Please Don’t Try to Lose 5 lbs By Tuesday.

Starvation usuallys has the opposite effect than what is intended: Long-term weight gain.

Last Sunday, I was talking with a young man who insisted that he wanted to drop 5 pounds by Tuesday.

My first reaction was, “What happens on Tuesday?” I figured that there must be an impending tropical vacation, or perhaps a gratuitous photo shot or something of the sort. “Oh, nothing,” he replied. “I just want to lose a few pounds fast, so I’m not going to eat.”

I suggested that it might be wiser to drop the weight over a period of 4 weeks rather than 3 days, and to use a more effective technique than starvation. But there was no persuading him, and it wasn’t my battle to fight.

I fear that his mindset is fairly widespread - that most people don’t know why dropping weight quickly is so detrimental… and that the detrimental effects are amplified by starvation. While it may produce temporary results, starvation does a huge amount of damage to one’s metabolism - and almost always results in a weight gain that is equivalent to (or larger than) the amount of weight originally lost.

When you starve yourself (generally 1,000 calories or less for most people), the body responds. Through eon’s of evolution, the body has built a starvation response that aids in survival. The metabolism of the starving person slows to a crawl to conserve calories. This will ensure the body’s survival as long as possible. So even though the number of calories in has decreased, so too has the number of calories out.

Starving yourself, obviously, is not sustainable. Eventually the fasting individual will resume their original diet - but the slowed metabolism will lag. Calories are packed on as fat, and the result is a weight gain that often exceeds the original weight loss.

Moreover, starvation can result in the loss of muscle mass, hair loss, decreased energy and increased tiredness. There are also psychological implications of starvation, including irritability and depression.

To achieve real results, realize that the changes must be long-term. If you want to lose some weight, it can be achieved over time by boosting one’s metabolism (though, among other things, an exercise program that combines strength training and cardio) and making healthy food choices.

The bottom line: Starvation doesn’t work - whether it’s done for a few days or a few weeks.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. It’s strange how you know this and you put it out there, yet when it comes to anti-anorexia campaigns, small or national, they just tend to stick with “Don’t”. They use visuals and what have you, but they never really explain how starvation leads to weight-gain, or depression.
    I’d rather work off what I’ve eaten as opposed to not have eaten at all.

  2. that boy is sexy as hell and i only wish i could be that skinny. but no. i’m fat and have been for fucking ever no matter how much i exercise or eat healthy.

    • I know what you mean. Thing is that often we do the whole exercising and healthy eating stuff totally wrong even though we think we do it right. I don’t wanna advertise anything to be honest, but what has helped many people with the same problem you described (and 100% free of charge ALWAYS!) is
      because there you get all the information about what is right and what is wrong in the whole working out and healthy eating (and living) thing AND they give you the tools to keep track of whether you do it right personalized for yourself (still free of charge).

      (ok, now I DO sound like a promoter of that site :D)

  3. Yeh your right, i think they just cant be bothered putting more effort into it thinking this will be the easy way out of it because losing weight does need some calorie defeact but they automaticly think not eating at all will certainly make it drop off, there only losing water weight which will all come back on again once they start eating and drinking again.

  4. I agree with you. About a month ago, due to a medical screening, I was encouraged to make changes in my life style which will result in weight loss and living a more active and healthy life style. So, because I was a couch potato (mostly,) I first changed my diet by eliminating adding sugar to my drinks, and generally being more mindful of what food/drinks I put in my mouth. I also once again started using a stationary exercise bike that’s been collecting dust for year. The bottom line is I expect to be down to around 175 pounds by the end of the year. This morning, I weighed myself and I weighed 207.4 pounds. In order to weigh 175 by this time next year, I need to drop 2.7 pounds per week. That isn’t a lot, but it is true, it is easier to put it on than take it off. Also, this is a long term life style type change, not a quick fix, so as I make progress, I am adjusting my routine to be more effective while still being something I want to continue doing.

  5. oops, I said 2.7 pounds per week, I mean, per month 😛 My bad 😉

  6. I have a blog about anorexic and bulimic people, (in spanish). In Latinamerica January 16 is the anniversary of “Ana and Mia” (names in his world), and they´re going to starve from 10 to 16. They have a lot of clubs in facebook about this topic. And they do competitions to see who lost more weight in less time. This is very sad and worrying.

  7. AshTaylor says:

    This article could not have come at a better time for me as I’ve revisited being anorexic again after having kicked it … uh… MANY many years ago. So, how do you quit without gaining the weight back?

    Luckily, I’ve made most of the calorie savings by eating WAY healthier than I had been (i.e. swapping out the 440 calorie Latte drink for the 15 calorie Americano, and eating the 250 calorie bagel and lox instead of the 650+ hamburger.)

  8. What’s really intended by a lot of guys is healthy lean muscle mass gain, and you’re right Davey, unless you’re genetically gifted to simply eat what you want and exercise once a week to look like Luke Guldan, the really healthy choice is to GAIN weight in the form of muscle, and loss of fat.

    I’ve managed to keep my weight the same, but I’ve gone from 23.5 lbs of fat to 19.3 lbs and kept the same weight and gained inches of muscle on my quads. So when someone tells me that I look like I’ve gained weight, I can say “No, I weigh the same, it’s more muscle now than fat.”

    Cheers and Peace!


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