No, Your Body Will Not Go Into “Starvation Mode”!

Another myth that keeps getting repeated is the fear that you will slow your metabolism down with intermittent fasting and put your body into the dreaded “starvation mode”. Not true.

Your body’s metabolism actually slows down in response to cutting calories. By eating low-calorie, multiple times a day, your body thinks there is a shortage of food and lowers the metabolism in order to preserve energy coming in from your food. This doesn’t happen when you fast. Why? Well, when your food intake goes down to zero your body is not going to bring your metabolism down to zero. Think about it – you have to burn some calories to stay alive, so your body looks to other energy sources besides food to burn. This is why we store fat in our bodies. When you fast your body turns to burning stored fat instead of sugar. 

Eat less, move more – the weight loss plan followed by contestants on “The Biggest Loser”, doesn’t work. A study done on 14 of the contestants showed that 6 years later 13 of them had regained what they lost. That’s a failure rate of 93%! Their metabolisms slowed down in response to caloric reduction – so much that they needed to eat 800 calories less than they normally would in order to maintain that weight loss. 

This is a summary of how our bodies work. If you want to dig into the details, and I really encourage you to do so, you have to read “Delay, Don’t Deny” by Gin Stephens and “The Obesity Code” by Dr. Jason Fung!

By the way, guess who follows intermittent fasting? That’s right – Wolverine!


But… Won’t You Lose Muscle?

This is a myth – one of many fasting myths that just needs to die.

  1. Losing Muscle: No you won’t burn/lose muscle when you fast. Here’s why. Our bodies simply are not made that way. Our bodies store food energy as body fat for a reason – to have an energy source to go to when food is scarce. Muscle, on the other hand, is preserved until body fat becomes so low that the body has no choice but to turn to muscle. This will only happen when body fat is at less than 4 percent. If we did not preserve muscle and burn fat instead when no food is available, we would not have survived very long as a species. Almost all mammals have this same ability. Dr Jason Fung explains it this way, “To burn muscle for energy would be like storing firewood and then, as soon as cold weather hits, chopping up your sofa and throwing it into the fire.” (The Complete Guide to Fasting, by Dr Jason Fung with Jimmy Moore.)

Gaining or losing muscle has to do with exercise, not your diet. You can’t eat your way to more muscle and you can’t fast your way out of muscle.

In fact, fasting is one of the most potent stimuli for growth hormone secretion, and increased growth hormone helps maintain lean body mass.

What IS Intermittent Fasting/OMAD?

Intermittent Fasting is simply controlling the amount of time that you don’t eat in a given day. Unless you unknowingly eat while you sleep-walk, (sorry, but I’m not blogging about sleep disorders) then you already fast – every night while you sleep. One thing it is not:  It is NOT a diet. There is NO counting required and actually it is not encouraged. I don’t count calories, carbs, macros or anything anymore! That’s why my blog is called “Don’t Count, Don’t Care.

OMAD stands for One Meal a Day.

So intermittent fasting the OMAD way is just fasting for a certain amount of time and then eating a meal during your eating time or window as we like to call it. When I first started intermittent fasting I focused more on how many hours out of the day I was fasting. With the OMAD approach I focus more on how long my eating window is.

For instance, this is what a typical day of intermittent fasting/OMAD looks like for me:  I usually open my eating window around 4:45 p.m. when I get home from work. I start with a snack of maybe nuts, fruit, cheese, crackers – actually whatever I feel hungry for. Then my husband and I will have our evening meal together. I love ice cream so I always have that after. Then I close my eating window and don’t open it again until the following day when I get home from work. My window is usually about 2-3 hours long.

When I first started I had a longer eating window, usually around 4-5 hours. As my body adapted to this way of eating I found myself able to wait a little longer to open it. I can also be very flexible when I want to be for special occasions. For example on Mother’s Day weekend I opened my window at noon on Saturday and didn’t close it until after supper. Then I opened it around noon on Sunday but closed it mid afternoon.

An important aspect of the fasting portion of this way of eating is making sure I have a “clean fast.” This means that I only drink black coffee, plain tea, water, or unflavored sparkling mineral water during my fast. One of the key benefits of fasting is to keep from spiking your insulin and if you don’t fast “clean” you will definitely be spiking that insulin!

So this is Intermittent Fast/OMAD in a nutshell (a very small nutshell). I am going to use this blog to explain more details and to share what I have learned and am still learning about intermittent fasting and eating One Meal a Day. I know I won’t have time to post daily so if you don’t want to miss a post sign up in the right hand corner to receive email updates when I post something new.

I also really, really encourage you to go to Amazon and buy Gin’s book – “Delay, Don’t Deny”. It is one of the easiest to read intermittent fasting books and easy to understand and I have already read it twice. I use if for a resource all the time!

Until the next post, here is some inspiration for you to really consider seriously this way of eating!

Ruth compare
My highest weight on the left to 30 pounds down on the right with IF/OMAD!