myths and realities of the starvation mode
Starvation Mode Symptoms and How to Get Fit Safely
While weight loss is considered a positive thing, it benefits you both physically and mentally as well. However, it is your brain that is worried about whether you are undereating. So, whenever you lose weight, your metabolism starts to conserve energy. And, it does by reducing the number of calories burnt.
As such, it makes you lazier and hungrier. And, your food cravings increase. The feeling to lose weight makes you feel miserable. And, you start abandoning your weight-loss strategies and regain more weight.
This phenomenon is called starvation mode, where your brain tries to protect you from starvation. This article emphasizes starvation mode symptoms and how you can prevent them.
WHAT DOES STARVATION MODE FOR YOUR BODY IMPLY?
The starvation mode in humans is a protection mode that gets activated when the body experiences low-calorie intake. In short, it is your body’s response to calorie restriction for a prolonged time. When your body doesn’t get enough calories, it slows down your metabolism to save energy and protect you from starving.
It means, your body won’t burn more calories. As such, it hinders you from losing weight. It is a natural mechanism of your brain. However, if you skip a few meals or don’t consume sufficient calories for a few days, your body won’t enter this mode immediately.
So, you must regulate your calorie intake with caution rather than cutting back drastically in an attempt to lose weight. Moreover, if you aren’t careful, you can sabotage your weight loss regime.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES FOR STARVATION MODE?
Most people tend to consume less food intentionally. It is the result of adhering to a strict diet structure or following other kinds of health trends. Most of the time, these trends and diet structures are misinterpreted. Or, doesn’t contain appropriate nutritional value leading to starvation.
Other reasons might include a person having an eating disorder or being unaware of what they are doing. Apart from that, people who have a high metabolism or involves in intense physical activity, eat less to meet their body’s demands. Certain people who are dealing with stress tend to eat less.
They might have experienced traumatic life events such as the death of a loved one. Also, many people eat less because of different mental conditions and depression. In addition, a considerable amount of the population worldwide can’t sustain a healthy lifestyle because of their financial condition.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE IN STARVATION MODE?
There is no denying that keeping tabs on your calorie intake is an integral part of weight loss. However, it doesn’t mean that you should take it too far. Moreover, if you haven’t consumed enough calories for a long time, there might be serious consequences.
What if you don’t even realize that your body has entered starvation mode? The first step to getting fit safely involves understanding and evaluating your current situation properly. And, the best way to ensure that you are in starvation mode is to watch out for certain symptoms. Here are the 9 starvation mode symptoms that you need to watch out for.
1. SUFFERING FROM ILLNESS MORE OFTEN
When you eat less, it leads to an improper diet. It means you are deprived of the important nutrients that are required to maintain a good, healthy immune system. Also, it means that you are prone to get ill more often. Illnesses such as cold last for a long time than they should have.
So, when you are aware of healthy nutritional intake, you are likely to have constant sickness. Moreover, this is particularly important if you are already having a weak immune system. Having a sufficient amount of food helps in the better functioning of your immune system and keeps you away from having frequent sickness.
This is one of the most widespread symptoms that indicates your body has entered the starvation mode. So, whenever you feel tired, you are starving actually. Calories provide fuel to the body so that it can function well. These functions include certain simple bodily processes such as breathing.
And, complex processes such as critical thinking. However, the right number of calories that a body needs vary from one person to another. Also, it depends on other factors such as the extent of physical activities, metabolism, and body size. When a person eats less, their body receives fewer calories.
As such, the body finds difficulty in functioning properly. And, it impacts the energy levels. You feel mental fatigue and physical tiredness. Also, low energy levels hurt fitness and physical activity performance.
3. CONSTANT FOOD CRAVINGS
An effective weight loss regime means that you are never having a calorie deficit. When your body is in starvation mode, you tend to remain hungry almost all the time. And, you feel the same even after eating. So, what does that mean?
First of all, it proves that you are not having adequate food to keep you full often. And secondly, your food cravings increase during this time. It is a fact that when you reduce your calorie intake by 40% even for a day, your hunger level increases significantly.
Apart from that, when you eat too little, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone. As a result, it contributes to obesity and weight gain because it increases your desire to eat more.
4. YOU ARE LOSING HAIR
When there is a deficit in nutritional intake, hair loss is bound to happen. And, it is another symptom of starvation mode that you need to notice. Deficiencies in vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, and proteins result in hair loss.
Also, you may notice other abnormalities other than hair loss. Visible changes in hair structure and color erupt. Besides, when you are starving, your body prioritizes the vital organs more compared to extremities like hair.
5. ENCOUNTER REPRODUCTIVE ISSUES
As said, when you are in starvation mode, the body prioritizes important life-supporting processes such as blood circulation and breathing. In short, it focuses more on what’s important for your body.
As a result, the production of sex hormones gets impaired. In turn, a person might experience less sexual activity. And, hinders reproductive processes. Several types of research have shown that insufficient calorie intake hurts reproductive functioning.
And, it applies to both males and females. For females, it is a tricky situation because it can prevent pregnancies from happening.
Another great starvation mode symptom is depression. It is a highly sophisticated mental health issue interlinked with different causes. Moreover, it is not possible to find out the exact reason for depression always. Also, most people believe that the problem is not necessarily due to malnutrition.
But this is not true. Recent studies have concrete evidence that proves there is a connection between depression and poor eating habits. When you don’t eat enough, it leads to nutrient deficiency and can cause depression. Deficiency in certain types of vitamins increases the risk of depression.
Apart from that, deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, iron, and selenium can cause depression as well. Minerals such as lithium, potassium, zinc, and manganese are linked with depression, too.
7. SLEEP DISORDERS
A lot of people worldwide are already suffering from the consequences of sleep disorders. While the reasons for sleeping issues are many, adding to the list is a restrictive diet that makes the matter even worse.
One study shows that people who had a restricted-calorie diet were unable to have a good night’s sleep. The results were visible when they opted for a new diet plan for a few days. So, if you notice that you are having trouble while sleeping, it might be due to starvation mode.
8. ANXIETY AND FREQUENT MOOD SWINGS
While anxiety might not look like a symptom of starvation mode, several pieces of research prove otherwise. It proves that most people who follow a restricted diet, have high levels of anxiety and depression.
Another study shows that people who took calories between 400 and 800 for about three months are likely to experience anxiety. Furthermore, it leads to regular mood swings as well. One thing leads to another.
When you are in anxiety, it is because of the starvation mode. And, when you feel hungry almost every time, it can make you feel irritable. And, it gives rise to mood swings that happen frequently. So, when you feel irritable, moody, and depressed, it is due to starvation mode.
9. BOWEL PROBLEMS
When you consume little calories, it results in bowel issues like constipation. People suffering from constipation have fewer bowel movements compared to the others. Moreover, harder stools are common. And, they undergo a painful experience to expel.
If a person eats less, their body doesn’t have the requisite food to convert them into stools. And, it results in constipation. So, they will have fewer bowel movements per week. It won’t matter whether your restricted diet contains fiber or not. But if you are not eating enough, it leads to constipation.
IS STARVATION MODE REAL?
If you are still wondering whether the starvation mode is real, the above symptoms prove that it is very much real. And, it can impact you in different ways. In starvation mode, your body finds it difficult to supply nutrients to the vital organs in your body.
As a result, they became weak. Starvation, when left unattended, becomes life-threatening. Even after reducing your calorie intake, you haven’t noticed a significant weight reduction, starvation mode has certainly gotten you.
So, how to get relieved from this situation? If you realize that you are in starvation mode because of poor eating habits, there are ways to get yourself out of it.
HOW TO AVOID STARVATION MODE?
Starvation mode is a natural response from your body due to reduced calorie intake. Here are a few things that you can do practice to mitigate the ill effects of starvation mode.
1. UNDERSTAND HOW WEIGHT LOSS WORKS
There is no shortage of destructive and illogic information regarding weight loss. And, not all the tips on how to achieve this feat works. One thing you need to understand is that a good weight loss regime doesn’t require you to starve. Or, put your life in danger by suggesting improper methods.
Instead, for a successful implementation of weight loss, you need to follow a few basic things. And, that will bring you desirable results. You need to have a healthy diet with enough calories and follow some effective exercises. Moreover, it is wise to seek advice from an expert or a dietician. This is the best thing that you can do.
2. TRY NOT TO SKIP BREAKFAST AND INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE
A balanced diet includes having a good breakfast consisting of enough carbs, fat, and protein. This will give you the required energy you need for the whole day. Keep in mind that skipping breakfast means starting your day with a dead battery. High protein intake in the morning lowers your chances of having food cravings throughout the day.
Good protein sources include protein powder, eggs, an unsweetened plain yogurt with hemp seeds and berries, and sprouted toast and peanut butter. When you skip meals, it makes your brain think that it is in starvation mode.
3. IT IS UNWISE TO EAT UNTIL YOU ARE FULL
Try to eat until you no longer feel hungry. Don’t eat until it makes you full. It is good not to give your body too many calories that it doesn’t need. Rather, watch out when you are hungry and eat when you are sure of that.
The amount of healthy fat, protein, and carbs that your body needs for weight loss depends on a lot of factors. And, it includes your goals on weight loss as well. So, don’t compromise that with an improper way of eating. Another great tactic you can apply is to eat something heavy in the morning and end small as the day progresses.
4. EAT FOOD IN SMALL AMOUNTS OR CONSIDER FASTING
Eat every 3 to 4 hours, have 5 or 6 meals per day, or 3 meals with 2 snacks per day. You can choose anyone you like. Each of these eating habits keeps your metabolism even. And, keeps your blood sugar levels stable as well. Only the right balance of food will help you avoid extra weight.
Low blood sugar means the energy levels in your body will fluctuate and body processes will work inefficiently. Fasting is another great option that you can follow. Several studies have shown that people who follow a time-restricted feeding schedule or intermittent fasting don’t have chances of getting their bodies into starvation mode.
5. EXERCISE MODERATELY AND LIFT WEIGHTS
Intense workouts are great if you are happy with your body. However, if you are finding it hard to shed pounds, you can opt for a moderate exercise program that is beneficial for your health. Walking 30 minutes regularly can be better compared to a 90-minute workout session that you can’t manage.
Also, if you are having issues with blood sugar, an intense workout add stress. It increases blood sugar levels. When you set higher goals and you fail to meet them, it keeps you away from success. So, it’s good to start small and surpass them later.
Resistance exercise is another effective way to get fit safely. While the right choice is lifting weights, bodyweight exercises work fine as well. Adding resistance training speed up your metabolism and makes your body lose weight with ease.
6. YOU CAN TRY CARB CYCLING
It is a method used to create an energy deficit. However, it avoids the long-term sustained calorie restriction that makes changes to the hormones. As such, it creates starvation mode. Carb cycling involves following a high-protein, low-carb diet throughout the day.
After every 5 to 7 days, you should increase your calorie intake gradually. This method is very effective because high-protein, low-carb diets are satiating. That way, you can reduce calorie intake without even trying.
Also, it helps to avoid food cravings and hunger. After that, the high-carb days allow you to restore the muscle fuel stores, keep your metabolism sensitive toward insulin, and provide abundant calories.
7. TAKING A SHORT BREAK FROM YOUR DIET MIGHT BE HELPFUL
Many people like to take a break from their usual diet for a few days. During these days, they eat a little above maintenance. And, continue with their original diet after a few days.
Some shreds of evidence show a temporary boost in the hormone levels that decreases with weight loss. Also, you can take longer breaks if needed. However, keep in mind what you are eating during this break from your normal diet. So, eat with caution but much that you begin to gain weight again.
So, there is no question that starvation mode is indeed real. However, it isn’t powerful either. While it can slow weight loss for some time, it won’t allow you to gain weight even if you are restricting calories. So, avoid entering starvation mode by losing weight in the right way. Understand your nutritional needs and work on a flexible diet system.