Despite a startling amount of scientific research and real-world examples, there is still a grossly inaccurate belief that the key to weight loss is starving yourself. Not only is that an exceptionally false statement, but starving yourself actually causes your body to store body fat, and it also deprives your body of much needed energy and nutrients, which in turn makes your health decline – regardless of what the scale says.
“Skinny fat people” are people who believe that dieting alone is an effective way to lose weight, and they do, in fact, lose weight. Skinny fat people often weigh as little as 110 to 130 pounds, and they fit into clothes much smaller than the clothing sizes they wore before they starved themselves.
The problem is that the majority of the weight that they lost came from their body literally “eating itself,” and what they lost was healthy, metabolism-boosting muscle tissue – they still held on to a lot of the FAT!
Whenever you consistently don’t eat enough calories to sustain your body’s need for energy and for nutrients, your body will believe that its energy intake will always be that low, and it will go into “starvation mode”. In essence, it will hold onto body fat because body fat is a long-term energy source, and it will “defend itself” from further energy needs by destroying muscle tissue, and using that tissue for energy.
The muscles in your body are what use the majority of the calories that you ingest. They are the “furnace” that cranks up your metabolism, and for every pound of muscle tissue that you have, your body needs to feed that muscle tissue just to keep it alive. A body that is in starvation mode realizes that even though not very much energy is coming in, those muscles are still needing to be “fed”. In order to defend itself against actually starving to death, your body will start to break down those muscle tissues in order to use them for energy, and to prevent those muscles from needing to be fed in the future.
On the scale, this all looks well and good. Muscle weighs significantly more than fat does, so while you starve your body, the number on the scale drops, but your body fat isn’t going anywhere.
In addition, since you are forcing your body to literally “eat itself” in order to survive:
- Your metabolism plummets to dangerously low levels, causing you to have very low energy levels.
- Your muscle tissue is literally disappearing, so your strength also goes away, and even everyday activities can become difficult.
- Since your muscles use most of the calories that you ingest, and you have allowed your body to destroy your muscles, you are forever stuck in a vicious circle of needing to starve yourself to keep from putting the weight back on.
- The majority of the nutrients that we take in come from our foods, so a lack of consistent intake of nutrient-dense foods causes you to be susceptible to numerous illnesses, and your ability to recover from those illnesses is severely limited.
- Although the number on your scale is lower, you look unhealthy. Your skin sags from your bones, you jiggle when you walk, and even the best outfits can’t hide the fact that you are not in shape – you are a skinny fat person.
Proper diet AND a proper exercise program are the only way to lose weight while also increasing your overall level of health.
Proper diet means:
- Eating 5 to 6 smalls meals per day
- Ingesting calories based on your lifestyle, not just on your age and your gender
- Taking in the proper ratios of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy dietary fats
Proper exercise means:
- An exercise program that is appropriate for your goals and your present level of conditioning
- Exercising intensely and consistently, while also listening to your body
- Knowing when it is time to rest or back off, rather than over-doing it and getting injured
Exercise Program Recommendations
For losing inches in a very healthy manner that doesn’t emphasize muscle growth as much, check out Debbie Sieber’s Slim in 6 program
Regardless of what type of program you get involved with, always remember that there are 2 components to fitness: Proper diet and Proper exercise.
If you skimp on either one, you will regret it in the long run – guaranteed.