How Many Calories Does it Take to Enter Starvation Mode! (Myth or Fact?)
I doubt there is a term strewn around more loosely on the internet as the cause of stalled weight loss than entering “starvation mode”. Everyone claims that once you eat at a calorie deficit around or below 1200 you will suddenly push your body into the dreaded “starvation mode” where you supposedly hold on to every single calorie that enters your mouth. The commonly given solution then is to eat more food and the weight will start to come off. But is this REALLY the case? What exactly does it take for our bodies to enter starvation mode?
Of course this is not the case! You only enter starvation mode once most of your body’s fat has been oxidized, which happens at a very low body fat percentage; This begins the catabolization of lean muscle tissue. 1200 is not a magic number where you stop losing fat. Most women hover around 20% body fat, so if you eat below 1200 calories for the day or two or three, your body will still have fuel as well as a lot of fat preserves to draw from to create energy and keep your organs functioning.
The only way that a 1200 calorie or below diet will prevent you from losing weight is if your base metabolic rate has slowed so much that your total daily energy expenditure (the amount of energy you spend throughout the entire day including your base metabolic rate or metabolism) totals 1200 calories or below, which is highly unlikely.