A Starvation Diet - Is that what I need to lose weight?
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people talk about not eating so that they can lose weight. Why does it make more sense to not fuel our body than provide it with the energy it needs? Why have we become so afraid of food that we would rather starve ourselves for the sake of losing a pound than actually take the time to make better meal choices? How do you usually feel when you have not eaten in a long time? Probably not great...you may feel lethargic, have a headache, hear your stomach growling, or overall just feel cranky. Does this sound like how a kid starts acting when they are hungry? I know in my house it does. You would not let a child starve, so don't do it to yourself.
Food is our source of energy!!! Food in its most natural state eaten at regular intervals throughout the day absolutely keeps you energized and allows for optimal daily function. Eating good food frequently in small portions helps control hunger and minimizes blood sugar fluctuation.
What makes you gain weight is not simply putting food in your body. It is eating highly processed foods with empty calories that do not provide satiety. It is eating large portions at mealtime and not distributing your carbs, protein, and fats throughout the day. It is consuming large amounts of sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. It is drinking alcohol, soda, and juice with added sugar vs. water. It is not being present while eating and scarfing down food as you sit in front of the tv or computer. It is also a result of eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis.
With that being said, however, most nutrition experts do not recommend an energy intake lower than 1200 calories. If you are active, then this amount is definitely too low as you need enough fuel for your energy demands. The only exception to this recommendation is for obese patients under a doctor's care. They are placed on very restricted diets in order to lose weight rapidly and are closely monitored during the process. Interesting enough, although obese patients lose a significant amount of weight short-term while on the restricted diets, these diets alone are not all that effective for long-term weight loss. Physical activity and behavioral therapy have been found to be more beneficial for maintenance of weight loss in obese patients.
What are the risks of an energy intake (diet) lower than 1200 calories/day?