MYTH BUSTER: In order to lose weight, I have to starve myself

03 Feb


In order to lose weight, I have to starve myself.


Depriving your body makes it think you're experiencing a famine or food shortage. To adapt, it slows your metabolism so you burn less calories, makes you fatigued so you won't exercise, and ramps up your hunger. All of these things predispose you to weight gain and make weight loss or maintenance nearly impossible.

Starving yourself is entirely unsustainable and eventually your body will force you to eat more. This will happen no matter how much willpower you have. Or if you continue starving yourself, your body will start breaking down. Some signs of this can be loss of hair, low libido, low energy & vitality, changes of mood, headaches, inability to focus, etc.

To be honest, there is no bio hack, 30 days miracle solution or magic pill. If you are interested in having long sustainable results, start eating a balanced diet. A diet that will fuel your body and soul. Start with these simple principles:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Eat slowly – chew your foods 20-30 times before swallowing
  • Drink water 
  • Sleep at least eight continuous hours. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time
  • Move your body daily
  • Laugh often
  • Spend time with people who lift you up
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend time in the sun
  • Being gradual with your changes will help ensure long lasting results because it’s more sustainable. Every week or two, add something new into your food rotation. For example: you can start with adding more protein during your day (breakfast, lunch, dinner). This could be in the form of adding an egg to breakfast, some extra slices of chicken in your salad for lunch, or an extra ounce of fish for dinner. Whatever you decide to do, choose food that you know your body likes and you will be able to remain consistent with. The goal here is creating sustainable habits. Later, we can implement more diversity and refine quantities.

Notice how the first suggestion is to EAT MORE. This is because people generally tend to be undereating, especially when they are very active doing strength sports, like CrossFit. Eating more can be both mentally and physically challenging so giving yourself small achievable goals (like an extra ounce of protein per meal) is important. 

After training, your body will need protein to help your body repair muscle cells and make new ones. Protein contains the essential building blocks to do that. So if you are not eating enough, your body will have a hard time recovering (building, repairing and maintaining muscle tissues). Also, protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, help increase your metabolism for a few hours because protein causes the largest rise in the thermic effect of food. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating. 

A good starting point if you want to be more specific about this is to aim for 1-2 palm sizes at most meals (men-2 palms, most women-1 – 1.5 palms) and approximately 2-3 ounces if you choose protein for snacks (about 7 grams of protein per ounce, so 14-21 grams of protein). 

Remember, if your goal is to lose weight, be kind with yourself. Love your body. It gives you the energy and vitality to run, swim, jump, play, dance, sing, draw, and anything else you love doing. Don't thank it by starving and hurting it. Thank it by treating it with compassion, and love every day!

CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. Big Dawgs' uses of the CROSSFIT® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and Big Dawgs is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.

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