Last Updated on May 12, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Some people believe they can drop a lot of weight if they don’t eat. Although this may be true, it’s also an extremely dangerous method of trying to slim down a few pounds. Starving yourself should never be an option when you want to lose weight in a healthy manner. It’s all about creating a balance between what you do eat and the physical activity you get in any single day.
Why It’s Bad If You Don’t Eat
There is no doubt that starving yourself will force your body to burn fat in order to sustain itself. However, it can be incredibly harmful on your system and could promote a myriad of problems both physically and mentally. In extreme cases, it’s possible for various internal organs to begin shutting down.
Vitamins and Minerals
There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that you need in order to sustain the body. Many of these are not stored naturally. For example, the human body does not hold onto B-complex vitamins. When you starve yourself, you’re not getting the nutrients needed that humans cannot produce on their own. This is why it’s important for even overweight people to eat. It’s not the quantity of food you eat that will sustain health and fitness, but the quality of the food. Extended periods of not eating could contribute to things like a greater risk to osteoporosis – the disease that diminishes bone density. This is often seen in those who have a calcium and vitamin D deficiency. High blood pressure may also a factor when starving yourself.
Diminishing Muscle Mass
Fat isn’t the only thing your body cannibalizes when you starve yourself. In many cases, the body will begin breaking down it’s own muscle mass for proteins. Essentially, it’s like tearing down a building in order to use the parts to conduct the maintenance. This is part of the reason why meth addicts look like a walking mummification of their former selves. A lot of substances lower the appetite to the point where the body literally begins tearing itself apart in order to stay alive.
When you don’t eat, the brain is denied many nutrients it needs in order to maintain normal functions. The memory could be directly affected, and you could lose the capacity for rational thought. The body isn’t the only thing that requires a balance of nutrition. It could also increase the risk of mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease at a later date. The antioxidants in the foods you eat are what help the brain function and protect itself from various components flowing through the blood stream. By starving, you’re eliminating those components to keep your brain from staying fit.
Lack of Energy
Remember what I said about B-complex vitamins not being stored in the body? These components help convert materials to promote energy within the muscles. When you don’t eat, these vitamins are not longer available to do this job. Over a relatively short amount of time, you’ll start feeling lethargic and too exhausted to move. Even overweight people can feel this rather quickly.
For example, I once wanted to see how many calories I could burn in a day through excessive exercising. I ate very little and burned an incredible amount through weights and walking. By noon, I was starting to shake and had a hard time getting around. A few times, I was so dizzy that I thought for sure I was going to pass out in mid sentence when talking. What happened was that I burned a vast number of calories without refueling my body and sent it into a minor shock.
Food Does More Than Just Fill the Gut
To answer the question of how much weight you can lose if you don’t eat, the answer will be subject to your physique and level of actual activity. On average, it may be possible to lose more than a pound per day if you don’t do anything but sit on the couch. However, physical activity will cause you to burn more. It all depends on how active you are and how long you can stay conscious in the process.
Food is a requirement for basic survival. The human body simply cannot function as it was designed when you don’t eat. From the nutrients we absorb to maintain organ function to keeping enough muscle mass to move about, it’s all contributed to food. Ask those who are starving how they feel. The general consensus will be, “miserable.” It’s not just because their stomachs are empty, but because their bodies are also shutting down.