Starving yourself to lose weight is probably one of the more stupid things you can possibly choose to do. It’s up there with drinking saltwater to stay hydrated, shooting yourself with smaller caliber bullets to build up a resistance to larger ones, and doing that one thing where you trap your thumb in your fist and then flick your wrist. Basically, it is really dumb and makes no sense.
WAIT WHAT SAM WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT
Today I’m gonna be telling you why starvation diets are really stupid stupid dumb. Starvation diets, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, are defined as “the act of eating only a very small amount of food in order to lose weight quickly”. Also, note that the example sentence is literally how some girl going on a starvation diet and ending up in the hospital.
WHY DON’T THEY WORK?
OK, OK, starvation diets “work” in a sense. If you starve yourself/eat very little for a week you’re going to lose weight. But, you’re not losing fat, though that’s probably your objective. Instead, you’re losing water weight. According to WebMD, “the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or “water weight,””. You aren’t burning fat, you’re burning muscle, which is like 70% water. This can only be considered progress if you only judge results on what you see in the scale. What happens next?
YOU GAIN ALL YOUR WEIGHT BACK
As soon as you realize “hey, this is really dumb and all I’m doing is just making myself weaker” or maybe you just cave in to hunger, you will gain all your weight back. As mentioned before, it’s just water, and most of what we eat/drink contains water. WebMD says, in the same article, that “when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back.” (and it comes back as fat, as will soon be explained) So, unless you plan on just plain old starving yourself to death and never touching food again, it’s not gonna work for you. But gaining your weight back isn’t the worst of it.
YOU’LL GAIN MORE WEIGHT THAN YOU HAD AT FIRST
So, not only is the weight loss you achieved worthless and painfully temporary, your brief dance with starvation set you up to put on a few more pounds. Here’s how. When you are starving, your metabolism changes to make it’s energy reserves (fat) last as long as possible. This is also why muscle is burned first, since muscle burns calories just by being there. But anyway, when you resume eating like a normal person, your metabolism still has the “food shortage is just around the corner” switch on, and will convert more of that food to fat than it would before, thus gaining you a net profit in weight. Here, take WebMD’s word for it. “Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. Worse, the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat — lost muscle has to be added back at the gym.”
STARVING IS DANGEROUS WHO WOULDA THOUGHT
I already told you that starvation diets just dip into your muscle as a fuel source, making you weaker and your metabolism slower. And maybe, after a good long starve, you might finally start slowly getting rid of your fat. But first you will have to go through all of this. According to Today, yo-yo dieting (when you do a starvation diet, it doesn’t work, and you do it again for some reason) can be “taxing to your cardiovascular system” and that “yo-yoing alters fat tissue and decreases glucose tolerance, which could increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease”. Oof. WebMD’s article on fasting (starvation diets) has this list of side-effects: “Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea.” Yikes. And according to AuPair, starving yourself can become an addiction, and that “Going for extended periods of time without eating or eating too little can give you mood swings”. Yowch. Seriously, it just isn’t worth it.
There is an easier and safer way to lose weight, one that actually works. Maintain a healthy caloric deficit, or, use more calories than you take in. This can be done through exercise and watching portions. Also get lots of sleep, that’s very important. Obviously I’m simplifying a bit but that’s the general idea. There is no need or reason to forsake food for any period of time (unless for religious reasons or something). There is also no reason that any person with an internet connection should ever consider starving themselves. The research for this blog took me all of two minutes.
NEED MORE WORDS TO MEET CRITERIA
Um, I guess I could talk about why I wrote this post. This was sort of in response to this blog by another student. In that blog it talks about how people with a bad self image hurt themselves by trying to achieve the ideal body. At first I wanted to also explain the healthy ways to self improve but focusing on one of the bad delusional ways was easier and more amusing to write. I might also address the claim that if you want to change yourself that means you don’t have self esteem in a new blog.
Post by SamB. Featured Image by Gideon
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