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You could be excused for believing that crash diets work the way they do simply because you are depriving your body of the calories it requires to get you through the day, so your body begins using the energy reserves that are stored away as fat.
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There is an element of truth to that belief, but what often comes as a surprise is how quickly your body begins to gain back the weight you lost. This can sometimes happen even if you continue to be careful about what you eat or at least attempt to be careful.
What happens when you go on a crash diet is actually quite simple to explain. You body, thinking it is starving, goes into survival mode. If you were actually starving this would be a good thing since you would not starve to death nearly as quickly. Your body makes adjustments in an attempt to prevent that from happening. It does so by slowing down your metabolism, which causes calories to be burned more slowly. This is helpful since the calories you are taking in while on your diet are not being used as quickly. Your body is, in effect, in an energy-saving mode.
For more ways to change how you handle weight loss, check out our articles.
When you go off the diet, your metabolism doesn’t revert to its previous state right away and your body is still in an energy-saving mode. You begin to eat more, but your body is still burning off calories at a slower rate. This causes excess calories to be stored away, and you can guess how those calories are stored – as fat. Even if your meals are well balanced and contain only a few fatty foods you can still put on weight, which is one reason why crash diets are often not effective. It’s always better to lose weight slowly so your body’s metabolism isn’t forced into a drastic change.