If you want to lose weight, there’s only one way to do that: burn more calories than you take in. Even though there are healthy ways to maintain a calorie deficit, many people try losing weight by skipping meals, trying dangerous detox products or starving themselves.
Drastically cutting calorie intake does more harm than good. While people may see some short-term changes as a result of these restrictive measures, they’re not healthy or sustainable results.
How do calories work?
To put it simply, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. However, a calorie deficit needs to be carefully thought out to ensure your body still receives the nutrients it needs to survive and function.
What many people don’t take into consideration is the fact that we have a minimum amount of calories we need to consume everyday for our bodies to function normally, regardless of our fitness goals. This is called your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which is the number of calories you burn when your body is at rest. It plays a crucial role in breathing, organ function and blood circulation. You shouldn’t go below this number.
Everyone’s RMR is different, so you should either calculate this yourself or get support from a nutrition coach to ensure you’re losing weight in a healthy way.
Why doesn’t starving yourself work?
Leads to long-term weight gain
People may see some small changes in their body after skipping meals and start believing this is the right way to lose weight, but it won’t work in the long-term. When you stop eating, you’re putting your body into starvation mode, which slows down your metabolism and affects thyroid production. As a result, you’ll start to preserve body fat because your body thinks it’s starving and you won’t burn fuel as effectively.
When you start eating again, your body will store the fat instead of using it because your metabolism is slower. Eventually, you’ll start to gain weight because your body processes food differently. Also, you’ll feel hungrier because you’ve starved yourself and therefore you’ll eat more, which will also lead to weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s so not worth it.
You’ll have no energy
You cause damage to your body by depriving it of the nutrients it needs to support you. However, there’s another reason why starving yourself won’t help you lose weight. After a while, you’ll feel tired and sluggish. Food isn’t the enemy – it provides us with energy and keeps us going. Eventually, you’ll feel exhausted due to lack of nutrition, give up your efforts and go back to a calorie surplus.
You’ll feel miserable
This negative relationship with food will affect your mood, so on top of tiredness and cravings, you’ll feel irritable and snappy. Research shows there are links between good nutrition and mental health, so when you deprive yourself of nutrients, it affects your mood and impacts your self-esteem further.
Too many people use negative self-talk and guilt to drive their crash diets. As a result, they end up binge eating to feel better about not being able to lose weight. Using negative language towards yourself won’t help you get the results you want. There’s no reason why you can’t love food while maintaining a healthy, sustainable calorie deficit. Weight loss should be about moderation, not restriction.
It’s not sustainable in the long-term
There’s only so long you’ll be able to maintain this tactic and you’ll feel so miserable that you won’t want to do it for long. When you return to eating as you did before, you’ll regain any weight you lost.
Life’s too short not to enjoy food. Instead of punishing yourself through starvation, love your body by feeding it what it needs. Losing weight by sticking to successful methods requires discipline, consistency and hard work, but the difference in results make it worth the effort. This route is the way to losing weight healthily, ensuring your body thrives and helping you look and feel amazing!