Weight Loss is Weight Loss, right?
It is certainly possible to lose a huge amount of weight in a few short weeks using a crash or starvation diet. But what are the implications of this?
One of the biggest problems with this kind of weight loss, in my opinion, is that if you use a starvation diet to lose weight, your body loses many of its long term natural fat burning functions, and it will have to be re-taught to get these running optimally after your crash diet. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, this is a hard road to take.
In this post, I would like to break down the process and show you how starvation diets affect your health and how they work. I would also like to outline a healthy alternative to this type of crash diet.
What Happens When We Starve Ourselves?
I always like to start at the beginning but I am a great believer in keeping things simple when aiming to get the best results. Over-complicating things is a big issue in the health and fitness industry these days.
We all know that if we don’t eat any food, we WILL lose weight. But by doing this, we are actually changing the function of our body.
The human body is a very efficient machine that wants to do things the easy way, too. It will adapt to all types of situations, it will change how it works according to the fuel that you give it.
Let’s imagine that you are overweight because you like to snack on a lot of junk food and you decide to cut out all of your food, save a meal replacement shake first thing in the morning, some kind of energy bar full of sugar as a snack, and a 250-calorie low carbohydrate evening meal.
Your body needs to re-adjust and adapt to its new diet. There will be an initial shock as your body is no longer getting fuel on a regular basis, so it will want to try and get some fuel by telling you that you are hungry. This can be fairly brutal for some people and is nothing short of torture for others!
Nevertheless, you stick to your plan and eventually your body realizes that this is the new fueling pattern, so it will need to adapt. You body will start to burn your fat reserves for energy. Great!
The longer that you stay on this diet, the more fat you will burn. This sounds really good but you can’t do this forever. Eventually, you will have so little body fat left that it will cause you some real health concerns.
So, What Happens After This Crash Diet When You Are At Your Target Weight?
If you maintain a diet like this for any real length of time and manage to reach your goals, you will notice a few things:
First, you will notice that you have loose skin in a lot of places. (The bigger you once were, the more skin that you will have. It is sometimes necessary to undergo surgery to have the excess skin removed, but this is a small price to pay since the hard work will have been done by the dieter). If you were averagely overweight, you may still have this loose skin and it will be emphasized because of muscle wastage due to the nature of the diet.
You will also now have to ween yourself back to a healthy diet. At this point, your body will be very receptive to the food that you give it. It has adapted to the low carbohydrate, low calorie diet and used your fat for energy for a while. If you start fueling it the way that you used to, it will just absorb all of the nutrients and store it as fat again.
Once you have reached your target weight using this method, it is important that you educate yourself on how your body works.
So many people will follow this type of diet, work hard for their results, only to pack it all back in less than half the time it took to burn it off.
If you starve your body, your metabolism will slow right down. This means that it will try to preserve energy, and therefore only do the minimum amount of work to get by on.
Is there a better way?
Of course, there is a better way! If you want fast results but have a bunch of other health problems accompany it, then, by all means, go for a starvation diet of some kind.
However, by having a different outlook on weight loss, you could make this goal easier for yourself. If you decide to look at weight loss, health and fitness as “a way of life” that you can practice for the rest of your days, you will have a more sustainable and healthy weight loss plan.
If you buy into this way of thinking, you will be onto a FAR BETTER path — in my opinion. You can actually train your body to lose weight by snacking, you can burn fat by lifting weights in the gym, you can also lose fat by walking! Check out this article for some tips on boosting your metabolism naturally! If you understand how your body works, you will have a better, happier path to your ultimate goal of being healthier, lighter and feeling great.
As we already know, our body is very efficient and adaptable! So, why not make it adapt to burning fat efficiently for the long run?
This is a good idea, for many reasons. A few very good reasons are:
First, we will be able to burn fat all year round, year after year without having to make huge sacrifices. Another reason is that the longer that you live this lifestyle, the more you will stick to it and the more it will become a part of you… until you suddenly realize that you just cannot go back to what you used to be. You will never again be overweight and unhealthy and you will not have to work on harsh routine change after hash routine change. You can do this one small step at a time. This, alone, will guarantee you a higher success rate than anything else you can try.
Big routine changes are very stressful and they require a lot of willpower and disruption to everyday life.
By making the decision to lose weight healthily and for the long term, you sign up for a step-by-step approach that is progressive and will just get better with time.
The longer that you keep making small changes in your everyday life and sticking to these changes, the harder it will be for you to look back.
Some people might still choose to partake in a crash diet after reading this, still I urge these people to educate themselves on healthy lifestyle choices and design a good solid plan for the end of the crash diet. After all, fat loss, health and fitness are all long term projects and are, in fact, lifestyle choices rather than a fad that you tune to every now and again.
So the key points that I will ask you to take away are:
- Look at fat loss, fitness and health as a long term venture.
- Educate yourself in the mechanics of your body. You will benefit in many ways from this knowledge.
- It is far better to make a series of small changes consistently, than one big change all at once. You will not suffer as much this way.
Thanks for reading, and, as always, I welcome comments and will offer you more personalized advice if you need me to.