Starvation Mode Part II
It is undeniable that the simplest way to lose weight is by restricting the food that you put into your body. It makes sense if you burn more energy than the consumed calories, then your body will use the reserved fuel aka bodyfat to propel your body forward. However, this is not true for every case, especially with the yo-yo diet.
The yo-yo effect
It is also known as weight cycling where dieters would have an extreme restricted caloric intake – say less than 1000 cal/day – for a period of time to lose weight. Initially, they will see some results and the feeling of pride and joy for able to reach the weight loss goal, but the results are just mere instant gratification. This diet is not sustainable as it can cause the dieters depression and chronic fatigue, and thus they will revert to their old ways of eating habit.
During the food deprivation mode, the body metabolism rate slows down and after completing the diet, the dieter is likely to experience the body’s starvation response, leading to rapid weight gain of ONLY fat. This is why the yo-yo effect got its name; a dieter can easily lose 20 lbs and then gain another 30 lbs of just fat! There are a lot of case studies that show those who did the extreme food deprivation diet ended up worse than they were first started.
The best and only way to lose weight and maintain the weight off is by exercise and eating properly! Both goes together as you cannot resume the old habits of eating fried, greasy fast food and expect to lose weight with intense workout and vice versa.
The Natural Fat Storage
Generations ago, our ancestors were hunters. They would go days, even weeks with no food as times were tough. The human body, over time, adapt to store excess consumed food as body fat, which had an important function – to serve as a continuous stream of energy for the hunter when “on the hunt”. Body fat was and even till today, serves as the reserved fuel.
Nowadays the only hunt we do is shopping for our next ‘toys’ and gadgets. Unfortunately, our body still retains this prehistoric fat storage mode. Luckily for us, this mode is only triggered when we have hit the “starvation” point.
What exactly happen when you do intense workout and have restricted diet intake?
In my years of coaching, I’ve seen and heard of people doing intense workout and only eating 1500 cal/day, which is extremely low. This will trigger the starvation response. The metabolism slows down and calorie partitioning shifts in favor of fat gain. As I said before, our bodies still revert to fat storage mode when it senses calorie deprivation.
Instead of the food you eat being stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, a higher percentage will be stored in fat cells. The fat contained in the meal will also likely be stored in the fat cells, as opposed to being used as immediate fuel, which at the end, frustrated those individuals who want to look good for the summer!
Your body only cares about survival, not about looking good on the beach!!!
Just because we inherited the cavemen body doesn’t mean that we have to apply the cavemen logic to our diet. The best way to prevent starvation mode is to eat 5-6 small meals per day, preferably every 3-4 hours. Having small meals spaced evenly throughout the day will benefit you in a number of ways. First, you will have more energy, mentally and physically- no highs and lows throughout the day. More importantly for fat loss, you will keep the metabolism high throughout the day continuously. And depending on the workout that you’re doing, you might just able to train your body to store reserve energy into your muscles.