I've seen a lot of people in weight loss who seem to consider starvation mode as this big bad wolf and that if you don't eat enough for a few hours, you're body will go into starvation mode. I'm guessing that's not true but how long can you actually eat very low calories before your body goes into starvation mode and starts storing fat?
I've always been skeptical of that, I think it's just about calories in vs. calories out. Maybe there's some small effect from frequent small meals, maybe not, I don't think it's likely to be significant. The only factor from conventional dieting wisdom that I've found effective is eating low glycaemic index foods, and that's just because you're hungry less often.
And the question I asked?
Taken from another board on the net;
"As someone who spent a long time in starvation mode without even realizing it, let me see if I can answer some of the questions/issues you guys raised.
First--one day of fasting isn't going to do it. It happens when your body doesn't get enough nutrition consistently over a period of time. I can't say there's a magic number, but I would guess somewhere between 3-5 days.
Second--the only way to get out of it is to give your body what it needs to live. When I joined CC, I was at 120 lbs and couldn't for the life of me figure out why I wasn't losing weight when I was eating 700 calories a day. Everything I'd ever heard made it sounds so simple: calories in v. calories out. I thought I was doing everything right. I joined CC, got my body out of starvation mode by upping my calories and I've lost all the weight I wanted to (and then some--at one point I had to actually gain weight!).
Third--I think the hardest part of starvation mode is that you lose your natural hunger signals so you never actually FEEL hungry. Maybe that's why it never even occurred to me that what I was doing was bad for me. I was eating (albeit not enough) and I wasn't hungry, so how could it be wrong? Hah. While not hungry, I was however, incredibly moody (I could go from crying to pure anger in seconds), light headed and floaty.
Lastly--getting yourself out of starvation mode is not as hard as you think and it's totally worth it. I upped my calories by 50/day until I reached a normal amount. Yes, I gained a few lbs at first--it was natural because my body was self-regulating. I had trained it to not know when or if it would ever get enough, so it retained EVERYTHING. Once I had it convinced that I planned on feeding it consistently, the weight started falling off. It made no sense to me. At 700 calories I was maintaining at 120--at 1500 calories, I was losing rapidly. I also felt better, looked better, and was a far more pleasant person to be around"
Your going to have to experiment with yourself because nobody has a clear cut answer.Everybody is so different from the next.
Oh I see, you just like being rude for no reason. Here, let me help you out, I think you'll find this a revelation.
72-96 hour body will lower metabolism and start to use muscle as a fuel source.
Lyle McDonald - Nutrient Metabolism
I hear people in Starvation Mode tend to get moody and get real rude to people who are trying to help them after they have asked for such help!
I don't know if this information is any good to you.
Would the body not turn to its fat stores before going after muscle tissue? I always thought that the body stored fat for times of fammine so why would it canibalise itself if there was fat available?
Gluconeogenesis I'd imagine - easier to turn stored protein into "fuel" than fat...
Open to corrections/theories tho.
If you're literally not eating anything you need to get protein from somewhere, just for maintenance of your body. Epithelial cell turnover, enzymes, neurotransmitters, that kind of stuff. Though most of the discussion of it I've seen online tends to be about your body going into a starvation mode due to calorie restriction, rather than starvation. I'm not sure that I buy that so much, I think it's more likely used as an excuse for people to not reduce their calorie intake by enough.
It still amazes me at times that people expect to be able to lose significant amounts of weight without feeling hungry from time to time.
That's it. My weight has gone up and down over the years, but I've never lost any without feeling hungry from time to time, that's how it works. There are a lot of excuses that people use not to reduce their diets.
Hunger is the body telling the brain that it needs to eat something, while we shouldn't feel hungry all the time, feeling hungry when your next meal is due should be the norm regardless of whether you are on a weight loss plan or not. Never allowing oneself to be hungry is what's led to the national health disaster that is obesity and it's related diseases.