Jump to content

Interest in CR vs. actual practice

James Cain

Recommended Posts

Someone asked a question in the CRS Facebook group and I thought it would be worthwhile to post my response here, and to get thoughts from some others.


Fantastic observation--"do most here really eat a (very) low amount of calories, or is this 'theory' and do most in practice not stick to that every day."

In reality, many here and in general are interested in the science and prospect of CR but do not actively practice, or practice significant CR. Many will apply the principles of CR in what effectively results in a nutrient-dense obesity-avoidance diet, and might even fall into a mild-CR category, but very few practice significant CR at 20-30% of true ad lib maintenance calories, or at least they don't after doing this for a few years.
It's also important to remember that weight loss is a side effect of CR and is not the goal. Research in laboratory animals shows that it's the actual calorie restriction and not the body fat percentage that matters. This is also animals achieving a lean and low body weight through exercise alone don't experience the same metabolic and longevity effects as similarly lean and low body weight animals on CR without exercise (though the best results are from CR with some moderate exercise).
In my own case, I used to be a competitive powerlifter and dabbled in bodybuilding, topping out at around 250 lbs at 6'3" with 7% body fat. I'm currently hovering around 180 lbs at a similar leanness (not much fat to lose!), and any additional weight loss will come from muscle. I understand that calorie intake drives the benefits and I don't mind losing muscle to achieve those benefits, but I'm also an advocate of mild-CR for most people (and myself most of the time) because it is sustainable and effective. I would (and have at times) practice more severe CR but I find it extremely difficult with my lifestyle and stress--things I have modified and improved over time but nevertheless make it impractical to consistently maintain deeper CR. Stress and sleep are my biggest detractors, recently setting me back with a new job taken last August (hence my varying activity here).
I've been steadily losing mass for a number of years, and I feel more comfortable saying I practice something varying between mild-CR and obesity-avoidance, all while following the food-quality and other principles of of a CR diet. I'm 30 years old and extremely lean with excellent metabolic health so don't feel rushed into more extreme measures. My goal is long-term sustainability. Still, I desire a more consistently restricted diet and constantly work towards that goal. You'll find many long-term practitioners ease up on the absolute restriction and follow a more intuitive (and often milder) CR when lives get unpredictable or stressful, and return to more strict practice as life allows. In the end it has to be sustainable, enjoyable, and practical, and surfing these ebbs and flows seems to be essential for many of us.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...