Eat Less, Lose More? No, It’s the Opposite

“If I could only eat less, I’d lose weight.” Sound familiar? Well, it’s a myth, and one of the biggest misconceptions about losing weight and getting healthier.

Do you fit any of these profiles?

A. I eat very little—no more than 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day.

B. I skip breakfast to lose weight.

C. I never snack between meals, even if I’m hungry.

If so, guess what? You’ve just sabotaged your metabolism.

“Eat less to lose weight” is the worst diet myth around. It just doesn’t work! Ignore your body’s hunger signals, and it’ll plunge directly into starvation mode—aka hoard-every-molecule-of-fat mode. Let’s take a look at how starvation diets really screw up your body.

Scenario A: You’re on a strict diet, filling up on tons of calorie-free celery, lettuce, etc. (no dressing!). Guess what? Your body’s not stupid. It’s fully aware that you’re not eating enough to survive. To save your life, it throttles your energy level down to the bare minimum, shuts off your metabolism, and carefully squirrels away every calorie—even from those innocent lettuce leaves—in your fat cells.

Scenario B: You wake up determined to lose weight today. You skip breakfast and eat very little for lunch. By dinnertime, your body is screaming for food. You start nibbling on your diet dinner … and you just can’t stop. You wind up binging on two days’ worth of food before bedtime. Starvation mode strikes again.

Scenario C: It’s mid-afternoon, and you feel hungry. You ignore your hunger pangs, and eventually they go away. Why? Because your body cannibalized its own muscles for fuel. In starvation mode, your body saves precious fat and chows down on your more-expendable muscles instead.

A related scenario–hitting the gym on an empty stomach–has the same effect. (Read about that one here.)

Bottom line: Your body won’t burn fat unless it’s well fed. So skip the starvation diets—they’re murder on your metabolism.