The only proven method of weight loss, according to many online fitness gurus, is “calories in against calories out.”
The phrase may have some truth to it, but it falls short of explaining the best strategies for long-term, healthy weight loss.
Because of this, many people have turned to deprive themselves of calories, which could be quite bad for their health.
You’ll discover in this essay why starving yourself won’t help you lose weight and how to use more effective weight reduction techniques.
✅ It is neither healthy nor sustainable to starve oneself in an effort to lose weight.
✅ Although it could be tempting to go without eating, your body will suffer.
✅ Your body’s metabolism may slow down after extended hunger, your body may not work properly, and your mental health may deteriorate.
✅ Although you might initially lose weight, you’ll probably gain it back.
✅ Work with a health professional who can assist you in living a healthy lifestyle.
✅ If you’re having trouble forming good eating habits or notice that you’re exhibiting worrying eating behaviors.
What distinguishes starvation from sporadic fasting?
If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, you might assume that intermittent fasting equates to starvation. However, intermittent fasting can be a beneficial and long-lasting habit when carried out correctly.
An eating pattern is known as intermittent fasting cycles between “eating” and “fasting” periods. For instance, the most common variant involves a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour gap for eating.
While losing weight with intermittent fasting is possible, excessive calorie restriction is not the intended outcome. Instead, you merely consume your daily caloric needs or a modest calorie deficit over shorter periods of time.
On the other hand, starvation is typically characterized as a prolonged period without eating or a very limited calorie intake that is far below your body’s daily requirements. Your body will be in a significant calorie deficit as a result, which will cause uncontrollable weight loss.
A very low-calorie diet is typically defined by dietitians as having 450–800 calories or fewer daily, which is neither nutritious nor sustainable over the long term. Thus, it is not advised to deprive your body of calories because doing so may result in a number of health concerns.
How much impact does starvation have on your body?
Your body needs to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, which may be achieved by either taking fewer calories from food or burning more calories through activity. A greater calorie deficit, however, does not always imply that you will lose weight and keep it off.
Even if you might lose a lot of weight at first, it might be tough for you to keep it off in the long run.
Even worse, if you starve yourself, your body may learn to cope with severe caloric deficiencies. Your targeted weight loss program may be hampered by this in the first place.
Your metabolic rate slows
Your body starts to use its fat reserves as its major energy source under prolonged calorie restriction, and muscle and skeletal tissue as its backup energy sources. Through adaptive thermogenesis, your body gradually lowers your resting metabolic rate (RMR) in response to calorie restriction (metabolic adaptation).
Your body uses less energy to burn calories as a result of an effort to conserve as much energy as possible.
This was demonstrated in a groundbreaking study on 14 contestants from “The Biggest Loser.” Participants lost 129 pounds (58.3 kg) on average during the 30-week show, and their RMR decreased from 2,607 to 1,996 calories per day on average.
Despite gaining 90 pounds (41 kg) on average, their average RMR remained repressed (1,903 calories per day).
These findings imply that in order to maintain their weight, individuals would need to consume fewer calories and burn more calories, making it harder to maintain weight loss. Recent research, however, indicates that when there is no longer a calorie shortfall, metabolic adaption slows down.
Most weight regain is believed to be caused by consuming too many calories, which may be brought on by increased hunger and a sense of freedom from calorie restriction.
A slower metabolic rate may also make you more quickly tired. Your body employs this tactical maneuver to stop you from using excessive amounts of energy. To encourage you to eat, your body also releases more hunger hormones.
Ultimately, especially during periods of chronic famine, your body will strive hard to stop further weight loss by decreasing your metabolism.
Your body’s performance is diminished.
Your body may start to prioritize vital physical processes like breathing and heart rate and slow down unnecessary ones like Hair and nail growth, depending on the degree of famine, the number of calories restricted, and the length of time. Your nails and hair may start to break off.
- Immunity. Your immune system can have a more difficult time warding off disease and infection.
- Controlling digestion and appetite. You could have erratic or increased hunger, persistent bloating, or stomach discomfort.
- Reproductive well-being. Your menstrual cycle might cease or vary.
- Good skincare. You can notice premature aging or incorrect, delayed wound healing.
- Bone wellness. Your bones can start to deteriorate.
Your body craves relief from the harmful state that starvation puts it in. Although you may initially lose weight quickly, your body will work hard to soon regain your weight and health since it needs adequate calories to function properly.
Maybe harmful to mental wellbeing
Mental health can suffer from starvation and other unhealthy dietary habits. Starvation diets can cause the emergence of disordered eating habits such as food restriction, fear of making poor food choices, a bad relationship with food, excessive exercise, and a fixation with size and weight.
Prolonged fasting can, in extreme situations, lead to the onset of an eating problem like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder. It’s crucial to speak with a healthcare provider who can connect you to a specialist if you think you could be developing an eating disorder or disordered eating practices. For support, you can also call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline.
Tips for a healthy weight loss
Adopting healthy, long-lasting behaviors is preferable to risking your health in the name of weight loss. Here are some methods to lose weight and keep it off that are supported by science:
- Set a modest calorie goal deficit. The majority of research points to a tolerable and sustainable deficit of 10% to 20%. Aim for a deficit of 250–500 calories per day through a healthy diet and activity, for instance, if your maintenance calories per day are 2,500.
- Increase your level of exercise. Aim for at least 200 minutes of combined strength training and cardiorespiratory exercise per week, or roughly 30 minutes each day.
- Increase your strength-training regimen. During weight loss, strength exercise helps maintain and grow muscular tissue. Your metabolism may rise if you add more muscular mass.
- Try to avoid processed foods. Make an effort to prepare the majority of your meals from whole, minimally processed foods, as these tend to be lower in calories and richer in filling nutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
- Boost protein intake. During a calorie deficit, a high-protein diet can aid in maintaining muscle mass.
- Sip a lot of water. Avoid specialized drinks, energy drinks, and sugary beverages because they often contain a lot of sugar and calories. Instead, choose beverages like coffee, tea, flavored water, and water.
- Slow down. The majority of research indicates that losing 1-2 pounds (0.45-0.9 kg) a week is a sustainable and healthy rate of weight loss. As a result, gradually incorporate new healthy behaviors to assist you to maintain your weight loss objectives.
The ideal diets are manageable, pleasurable, and long-lasting. Not every weight loss is healthy, keep that in mind.
Adopt healthy lifestyle practices that you enjoy performing and that make you feel energized.