Can you lose weight by starving yourself short-term? Many of us who don’t know the science behind diet or nutrition thinks if we eat less, we lose more. If you think about that in theory that does make sense less calories mean less fat on my body. But the science says that is not entirely true. Of course, the number of calories we intake plays a factor in weight gain vs weight-loss vs body fat loss.
But the body has a threshold of how many calories it needs to be able to function properly. And if it doesn’t get that minimum it goes into survival mode to protect itself. And part of the feature of that survival mode is your metabolism slows down tremendously. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) also known as your metabolism. This makes your body less effective at burning calories in an effort to preserve as much energy as possible.
There was an incredible landmark study on fourteen participants from the show “The Biggest Loser.” Over that 30 week season the participants lost an average of 129 pounds and the resting metabolic rate, (RMR) dropped from an average of 2,607 calories per day to 1,996 calories per day. They regained an average of 90lbs, and their resting metabolic rate remained suppressed at 1,903 calories per day.
The severity of your starvation and the number of calories restricted and the length of time doing this affects many things beyond just your weight loss. It affects:
- Immune system- making it difficult to fight off illnesses and diseases
- Digestion-It will give you tremendous stomach discomfort and bloating.
- It negatively affects your bone health.
- It negatively affects your reproductive system. Your menstrual cycle will stop at times.
- It negatively affects your skin health making you age quicker in the skin.
- Extreme fatigue and extreme mental lapses.
Can you lose weight by starving yourself short-term?
Starving yourself to lose weight is not healthy or sustainable and it is counter-productive to long term weight-loss and management. The goal should never be how much weight-loss can I lose quickly. It should be how much weight can I lose and keep off permanently. And how can I stay healthy through diet, fitness, and workout efforts. And that is truly what health and wellness typifies.
“Of course, the number of calories we intake plays a factor in weight gain vs weight-loss vs body fat loss.”
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Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, Kerns JC, Knuth ND, Brychta R, Chen KY, Skarulis MC, Walter M, Walter PJ, Hall KD. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Aug;24(8):1612-9. doi: 10.1002/oby.21538. Epub 2016 May 2. PMID: 27136388; PMCID: PMC4989512.
Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition – PubMed (nih.gov)