Starving yourself to lose weight (sometimes called crash dieting) is one of those remedies for weight loss that people think of first. You reduce your food intake and, naturally, you won’t then have a calorie problem! But this is unfortunate; as there are safer, body-friendly alternatives to losing weight that are guaranteed to achieve the same result, at a lower cost to you, both emotionally, physically and in terms of your eventual health.
Dangers of Starving Yourself
Besides the strenuous workout routine that usually comes with a crash diet weight loss program, other dangers lurk under the surface that cause harm to your body. The other factors include a lower metabolism level, loss of energy and loss of appetite through to de-hydration. As a result, crash dieting could possibly result in a hospital visit before you can try on that new tight outfit you always envied – and bought for the aftermath!
Some of these factors in fact work to reverse the effect of starving as a way to lose weight. Reduced metabolism has the effect of maintaining – or trying to maintain – your body weight. It is the body’s defense mechanism at a time of famine for example, and it works through the influence of the so-called “thrifty” gene.
To Starve, or Rather to Manage Your Eating Habits?
Most people on a crash dieting program fail to understand the difference between losing fat and weight, and losing water weight. Water makes up for a high percentage of our bodies and losing a good amount of it will naturally cut your weight. If you lose water for a period of say three weeks you will of course look less bloated than you did before, but the change is in no way permanent. Your body will regain the water at the earliest opportunity. Plus, losing too much water will dehydrate your body, and have consequences like dry skin, a peeling mouth, etc.
The results achieved through starving yourself to lose weight can be reversed very quickly. After the program seems to have worked you will likely begin to eat more. But these extra calories will find a body already conditioned to a “famine” situation – remember that thrifty gene? As a consequence your metabolism will work to store all the excess fat and water reserves, and before you know it, all that weight is right back at home!
The other, recommended, option to starving yourself to lose weight is by managing your eating habits. The nutritionists recommend eating five small meals, scattered over the day, rather than 3 heavy meals. This works for you by increasing the metabolic rate (remember that the lower your metabolism, the harder it is to lose weight). A five-meal regimen helps to boost your metabolism rate and makes it possible to lose weight much faster – which may seem contradictory at first glance, right?
Physical Workouts and the Starvation Program
Physical workouts will no doubt help reduce your weight, but your body needs energy to maintain other functions of daily living. Many crash diet programs not only require you to eat less, they also impose a heavy exercise regime. It is not unheard-of for people on these programs to find themselves seeking medical attention for conditions ranging from chronic fatigue to exercise-related accidents and illnesses.
Other side effects you can expect from a crash diet program to lose weight include reduced muscle tone, and, in the extreme, an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia could suddenly show up on the menu. The body will have started to attack itself at this stage.
Will a Starvation Program Work for You?
It is true that starving yourself to lose weight works for some. In fact the majority of people that promote the program have benefited from it at some point in their lives. But the truth is that weight problems are caused by many factors, some of which vary from individual to individual. Whether a starvation program works for you or not depends on your body’s make-up, your psychological predisposition, the genetics, and a host of other factors. If you have a “sweet tooth” for example and find those chocolate candies simply irresistible, your problem is a psychological one and needs to be handled differently from that of someone who gets overweight from lack of activity. Your weight problem may not even be related to your diet, and the recommended dietary changes will therefore not work for everyone.
Get Advice From Your Doctor First
Your doctor will know what the best weight loss programs that work are. This, plus the fact that they know your physical strengths and weaknesses, makes this a very prudent option to take. In addition to this your doctor will probably have some facts regarding the proposed weight loss program from their other patients – more information than you have, at least. Take the doctor’s advice. Some of the time we end up messing with our bodies by not seeking the opinions of experts – information that was free in the first place!
How You Can Lose Weight – And Still Eat to Your Heart’s Content
You can still lose weight while at the same time you continue to eat those juicy fancy foods that tickle your palate. This is not a fantasy! A program that requires you to starve yourself to lose weight is restrictive and comes at a cost in terms of your health and other related issues.
But the fundamental issue when you want to lose weight is to burn up (lose) more calories than you take in. A person that takes in say 3,000 calories a day and loses 3,000 calories in the same day will remain trim and perfectly healthy. This translates to zero weight gain. But you will need to engage in some activity that burns these excess calories. By far the simplest method to achieve this is through exercise. Again your doctor will have ideas as to what type of exercise will benefit you the most: jogging, cycling, aerobics, etc. Seek the advice of your doctor on this. Exercise, if not taken in moderation, can itself lead to a more complicated condition than you are currently facing – a heart attack for example.
Some studies have shown that as a matter of fact you probably stand a better chance of losing weight if you ate at the fast food stall every day – and then ran a mile each day – than the person taking a starvation program to reduce weight!
Starving yourself to lose weight may work for some, but it is not guaranteed to work for you. Your genetic constitution may even militate against it. A better strategy may be to use an alternate program that leaves you the freedom to eat your favorite foods (in a regimented manner) and still lose weight.
Nobody said it’s easy, but you can do it if you are persistent and have the necessary willpower. You will likely have both of these qualities, but they may have to be dredged up – and pressed into service. Being overweight comes with a stigma, and today’s media like the TV and the movies often make fun of overweight people. The effort to try and lose weight is a worthy one, and you should not be the one that gets caught napping!
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