Starvation diets seem like a tempting way to shed weight fast – at least that’s what I thought in 2011 when I cut down to a quarter of my daily calorie needs and kept it up for well over a year. During that time I did drop a massive amount of weight, but it came with a heavy price. This is why my experience has shown me that starvation diets NEVER work:
1) It was hell. I was tired all the time – and I don’t mean just a little tired, I mean unable to do anything but sit in front of my computer researching food and counting down the minutes to my next measly meal tired. I was in college, and my work suffered massively. I lost friends because I was too tired to be social and interact with them, and besides I couldn’t meet them for dinner or lunch or coffee or any other scenario involving food. In fact, I was just miserable. I wasn’t living, I was existing, and no one else wants to hang out with someone like that!
2) You lose muscle not fat! Okay, you lose both, but you do lose a massive amount of muscle. This makes you weak, and lowers your metabolic rate so you burn less calories throughout the day. Then, when you reach your goal weight and start to eat again, you will put on FAT (even if you reefed progressively like I did). I ended up looking worse than when I’d started because I’d lost so much muscle, so I wound up with fat and flab where before I’d at least had some muscle definition!
3) You mess with your metabolism! Starvation diets put your body into panic mode, so your metabolism slows down drastically to conserve everything you eat. This means that when you start refeeding, you WILL PUT ON WEIGHT. I was certain I would avoid this by slowly increasing what I ate, which worked for a while but still failed. Even though I was eating under 2000 calories, I kept putting on weight until I was over the weight I’d began with (your body puts the extra on incase of another period of starvation). Once my body realised there was food still around, it naturally dropped back exactly to the weight I started with.
4) You will end up with an eating disorder. My ‘harmless quick-fix diet’ resulted first in anorexia, which after refeeding (and, as the above explains, massive weight-gain) turned to purging disorder, with at times threatened to turn into binge-eating disorder or bulimia. Even now, at a normal weight and a size 8/10, food and weight still controls my life and tortures me – all because of that damned starvation diet!
So trust me, starvation diets don’t work and will ruin your life. Focus instead on a healthy diet (never eat less than 1200 calories), and most importantly EXERCISE!