It is a rather confusing thing, isn't it?
My understanding is that "starvation mode" is when your body slows your metabolism after a significant period of insufficient calories to allow for basic body functions. While in "starvation mode", weight loss should slow (since your body is actually using less calories than before), but not completely stop or reverse. I can't remember where I saw it, but I have seen speculation that the body may retain more water due to the hormonal changes required for the slowing of the metabolism, giving the impression that no fat is being lost for a period of time.
That said, the "minimum number of calories" is an attempt to ensure that enough foods are ingested to get in all of your basic required macro and micro nutrients. It doesn't actually do any such thing (since you can eat that number of calories with very few micro nutrients), but I suppose they have to start with a pretty broad generalization here and hope everyone learns enough about basic nutrition to fill in the rest themselves.
There is also the concern that having your body lower the metabolism will not only slow weight loss, but also cause a permanent lowering of the metabolism. There are studies that show that those of us who have lost a considerable amount of weight will always have a lower metabolism at our goal weight than those who were always that size. The idea is that eating more calories and slowly losing over a greater length of time will slow the metabolism less than doing a major drop in calories and losing the weight more quickly.
Realistically, consistently eating so little over an extended period of time is just not the best plan. It is far more difficult to get sufficient nutrition in less calories, our bodies don't function at their best with insufficient nutrition, and our bodies tend to "use" as much muscle as fat to fuel themselves when they don't get enough calories. Since losing muscle is not the best plan, then it makes sense to eat enough calories and do enough activity to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing.
I've been in the same position as you of losing significant weight during periods when I was unable to eat. I also know that I lost a significant amount of muscle during those periods. That weight / muscle loss was unplanned and unavoidable, and also unsustainable. Now that I'm in a position to plan my weight loss, I'd much prefer to take the time to maintain nutrition, maintain muscle, and maintain my metabolism at as a high a level as possible.
I honestly don't see any possible benefit to deliberately eating so little that it drops your body in to "starvation mode", with the exception being for those who have a medical need for extremely fast weight loss and do so under medical supervision with the support of supplements to maintain basic nutrition levels.
Start weight: 240 lbs
Goal weight: 155 lbs (reached March 7, 2014)
Afraid of a colonoscopy? Believe me - they are much less frightening than surgery and chemotherapy.
Colonoscopies allow polyps to be removed before they can become cancer, or let cancers be found before they are too widespread. If you are 50 or older, or have any symptoms, please don't let fear stop you from covering your butt.
| current weight: -6.0 under