Disclaimer: This article is intenteded for the general public and there are exceptions to what we are saying on a case by case basis.
Beginning decades ago, more and more people began overly starving themselves to try to reach their fitness goals.
When dieting and calorie counting, there is a “sweet spot” as to how much you should deprive yourself in order to still keep yourself functioning properly and reach your goal. Most fitness professionals, including myself, do not recommend more than a 500-700 caloric deficit per day. What I mean by this is, if someone burns an average of 3000 calories a day, he/she should not eat less than 2300-2500 calories per day. Now, I know there are people that do eat less than this deficit, and they seem to be okay, but it is not healthy in the long run.< It has been proven that your body needs fuel in order to keep your body and mind running properly. That’s why people who suffer from anorexia often have memory problems and appear to be functioning at low energy. The body needs nutrients and uses food as fuel to keep it going. You simply can’t expect a car to go without any gas in it—well, not well, at least. Another reason people should not starve themselves is because the body is rather smart, and when you are not consuming enough, the body will go into starvation mode. When this happens, the body essentially becomes scared it isn’t going to get fed again, so, it stores anything you give it in the fat cells-even zero calorie food items.This makes it much harder to lose weight. I’ve known people who have starved themselves using very aggressive diet plans and then ended up staying the same weight or actually putting weight on. Most peopleneed to consume healthy fats (almonds, avocados), complex carbs (blacks beans, whole rolled oats), and lean protein (chicken breast, lean turkey). All three of these serve a unique function for our bodies. Fats help regulate the body’s temperature, carbs help give us energy, and protein helps to repair our muscles.For those who cannot consume grains or legumes, or nuts, or poultry, there are still plenty of other healthy options. The ratios of consumption for these food groups depend on the individual and his/her goals.
In short, starving yourself will not work long term; it’s all about finding how much of a healthy caloric deficit your body needs to reach your goal, while still making sure you are getting the right ratio of healthy fats, carbs, and protein.
Starving yourself can also affect your mood and mental state negatively, and has been proven to create a more likely pattern of going back to old habits or just giving up in general.
In my opinion, slow and steady wins the race. Do you want to lose the weight for a month or keep it off for a lifetime? Changing your body long term and for the better in a sustainable and healthy fashion takes time, and sometimes, takes trial and error.
So, please be patient when working with your body, and treat it well. It needs food, just like you need sleep and air.
If you are consistent with a healthy nutrition plan and proper exercise plan you can reach your fitness goals! If you are having difficulty losing weight, even while accomplishing the above, then it’s time to visit your Eastern or Western doctors, and have them take a look at your endocrine system and your liver.
Hormones play a tremendous role in regulating our weight. Which, again, is another reason why starving yourself is not a great idea. Starving yourself only causes your hormones to go whacky. So, naturally, your weight will too. Even if you have reached your goal of losing x amount of weight, you still need to think about the state of your internal body. How we look on the outside does not always mirror what’s happening on the inside.
Genetics play a major role in how each person metabolizes different foods. So, as I am sure you can imagine, this topic has many layers. I’ll get into “genetics” on another day. With this being said, for some of you, it may seem like a starvation-type diet plan is your only option, but I assure you it is not. It just may take you some time to find the right balance of healthy habits, nutrition, and exercise. However, to eliminate some of the trial and error that usually goes into this process, I would recommend that you seek the counsel of a fitness professional to support you, to guide you in the right direction, and to keep you accountable every step of the way.