The Body’s Survival Mode

I’ve been asked by friends why there would be times when they would be going into diet, but their weight isn’t improving or getting lighter, in fact, sometimes they are even slightly gaining.  After going through my own physical activities, food consumption monitoring, experimenting and research, I found out that different regimes and strategies apply to each person.  However, one fact remains the same:  Our bodies are naturally programmed for survival.  On any regular day, when we’re not thinking of controlling the food we eat, or not really doing much exercise, the body will do what it’s supposed to do regularly, inactively burn calories, digest food, repair muscles, just a regular day inside our body’s ecosystem.  However, when we start making changes to our daily routines, when we begin to induce a healthier lifestyle, more often than not, we limit our food consumption, thinking that we will lose weight the less we eat.

While that may be true to a certain extent, our bodies are natural survivors.  Once it detects that it’s not getting the same amount of sustenance as it’s used to digesting and burning, it will then go into Survival Mode, wherein it will try to store more food, digest less, and more importantly, burn less.  It will not break down the food faster than it used to, because it will sense that if it does, then there won’t be any left, since we start to deprive our body of its natural programming, which is to break down food into vitamins and nutrients, burn calories to convert to energy, and repair broken down muscles.

survival-modeOn my own personal journey towards a better, healthier lifestyle, there came a point when my weight actually plateaued and stayed there for at least one week.  When I backtracked what I did throughout the week which may have caused this, based on my daily activity, I noticed that I was eating less.  My activity each day has been the same, which was completing the 10k steps, but the food consumption changed.  This triggered me to do some research, and that’s when I stumbled upon the body’s natural instinct to go into survival mode once it realizes that it’s not getting the same amount of food that it used to.  I think I was between week 4 and 5 when I noticed this stagnant weight level.


survival-mode-1So what must be done?  Eat less, but do it gradually.  There’s no need to overdo it, because we also don’t want to feel weak each day, especially when we have moderate activity added to our daily routine.  Plus, our bodies are designed to break down food and water to a certain level only, which is why we are probably gaining or losing weight, based on how much or how less we consume.  Simply put, once our bodies feel that it’s getting the right amount of vitamins and macro nutrients, the excess gets stored for later burning and source of energy.  Which is why it becomes important for us to count our calories and make sure we are giving our bodies the right sustenance it needs each day, so as to avoid driving it into survival mode.

Why are we not losing weight that fast when we’re actually eating less…?  Our body may be going into survival mode and storing more and burning less.  It could be that simple.









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