Why starving yourself is not the best option for weight loss
Weight loss does not need to be a rough ride. Fitting into your favorite dress should not be a daunting experience for you. Unfortunately, many of us take a faulty route and hope for quick results, and starvation is one of those routes. The big question is, “is starvation the right route to weight loss?
Is there a difference between starving yourself and intermittent fasting?
If you’re not familiar with the term, you may think intermittent fasting is the same as starving. However, when done properly, intermittent fasting can be a healthy and sustainable practice. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves cycling between “eating” and “fasting” periods. For example, the most typical form is 16:8, which involves an 8-hour eating window and 16 hours of fasting. While intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, the goal is not to over-restrict calories.
What is starvation?
Starvation is a natural response from our body to long-term calorie restriction. It is our body responding to a calorie deficit by lowering calorie expenditure to balance energy and stop starvation. This physiological process is technically called adaptive thermogenesis.
How starving yourself affects your body
When the body uses its reserves to provide basic energy needs, it can no longer supply necessary nutrients to vital organs and tissues. The heart, lungs, ovaries and testes shrink. Muscles shrink and people feel weak. Body temperature drops and people can feel chilled.Though you may experience significant weight loss in the beginning, you may find it difficult to sustain this weight loss in the long term. Here are some of the unhealthy patterns you would experience.
- Your metabolism slows down
If you’ve started counting calories or significantly cut back in the amount you eat each day, the chances of your body going into extreme starvation mode are unlikely. True starvation mode results under extreme circumstances, when people are extremely malnourished and have little body fat remaining, and the body makes a last ditch effort to hold onto any fat that’s left before a person succumbs to starvation. When your body doesn’t have enough calories to produce energy, your metabolism slows down significantly in order to try and preserve the energy you do have. Starving your body, whether consistently or inconsistently, can result in weight gain since your body is confused.
- Your mental health is harmed
When you don’t eat well, your physical body along with your mental health are thrown down the drain. It is like being deprived of your body’s needs. Your brain uses about 25 percent of your body’s glucose, so if you aren’t getting enough, it’ll be running on fumes. You’re going to be tired, crabby, have headaches, and probably not going to work very well.
- Your body works less effectively
Weight loss via starvation causes individuals to lose significant amounts of lean muscle mass and Lean Body Mass, which encompasses water, bones, organs, etc. Reducing the mass of your bones is problematic, as that decreases bone density and can make you more prone to injury. In addition, it gets harder to sleep.
Ways to avoid starving yourself while maintaining a healthy weight
1. Increase physical activity by adding strength trainings
If you are someone who lacks time, jump on this machine to reap its benefits. Studies, in subject to individual weight, proved that one could burn about 270-400 calories in 30 minutes. Besides burning body fat, this machine can activate both the upper and lower body. Elliptical workouts can be both aerobic and HIIT and build good stamina and endurance. Yes, you get the best of both worlds. Furthermore, exercise stimulates the brain cells and forms new neural connections.
2. Eat more protein and limit processed foods
A nutrient-dense meal is as important as a good workout. Proteins are the gold mine when it is about losing weight. When you consume them adequately, you can reduce the calories in (appetite) and increase calories out (boost metabolism) by 80-100 calories a day. Moreover, it can curb cravings for sugar and junk, prevent late-night snacking and overall intake. Furthermore, it prevents the long-term adverse effects of weight loss. And most importantly, they prevent muscle breakdown for energy.
3. Drink water and rest more
When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Water can help to take up space in the stomach, leading to a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger. Water helps the kidneys to filter toxins and waste while the organ retains essential nutrients and electrolytes. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys retain fluid. While resting, your cells repair themselves and rejuvenate your energy.
The bottom line
Starving yourself in the name of weight loss isn’t healthy or sustainable. People with a low or moderate weight do not need to lose weight, and excessive weight loss can be harmful. To maintain a weight within the healthy range, a person should eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet, and try exercising with enough rest.