Starvation Mode

Posted on February 27, 2017 in Cutting, Diet, Physique

Prepare to get butt-hurt.

What if I told you that starvation mode didn’t exist?

What if I told you that your weight loss stalls were not due to starvation mode, and there was something else a little less sinister, and more logical at play?

The truth is that when the human body is in starvation mode, it loses both fat and muscle at a devastating rate.

This is what real “starvation mode” looks like! https://www.flickr.com/photos/jetfuel/230448205/in/

You don’t know what you’re talking about!! I’ve been there and I know what it’s like!”

It’s different if you’re older, or have kids, or have a wife, or have a slow metabolism (my personal favourite)”.

Starvation mode doesn’t exist. Having a slow metabolism simply means that you like food too much relative to your body’s energy requirements. Being older makes you slightly (depending on age) more catabolic , yes, but a calorie deficit = fat loss.

Starvation mode, or some similar statement that implies that a person is incapable of losing fat is merely a scapegoat, and the refusal to take responsibility for their own actions and circumstances. SO MANY PEOPLE DO THIS!!

Your wife & kids aren’t holding a gun to your head and forcing you to eat that cake! I hope not anyway. The financial devastation of a divorce would probably be worth it in that scenario 😉

Everyone needs to take responsibility, and look at how fat loss works in the real world. Just because dieting starts to become difficult, doesn’t mean your body struggles to burn fat. It’s nonsense! You’re simply struggling to train your mind to get used to less food!

As I’ve said before, these are psychological failures, NOT physiological!

As energy consumption goes dowwwn, fat loss goes uuup.

This is why I focus on sustainability on this blog; it avoids these psychological issues entirely. Yes, you will take longer to get to your goals, but you almost completely short-circuit these problems, so my system is conducive to long term happiness.

We want to be happy in the long run as well as the short run!

Still not convinced?

Starvation Mode
Random nice picture 🙂 https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/5825408292/in/

Let’s take someone who’s stalled in their fat loss journey. They come to me for help. I ask them how many calories they’ve been consuming.

The answer is usually “not many” or something equally meaningless. Obviously you need to have an idea of your consumption levels otherwise you’re shooting in the dark!

But let’s be nice and assume they said “1000 calories” (ouch!). I would then ask how long they have managed to do this for. Of course in real life the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM would be 1 week. This is why low calorie diets, by default, will not make you any happier. You can’t even keep them up for a week, even with really strong willpower.

But anyway, if they said “3 weeks”, then obviously you know this isn’t the case.

I’m sure they do genuinely believe that they have only been consuming 1000 calories, but the reality is, if they aren’t shedding the fat (and probably muscle) at a frightening rate, then they aren’t truly on such a low intake.

The brain’s survival instincts are very powerful. The old “lizard” portion of the brain is WAAAAY too strong for our rational section (which is arguably the human’s greatest “flaw” – irrationality), and this is exacerbated when put into an extreme dieting situation. The “lizard” portion of the brain makes extreme diets impossible in societally normal circumstances.

Your brain convinces you that you’re eating less than you are. All you can think about is food. You forget about a lot of the calories you consumed earlier in the day/week. DON’T BOTHER WITH EXTREME DIETS! Sustainability is key!

Trust me here from experience, when you’re dieting too hard or for too long, you literally start dreaming at night about food. This is not good. This means your subconscious mind is going to screw you over VERY SOON, and your diet will come undone, no matter how strong your willpower is. The subconscious always wins eventually in these situations.

But I hope for those of you who haven’t experienced this stuff yet to any significant degree, you can understand how powerful your mind really is, and that it genuinely plays havoc with you.

I don’t want to get too dark here, but let’s look at horrendous conditions people have been under, historically, where they have genuinely had their food intake restricted (rations).

Does their fat loss stall?

Is there a fat person walking round POW camps due to bad genetics?

NO!

My point is: In the modern era, in a world where there is an abundance of food wherever you look, in order to bypass the inevitable psychological hurdles you will face when trying to lose fat, you have to go slowly and enjoy yourself (within reason).

 

  • Harry Davidson

    Very true. People can’t control themselves when severely deprived of food, it doesn’t work no matter how motivated you are!