Starvation Mode

The first thing people do when they’re trying to lose weight is cut out calories, but it needs to be done the right way in order to work. If you cut out too much for an extended period of time, your body will enter starvation mode.


What is Starvation Mode?

When the body isn’t given enough calories to function normally, it will slow your metabolism down to compensate and conserve energy. This means that the rate at which you burn calories is lower, and obviously, for weight loss, this is the opposite of what you want. This response by the body is actually called Adaptive Thermogenesis.

We burn calories in four different ways, through:

  • BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate: The calories burned just to stay alive
  • TEF – Thermic Effect of Food: The calories burned digesting food
  • TEE – Thermic Effect of Exercise: The calories burned from exercise
  • NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: The calories burned when you fidget in the day to day

All of these burn rates decrease when your body enters starvation mode.


What is a Safe Calorie Intake?

According to, the rule of thumb here is a minimum of 1200 calories for women, and 1500 calories for men. Anything less than this should be supervised by a medical professional.

If you’re doing exercise as well, your intake should be increased, otherwise you’ll fatigue quickly and won’t have the energy that you need to exercise properly, or even concentrate like normal.

To determine your ideal calorie intake for weight loss, use this calculator.

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