Does “Starvation Mode” Actually Exist?
“My body just won’t let go of fat anymore. I’m eating too little, so my body has gone into Starvation Mode”.
We all know a person who claims they’re “eating right” and “eating healthy” and “eating less” and that they know for sure they’re eating a number of calories that should cause them to lose weight.
But yet, they aren’t losing any weight.
We know that to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories. But, if you consume too few calories, your metabolism slows down so much so that your body enters a state where weight loss stops completely.
According to most people, this is what has been referred to as, the formidable, “Starvation Mode.”
Based on that definition it would make perfect sense for this person to assume that they’ve entered “Starvation Mode” due to eating to not eating enough.
Logical? Not so much.
As long as a caloric deficit is created (meaning consume fewer calories than your body burns), then you will lose weight every single time, without exceptions. Regardless of whether that deficit is small, moderate or large. An energy deficit will always, always result in weight loss.
There is, unfortunate, real-world proof that dismisses the “Starvation Mode” myth. You don’t ever hear of people becoming overweight due to starvation in impoverished counties where food is scarce.
This true state of starvation clearly illustrates that people never hit a ‘point’ where they can no longer lose weight. It’s just not a thing.
The “I’m eating too few calories and it’s stopping me from losing weight/causing me to gain weight” is utter nonsense.
Want to know why you’re actually not losing weight?
You aren’t in a caloric deficit.
But there is something else that needs to be acknowledged here – which happens to be very real. It’s something better described as a “starvation response.”
If you do things to your body that it doesn’t like and could put you at risk, your body is going to respond in whatever way makes the most sense to it from an evolutionary survival standpoint.
Your metabolic rate will slow, you will expend less energy (decrease in non-exercise activity thermogenesis – a.k.a. NEAT), food cravings and intense hunger increase. These defense mechanisms, in turn, can shift you out of a caloric deficit without you even realizing it.
If “Starvation Mode” isn’t what’s halting your weight loss, then what is it? If you’ve made it this far – the answer to your question should be fairly clear now.
The problem is not that you are eating too little and your calories are too low. Instead, it’s the opposite.
In summary, you’re consuming more calories than you think you are and burning less than you presumed. Therefore, if you are not losing weight the absolute, the sole reason is that no caloric deficit is present.
By Lauren Murray
Lauren Murray (@Lauren.murrayy on Instagram) is a Social Media Influencer and International Bikini Competitor. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and practices sustainable, science-based training. Lauren has also received mentorship from a foremost expert and a world-renowned doctor in Nutritional Science. She hopes to help millennial women ditch yo-yo diets and live a fit, balanced lifestyle