Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is fast weight loss possible from not eating?"

ZocdocAnswersIs fast weight loss possible from not eating?


I am a 31 year old female. My husband told me if I eat too little my body will go into starvation mode and actually store fat. How can I lose weight fast?


Not eating is the probably the least safe and least effective way to lose weight. Your husband is correct in that when you do not eat your body goes into starvation mode and tries to store energy to the greatest degree possible when new food is taken in. This being the case, when an individual gives in and finally eats (which is usually the case before too long) the body stores every bit of the meal that is not immediately needed as fat. Another reason starvation diets do not work is that when people finally break down and eat after they have been starving themselves, they tend to overeat and indulge in foods with a high caloric density such and high fat and high sugar foods - this leads to even more fat being stored. Even if starvation were a good way to lose weight, it is extremely unsafe. The electrolyte abnormalities, dehydration, and nutrient deficiencies that are created by intentional starvation have the potential to create severe metabolic disorders that can result in the need for prolonged hospitalization or even death. As evidence, anorexia (a common eating disorder) has one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder, owing largely to the debilitated state induced by prolonged starvation. One of the healthiest ways to loose weight rapidly is a regular program of aerobic exercise coupled with a low fat, low calorie diet high in vegetables, complex carbohydrates like fiber and whole grains, and lean meats. You should set up a consultation with a nutritionist, dietician, and/or primary care physician as soon as possible to set up a reasonably diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Need more info?

See a dietitian today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.