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“Metabolic Damage” and “Starvation Mode,” Debunked by Science

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“Metabolic Damage” and “Starvation Mode,” Debunked by Science

If you want to know what science really says about “starvation mode” and “metabolic damage,” then you need to listen to this podcast.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re either experiencing or have experienced the following scenario:

You’re dieting to lose weight and are doing everything right. You’re…

  • Maintaining a calorie deficit
  • Eating enough protein
  • Sticking to your meal plan
  • Lifting weights regularly
  • Limiting your cardio

And at first, everything more or less went as planned. Your weight and waist went down and muscle definition went up like clockwork.

And then, the gears inexplicably ground to a halt.

For no apparent reason, the scale stopped moving and your reflection in the mirror stopped changing. You understand energy balance and so, determined to get the ball rolling again, you further cut your calories and increased your cardio.

It worked, of course…to a point. And then you got stuck again, and this time you felt even more haggard than before.

What to do? Is this as far as your body will go? Have you reached its “set point”? Is a lower body fat percentage just not in the cards for you?

And then you hear about “starvation mode” and “metabolic damage.”

You find stories about people, typically women, who say they aren’t losing weight with extremely low-calorie dieting and hours of exercise every week, and the culprit is (supposedly) metabolic abnormalities caused by calorie restriction.

Essentially, the story goes like this:

Dieting dramatically and incrementally decreases your basal metabolic rate, which eventually halts fat loss, and which requires a lengthy and involved “recovery” protocol to fix the “damage” should you ever want a healthy metabolism again.

Hence, the term “metabolic damage.”

When your body is experiencing the complex set of physiological adaptations that apparently cause metabolic damage, it’s said to be in “starvation mode.” This apparently kicks in the first day of your diet and gets progressively worse and worse as time goes on.

How true are these claims, though? Well, the short story is this:

  • “Metabolic damage” isn’t real, has never stopped someone from losing weight, and doesn’t need to be “fixed” with complex and meticulous diet voodoo.
  • “Starvation mode” is sort of real, but isn’t nearly as dramatic as many people think.

And in this podcast, you’ll learn why.

Furthermore, you’ll also learn the real reasons why weight loss stalls and what you can do to easily break through weight loss plateaus.

Let’s dig in.

Would you rather read about metabolic damage and starvation mode? Then check out this article!


6:32 – What is metabolic damage?

10:09 – What is starvation mode?

20:36 – Is starvation mode real?

25:19 – What are the real reasons you stop losing weight?


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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.


If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

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  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
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The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body" without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

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Bigger Leaner Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger

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Thinner Leaner Stronger

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