Weight Loss Battles: The Truth About ‘Starvation Mode’

Unfortunately, some people believe that to lose weight, they have to starve themselves.

Since weight gain comes from eating too much, it makes sense that eating very little should lead to weight loss.

So, why do we then keep losing these weight loss battles and gain weight instead?

Starvation Mode: Is It A Myth or Is It Real?

Over the centuries, the human body has evolved to survive famines by switching to this fat storage mode (1). Whatever little food is eaten gets stored as fat and the body starts sacrificing muscle tissue for fuel as its primary aim is now to stay alive.

Starvation mode does not switch on just because a person skipped a meal or fasted for a day. This happens only when dieting is taken to extreme levels and for extended periods.

When a person has been on a low-calorie diet for quite a few days, the brain starts suspecting there might be a food shortage. It responds by slowing down metabolism and holding on to its fat reserves, making it quite difficult to lose weight. Starving to lose weight causes multiple health problems as it leads to nutritional deficiencies.

When the person finally manages to lose some weight and resumes his previous eating patterns, the body will continue to store the additional calories rather than burn them for energy, as it’s still in famine mode. The person ends up gaining all the weight they lost and probably some more, thus defeating the goal of weight loss altogether.

Read more: The Science of Weight Loss: How to Lose Body Fat

How to Overcome the Constant Struggle to Lose Weight

There are several effective ways to lose weight quickly without resorting to starving, but they should be followed only for a short while. The healthy way to lose weight and keep it off is to make lifestyle changes that can be sustained over the long term.

Read more: The Complete Guide to High Protein Low Carb Diet for Weight Loss

Diets higher in protein and low in carbs are proven to help with faster weight loss. An intermittent fasting window can be followed without worrying about starvation modes. But eat healthy nutrient-rich meals during your eating window.

Read more weight loss articles from FitnessHacks

About Anju Mobin 96 Articles
Anju Mobin is a certified nutritionist with a 3-year graduate degree in B.Sc. Home Science (Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics). With an additional 4-year graduate degree in Fine Arts (BFA Applied Arts), she combines her passion for advertising with her knowledge of the health industry to create, develop and execute content marketing campaigns for healthcare products. She is the founder and managing editor of the health website fitnesshacks.org.