Why starving yourself doesn't work for weight loss...
Many people think that they will lose weight loss if they starve themselves for a few weeks/months... surely all we have to do to lose weight is "eat less and exercise more" - right? Well not quite. Many of the people that I work with have spent many years dieting. Losing weight...but then putting it all back on again... and something that nobody ever tells them is that - STARVING YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK for weight loss long-term. Yes you will lose weight in the short-term but it is also almost guaranteed that you will put back on any weight that you have lost. This is why the research in the field of weight loss shows us that weight loss maintenance is the biggest challenge for the sector - nobody keeps off the weight that they lose. Data indicates that within 5 years, over 95% of dieters put back on all of the weight that they have lost (often plus more)... and yet so many people are still out there, telling you to cut out calories, starve yourself, give up lots of food groups, count points...
The problem with restricting your food intake dramatically is that your brain and your body think that you are starving/dying ... so your brain and body cannot tell the difference between a diet and starvation. So what do you think your brain and body want you to do if they think that you are starving/dying? ... they want you to eat... and eat... and eat ... and eat... and this is often why you will feel very out of control around food after a diet (or when you fall off the wagon).
Starving yourself and restricting your food intake can also have many other negative consequences:
- it can leave you feeling very HUNGRY or HANGRY and therefore miserable and unable to focus on other things;
- it can lead you to develop an eating disorders such as bulimia or binge-eating disorder;
- it can cause you to obsess about food and your weight;
- it can leave you exhausted and energy-less with no drive or desire to do anything or to enjoy life;
- it can have a very negative affect on your mental health making you anxious and suffer with a low mood; and
- it can leave you thinking too much about other people's food choices - feeling jealous that they can eat when you can't.