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Do you have a few innocent pounds extra? Do you maybe have a bit more than a few innocent extra pounds? 

Either way, show us the person who is completely comfortable with their weight and we’ll give them our regards. In the meantime, let’s talk about those pounds that just won’t go away. 

Many factors can contribute to weight issues – even your genes, but there are a handful of things you can do to lose them. A healthy diet plan, regular exercise, a more active lifestyle, cutting out certain foods like sugar and carbs, maybe even diet pills… and all of these things work, especially if you combine a good diet that works for you with exercising at least two times a week. In time you’ll have visible progress. 

But that’s just the problem isn’t it? The “in time“ part. 

We’re so used to instant gratification that if we don’t get the results we wanted at once, why even bother? I mean why starting something when it might not turn out perfect and require time and effort? With this in mind, some people tend to choose extreme methods for weight loss – like starving themselves, because it’s as simple as it sounds, right? 

When you eat you gain weight and when you starve you just lose it, seems innocent enough, doesn’t it? Let’s talk about this controversial topic and see if and why starving yourself is bad for weight loss and what happens to your body if you practice this method for a longer period of time.

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss 

What Is Starvation? 

In order for your body to be healthy and able to produce the energy you need on a daily basis, it needs calories. You get calories from foods and drink naturally, and they vary from “good calories” to “bad” calories.

The good ones make you healthy and keep you at a healthy weight whereas the bad ones even if you burn them still will make you gain weight. When you don’t feed your body the proper amount of calories for more than a few days in a row it goes into starvation mode. Starvation mode is eating less than 1,200 calories for women and less than 1.800 calories per men, the minimum required for maintaining a healthy body. 

Why Do People Choose To Do It? 

Because it seems easy and innocent enough. It sounds simple. They’ve read that if you want to lose weight fast you just need to burn the extra fat you have without restoring it and you’ll be fine. Having one apple a day and a glass of green juice is fine. People who want to lose weight and see starvation as the quickest and most painless option are in for a big surprise. 

Starvation mode is eating less than 1,200 calories for women and less than 1.800 calories per men, the minimum required for maintaining a healthy body. 

How Weight Loss Works

Let’s keep this simple and informative and discuss why starving yourself is bad for weight loss once you know the basics.

If you’re following a very low calorie-strict and clean diet you release cortisol in your bloodstream and this causes your body to store fat. What needs to happen instead is you need to learn about macronutrients, how to keep track of them, and how to decide how much you need on a daily basis. If you track your macros (carbs, proteins, and fats) you get just the right amount your body needs to burn the amount you’ve eaten and gradually burn the stored fat – and that is how the weight loss occurs.

So, to debunk the myth that it’s all about how many calories you eat, it’s rather what kind of calories you eat that makes you lose weight. 

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss

Starvation And You 

Not only is starving yourself torture, it will also reverse all the hard work you’ve done so far and can lead to health problems, eating disorders, muscle loss, hair loss and overall weakness of both mind and body. 

On the other hand, if you want to lose weight and really be healthy you will absolutely need to both keep an eye on nutrition and workout at least a few times a week, and this will be simply impossible if you starve yourself and your energy levels are close to zero.

As we mentioned earlier, starvation mode is when you eat less than 1.000 kcal a day, and there are symptoms (both mental and physical) that you need to take into consideration if you’re following a certain strict diet and you fear that you’re not eating enough food. 

  • Mood swings:  If you feel, or you have been told that you’ve become moody and that your whole attitude has changed and you know you are eating less than before then this is a symptom and you need to take care of it. 
  • Stress: We know that in this day and era, everything can cause us stress, but nevertheless, the stress you feel when you are hungry is different and you know it. Once it comes out of you, please get yourself something proper to eat. 
  • Insomnia: Of course you can’t sleep, you are probably wide awake craving chocolate ice cream cake. 
  • Periods: One of the most dangerous signs (in women) that your diet is just not enough for you is if you’ve skipped a menstrual period. The gravity of the issue here can be enormous, so if you start losing your period go to the doctor as soon as possible.
  • Constipation: This one is quite simple, what is left to go down the drain?
  • Headache:  All kinds of aches to be precise. Your body is suffering and it’s trying to tell you to do something about it. 

All of the things mentioned above can be unpleasant. Not only are they terrible to feel on a daily basis but if you feel them while you follow some kind of diet, you need to stop as soon as possible because you are not going to lose any weight if your body is torturing itself. Let’s talk a bit more about what can happen if you decide to cut your caloric intake “cold turkey” to less than 1000 kcal per day. 

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss

it’s never a good idea (or healthy) idea to burn muscle mass. You will just end up exhausting your body and you still won’t get the results you want. 

The Negative Sides Of Starving Yourself 

  • Fake Motivation 

Remember, when you were a little kid and your parents told you stories about the evil witch that eats children? That if you don’t go to sleep right away she will come to your bed and nibble on you? Well, this story has about the same amount of validity as: If you starve yourself, first of all, you will lose a ton of water weight and in two days you will drop 20 pounds, but you won’t be able to see them just yet, but the scale will show them and this will give you the motivation to continue! If you ever find yourself in a crowd where at least one person suggests this to you, we encourage you to get up,  go to the nearest ice-cream shop, grab one and eat it. You deserve it and you can walk it off later. 

  • Muscle Mass 

When it comes to burning nutrients, your body has a middle-school-gym teacher criteria list: muscles first, fats last. And with this pace, it’s just impossible to starve out your muscles and then get to the “good stuff” – the fat, and it’s never a good idea (or healthy) idea to burn muscle mass. You will just end up exhausting your body and you still won’t get the results you want. 

  • Everyday life  

It just won’t be the same. You will lose focus, you will stop putting effort and your metabolism will decrease. Your mind and body will be hungry and that will reflect in the simple activities in your everyday life. 

  • Necessities 

You know by now that absolutely every diet out there has some things right, and some things wrong – some diets are low in protein, others low in carbs, or a particular vitamin or mineral… Usually, this gets fixed by dietary supplements, but when you’re simply not eating enough it’s trickier than that. You’re basically low on everything and well on your way to multiple deficiencies. Not eating enough of the staples of a healthy diet means that you’ve set yourself for serious illnesses in the future. 

  • Eating Disorders 

This is the main and most important reason why starvation is bad for you and for weight loss in general. One in four teenage girls have suffered or are still suffering from the “curse” known as anorexia. Bulimia and body dysmorphia are not far behind. So, if you’re a teenage girl reading this or know someone who needs help we strongly encourage you to make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. 

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss

The Positive Sides Of Starving Yourself (?)

Being healthy and starving yourself can’t go hand in hand! There are no good sides to starving yourself, not even: “it’s calories in – calories out” or “if you don’t eat you get skinny.”  

Are There Some Acceptable Ways Of Starving Yourself? 

There are some weight-loss diets that have to do with fasting as opposed to starving. One of the most famous of them is the keto diet. The keto diet is a low carb diet that highly focuses on eating proteins and fats. The keto process helps you burn the extra stored fats and eventually there comes a time during the diet when your body might be getting too many fats and proteins. 

In these periods it is recommended that you do Intermittent fasting, where you only drink tea and coffee, BUT…. there are a few things that you need to consider here and those are:

  • Intermittent fasting doesn’t help with weight loss, it just helps the ketosis process you need in order to continue with the keto diet. 
  • It can’t last longer than 3 days and it shouldn’t be done more than two times a year. 
  • People only do intermittent fasting to balance their macronutrients and blood sugar levels, not to starve their body. 
  • Don’t do intermittent fasting if you haven’t been on the keto diet for at least 3 months because your body won’t be able to handle and again, you will starve yourself and not lose weight. 

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss

Best diet meal plan for weight loss

What You Can (And Should) Do Instead  

Eat Better = Feel Better  

If you start focusing on what you eat rather than how much you eat, you might be surprised with the results. For example, if you just cut out processed, deep-fried and sweet foods from your daily diet, the results can be mind-blowing. The healthier you eat the better your metabolism works and a fast metabolism means fast calorie burning. 

Show Us Those Moves

Move as much as you can. Walk to work, bike to school, take the stairs two times a day, take a walk to the park, organize a picnic high on the mountains, walk to the green market and bounce your bags on your way back, cook more fresh food while practicing your new dance moves, do yoga, dance the night away in the club, take up gardening….find what works for you and just move any chance you get! 

One Day At A Time 

Remember that weight loss is a long time commitment. The higher the weight the longer the process. And that’s just fine, learn to accept this and try a bit more every day. Start small by eating one less piece of bread at lunchtime, one less soda a day, one less burger a week, two less drinks on Fridays… and look at that, it’s already been like, what, a month? What does that scale say? I bet the results are good. And be proud of yourself. You weren’t starving and you still lost some weight? Do you know why? Because you did it in a healthy way, also known as the only way! 

We Can Handle The Truth

If you want to lose weight, you need to understand that being on a diet doesn’t mean that you are the diet and that your whole life revolves around it. It’s just a new part of your life, don’t push it, just like we said earlier, everything that is too much it’s just that, counterproductive and too much. 

Why Starving Yourself is Bad for Weight Loss

Final Verdict? Starvation Won’t Make You Lose Weight

So, now that we’re at the end we now know why starvation is bad for weight loss, moreover why it’s a bad idea in general. 

We’ve given you arguments about why you should never do it, even if it’s very urgent and you really need to lose those 3 pounds before that big wedding. There is always a better, healthier, and more efficient way, you just need to make a little bit of an effort and find the balance between the right diet and a few workout days here and there.

And, always, always listen to your body, it knows best, even better than your own mother! You want that extra french fry? Take it, we won’t tell anyone.