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Starvation Mode: Side Effects, Signs, And How to Reverse It Quickly

By Rob Poulos...

It all begins so innocently: A skipped meal here and there, just to lose more weight.

Most diet experts say you shouldn’t skip meals because of its effects on your metabolism, but you ignore it.  Skipping meals means eating fewer calories, and fewer calories means faster weight loss.  You’re not obese by any means, but you could stand to lose weight.

Eventually, you’re eliminating snacks, then condiments, and then exercise more to have a low calorie deficit.  The weight is just falling off, so you’re more than motivated.  But diet experts warn your caloric intake is too low: You eat just below 1200 calories per day, the recommended minimum dietary intake.

But what could it hurt?

Why You’re Suffering from Starvation Mode

For many Americans, starving themselves for a thinner physique doesn’t seem like a big deal.  After all, it’s not like you’re anorexic, right?  But unknowingly they may be damaging their metabolism, creating a serious health problem called starvation mode.

Most Americans learn they have starvation mode at the worst possible moment–when their metabolism is completely ruined.  You’ve heard the stories: People eating 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day but can’t shed the weight, no matter what foods they eat.  They think they’re eating too much or just not working out hard enough, when it fact the problem is that their low caloric intake has severely damaged their metabolism.

Starvation mode describes the range of side effects people develop when they don’t eat enough calories to keep their metabolism healthy.  While eating 500 fewer calories per week isn’t harmful, eating well below the recommended dietary intake can slowly ruin a good metabolism, simply because your body isn’t receiving the adequate nutrition to stay healthy.

And the effects are pretty bad.

Starvation Mode Side Effects

For most Americans on a diet, they’re familiar with the unpleasant side effects of dieting–increased hunger and fatigue to start.  But if you suffer from starvation mode, the side effects are much, much more serious.  Here’s what you may experience:

Reduced lean body mass.  People who starve themselves don’t just drop fat—they also drop lean body mass, which dictates the health of your metabolism.  People with little muscle mass have a very slow metabolism; on the contrary, people with more muscle mass have a higher metabolism.  Starving yourself essentially eats away at whatever metabolism you have, making it harder to lose weight later down the road.  Worse yet, it’s harder to build up lean muscle mass after you’ve lost it.

Irritability or sour mood.  Starving yourself has a negative effect on your mood, making you feel more irritable, angry, or even depressed.  As a result, your mental health suffers.

Electrolyte imbalances.  When you don’t eat enough, your electrolytes are thrown out of whack–and they’re responsible for proper heart, muscle, and nerve function.  Prolonged starvation can make you more susceptible to electrolyte imbalances, which you harm your vital organs.

What to Do if You Have Starvation Mode

If you fear your body is in starvation mode, don’t fret–this can always be reversed.  Simple increase your caloric load slowly; although you may gain more weight, you will also repair your metabolism in the process, undoing the damage.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to keep on dieting while your metabolism is ruined, so you’ll have to suck up the initial weight gain.

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