For most people, dieting is synonymous with hunger. Being hungry is supposed to result in dramatic weight loss, but this has been disproven time and time again. In fact, those who force themselves to remain hungry through dieting actually end up gaining weight in the long run. Why is this the case, and how does being hungry make you fat?
There are a few different factors at play here. For one, forcing your body to stay hungry for long periods triggers your metabolism to slow down. This means you burn fewer calories and fat than you would have if you had allowed yourself to eat. A slow metabolism can be a major burden in the short-term because it prevents you from losing weight, as well as it being a burden in the long-term because it encourages weight gain. And once your metabolism has slowed down, it is no small task to encourage it to speed up again. Rather than fasting for long periods, your body will respond better to eating healthy foods every two to three hours. This keeps your metabolism boosted, the opposite of hunger’s effects.
A second factor is bingeing. When you allow yourself to become extremely hungry, you are far more likely to binge once you finally allow yourself to eat. Your body thinks you’re starving, so bingeing seems like an excellent idea to your body, considering it doesn’t know when you’ll ever feed it again. Plus, the foods you crave when you are very hungry are predominately sugary high-carbohydrate options that offer immediate energy with a huge burst of sugar into the bloodstream. Again, this is logical for your body, but the after effects for you are severe. Following the huge spike in blood sugar comes an inevitable drop in blood sugar, leaving you tired and feeling hungrier than you should be. In the end, allowing yourself to become too hungry results in you ultimately eating more.
The last factor is muscle loss. If you routinely force yourself to stay hungry for long periods, your body will convert protein from your muscles into usable energy. This muscle loss is a two-fold deficit for your body because you lose muscle immediately and you lose the extra calorie-burning that muscle would have provided long-term, resulting in a slower metabolism and greater weight gain over time.
To sum this up, going long periods without eating can prove disastrous for your body. Now, you know to equate extreme hunger with weight gain, not weight loss.