker for a longer period of time?

  6. #6

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    The best sign you've recovered is an insatiable appetite once you're on the way back. Don't fight it too much but tone down after a few days. You'd be surprised how little of an impact overeating will have when you're healing.

    The one thing that I'd truly hate about sudden disease-caused weight/fat loss is that it shows so much in the face. That's a weird phenomenon most people can do very well without.. (unless they are the rare type of chubby-faced persons).

  7. #7

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I can attest to this. I pulled a rest/maintenance week forward when I picked up whatever was going around the college. Also, because I wasn't feeling well it was a complete rest week. I did next to nothing (the last time I still did garden chores for at least half the week). I ended the week actually 0.2 pounds down. Oddly enough I felt like I hadn't accomplished anything.

  8. #8
    blueice08
    Guest

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Definately agree with a few of the others.

    From my personal experience when ill I have always lost weight, your body definately uses more energy trying to combat the illness. I lost a lot of weight from being sick even when I wasn't training at the same time.

  9. #9

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    And unfortunately it's often way more LBM than fat. Fortunately it comes back quickly, hence why your maintenance will be higher also after recovery.

  10. #10

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I have been sick for at least 10 days ... I have rested a lot, eaten whatever I felt I needed to, and slept as much as possible.

    I have found that for me personally with my "sensitive system" I have to rest or I just drag out the illness longer. Totally not worth it!

  11. #11

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I'm the same way, Julie. If I don't stop when I get sick, it'll go on for weeks. Ah, the joy of immunosuppressants!

  12. #12
    jcruver
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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    This may or may not apply but thought I would chime in anyway.

    Recently (Oct. 10th) had surgery (cervical fusion) and was pretty much laid up for 4 or5 weeks prior to that. I lost 17lbs and honestly I think I was eating fairly 'bad' (lots of take out dinners..ect). Now that I am starting to recover I am trying to eat as clean as possible because I am starting to get more and more hungry by the day (I am thinking it is my body healing that is burning a bit more cals than 'normal').

    Bottom line is I have been VERY immobile for the better part of 6-7 weeks...eating not perfect..and lost alot of weight.

  13. #13

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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Ugh. I have been sick for over a week. I used to get derailed by illness but now I just allow myself to be sick and just get back to it later. I am trying to remind myself of this as I am totally frustrated at this point....I'm supposed to start NROL4W stage 7 this week but I don't see how I can do it feeling crappy. Bleah.
    Thanks for the thread since it's reminding me not to go crazy...not that I contributed anything useful. : )

  14. #14
    fluteangel
    Guest

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Last week I got the flu. For two days I only moved from the bedroom to the couch and back again, getting up only to use the bathroom or eat. It was awful. Day two or three I got on the scale and I had dropped 2+ pounds, so I was actually lower than I had been in my previous long bout of dieting. I attributed this to water loss, especially since I hadn't eaten much and the body was fighting a fever.

    That was last week. I obviously didn't do any lifting or dieting last week and have extended that to this week, while I'm still coughing bits of junk out of my lungs. The only training I've done are pushups/situps and running (because I have an Army PT test on Sunday and that I don't want to completely faily, and I was preparing for it for 3 weeks before I got sick). I know I need to continue with my break after the test before I go back to lifting because I still don't want to be in the gym, and I don't feel like I'm recovered.

    Question is: how much does the sickness enter in to the rest week? I mean, after 3 weeks, will I have really rested for 3 weeks? 1 week sick, 1 week recovering but doing p/u, s/u, running and one more week completely off.

    I'm going to go back to my deficit and aiming for fat loss when I get back at it, my other question is: would it be smart to hold off on the deficit until I start weight training again? I'm tempted to start at a small deficit next week, but I don't want to hurt my recovery.

    I am surprised how well I'm maintaining my weight, even though several days I've eaten a bunch of junk and actually eaten way more than I probably should. That could be the appetite coming back Espi mentioned.

    Thoughts?
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  15. #15
    godxiang
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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Quote Originally Posted by "maggieandmommy":1ao53wgk
    I'm the same way, Julie. If I don't stop when I get sick, it'll go on for weeks. Ah, the joy of immunosuppressants!
    I will not go stop too even I get ill,but if I must go to hospital,I will stop a while from doctor`s advice.

  16. #16

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    It really depends on how quickly you normally recover from being sick as well as the severity of your illness. At least it sounds like you're being cautious enough to be back in business fast again.

  17. #17

    Join Date
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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    I don't have any insight into the question of rest weeks, but on the question of deficits while sick: I take advantage of illness by having a pretty aggressive deficit.

    I'm not moving much and I have very little appetite, so I just make sure I'm eating high quality food, just not much. For instance, I've been sick this week after a 3 week deficit and the scale not moving; I have been doing very low cals and the scale has finally dropped 3 lbs. Some may disagree, but I figure if I'm eating nutritionally dense food, just not much of it, it won't compromise my health if I don't have much appetite anyway.

    Just my thoughts. YMMV. And yes, I realize the 3 pounds is cumulative over the last month, not just 'cause of this week, and I finally got that water out of my system.
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  18. #18
    fluteangel
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    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    Well, I felt like I was being really cautious, however, after trying a day in the gym, seeing how I felt (felt fine) I decided to try a workout I've never done, and start my new split this week. I did basically a metabolic workout (50 ea. box jumps, pull up, pushups, clean presses, etc) and that evening I started getting sick again, like my body was trying to relapse with the flu (hot flashes, post nasal drip, sinus headache, swollen throat). I took it easy yesterday, and got a lot of sleep, been drinking a ton of water, beefed up my supplements, and I'm so ready to get back on the workout wagon because I've already been out of the gym for 3 weeks now and I'm tired of not lifting.

    Is it safe for me to go ahead, maybe if I go light today? Would I be shooting myself in the foot?
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  19. #19

    Does fat loss slow/stop when you're sick?

    you tested the waters using a high intensity routine?!

    DEFINITELY start out light. Especially if you have any history of chronic fatigue, hormonal issues, weakened immune system, etc.

    You shouldn't simply go all out because you are tired of NOT lifting. You should return because you feel better.

    When you feel better, start out with modified form of your regular workout. If that goes over well, you can progress to your normal training program (preferably not metabolic training) during your next session.

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