In the short term, it is possible to lose weight by not eating, if only it were that simple though! Judging by the number of questions I get on this topic it would seem that fasting or not eating is a traditional dieting technique. However is it also one of the biggest weight loss traps dieters fall into. The idea behind the method is simple, create a calorie deficit so that your body turns to burning body fat as a source of energy instead of your food resulting in weight loss.
Can You Lose Weight By Not Eating
So what is the problem with eating less to lose weight?
While initially not eating food will result in weight loss your body has systems in place to protect itself. Metabolism is the amount of energy your body burns to maintain and repair itself. Whether you are working, exercising, sleeping or eating your body is constantly burning calories to keep you alive. In response to you not eating your body will slow it’s metabolism down to conserve the energy being used. Even though you are making a conscious decision not to eat your body interprets that as the possible onset of starvation and begins to protect itself for the long term. It will be reluctant to break down stored fat as with no food being eaten it quickly becomes the only source of energy and needs to be rationed carefully.
The type of weight lost through not eating food can also be a problem. Ideally, you will only want to lose body fat, but this technique does not provide enough calories and in particular, protein for that to happen. Muscle tissue is ‘expensive’ to maintain, burning calories even when at rest. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories, you will burn daily. As I said earlier, your body has systems in place to protect itself and because of the lack of food has to make a decision as to where to cut costs. It will start to break down muscle tissue to lower your calorie requirements and also to use the protein it gets from the process to fuel other tasks. This will eventually result in weight loss on the scale but, I can’t stress this enough, should be avoided at all costs!
Weight loss needs to be a lifestyle choice
Losing any weight at all can be difficult for a lot of people. Most people struggle for months or even years to change their bodies. Not eating seems like the easy choice and initially does show good results. A healthy lifestyle is not possible with no food. Your energy levels will drop through the floor making things like your job, family and social life seem like huge tasks. You will be tired all of the time, and due to the lack of nutrition, vitamins and minerals will eventually become ill. This technique has little to no longevity. You are eventually going to have to start eating again pretty soon, so what happens then?
As no changes were made to your diet (other than not eating anything), it is likely that you will start eating as you did before. I would probably guess that during the first few days you will treat yourself to your favorite foods. Your calorie intake is going to increase and slowly but surely any weight that you had lost is going to come back. Remembering what I said above about muscle tissue being broken down it is likely that the new you is going to have less muscle to burn calories than you did before. You are in a dangerous position than when you started.
I get it, what should I do instead?
A change to your overall lifestyle needs to take place. There is no best way to lose weight but by using what you learn on this site, eating the right foods to encourage weight loss and exercising it is possible to make serious changes to your body. Make yourself a plan, fit it in with your other commitments and stick to it. Don’t try to rush, give yourself plenty of time and set small, realistic goals to keep yourself motivated.
What Happens When You Starve Yourself?
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