One of the biggest health mistakes people make is starving themselves in hopes of speeding up the weight loss process. Whether you’re doing it inadvertently (like when you’re too busy and forget to eat) or intentionally depriving yourself of food, starvation works against your body.
While decreasing huge amounts of calories may lead to some short-term weight loss, in the long run it will slow down your metabolism and eventually make you fatter. According to a report by Livestrong, the most weight a person can lose, whether fat or muscle, is ½ pound a day, and any weight loss beyond that is just water, which you can easily gain back by rehydrating.
When you are constantly starving, your body interprets this as a case of famine and naturally starts preserving fat as a way to keep you alive. Your body breaks down muscle in the absence of fuel (food), while keeping fat in storage as its way of conserving energy for the perceived famine.
If you’re looking to lose weight, doctors recommend doing it in a slow and steady phase. “The concern with fast weight loss is that it usually takes extraordinary efforts in diet and exercise—efforts that could be unhealthy and that you probably can’t maintain as permanent lifestyle changes,” reports Mayo Clinic.
For long-term weight loss, the best thing to actually do is eat. More than regular exercise, what you eat matters if you want to see real weight-loss results. Web MD suggests eating every 3-4 hours after breakfast, because the longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get and the more likely you’ll overeat. Just make sure you control your portions and fill up on the right kinds of food—the ones that contain fiber and loads of good nutrients.