How extreme dieting leads to weight plateaus

Welcome to my latest blog post. 

Today I am going to further expand upon the initial point introduced in my previous entry  about how extreme dieting can lead to weight plateaus.

Many people try extreme diets to lose weight quickly. It might seem like a good idea because you want fast results, but the problems with extreme diets are often overlooked. Surprisingly, trying to lose weight quickly can sometimes lead to gaining even more weight. In this blog, we’ll talk about extreme dieting, its issues, and how it can unintentionally make you gain weight.

The Basics of Extreme Dieting:

Extreme dieting typically involves drastically reducing caloric intake, eliminating entire food groups, or overly restrictive eating patterns. While the initial results may be promising, such approaches often prove unsustainable in the long run. Moreover, the body’s response to extreme caloric restriction can trigger a series of physiological adaptations that work against the very goal of weight loss.

The Starvation Response:

When the body perceives a significant decrease in caloric intake, it goes into starvation mode” or the “metabolic adaptation response.” This is a survival instinct developed over time to protect the body from famine. During this mode, your metabolism slows down to save energy, making weight loss much more challenging [1]

Muscle Loss and Metabolic Slowdown:

Extreme dieting can lead to the loss of not only fat but also precious lean muscle mass. Muscles help burn calories, and when they break down due to severe calorie restriction, your metabolism slows down. This makes it easier to gain weight when you go back to your normal eating habits.

Psychological Impact:

Beyond the physiological consequences, extreme dieting can have severe psychological effects. Constantly focusing on rigid dietary rules and restrictions may lead to feelings of guilt and failure, creating a harmful mindset that can perpetuate a cycle of weight loss and gain.

Binge Eating:

Cutting out entire food groups in extreme diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can harm your overall health. Depriving your body of essential nutrients might cause cravings and binge eating as your body tries to meet its nutritional needs. This pattern of deprivation and overeating can contribute to weight gain and an unhealthy relationship with food. 


In conclusion, while the idea of losing weight quickly is tempting, and understandable, extreme dieting isn’t a sustainable or healthy approach. The body’s responses to severe calorie restriction can actually work against your goal of losing weight, leading to unintended weight gain over time. Instead of going to extremes, a balanced and gradual approach to weight management, along with a focus on overall well-being, is more likely to bring long-lasting results and foster a healthier relationship with food and your body.


  1. Stubbs, R. J., & Turicchi, J. (2021, February 1). From famine to therapeutic weight loss: Hunger, psychological responses, and energy balance-related behaviors. Obesity Reviews. Advance online publication.