You can’t get away from the science, you want to lose weight, so you need to cut your calories, right? It’s easy to think that if you cut as many as you can, you’ll lose weight faster…. unfortunately, that’s not the case.
It is possible to eat too little, which not only makes it harder for you to achieve a healthy weight but can also put you at risk of developing other health problems too.
Here are 5 signs that you need to look out for if you think you may not be eating enough;
Low energy levels
Our bodies are fuelled by the foods we eat. When you don’t eat enough calories, you’re likely to feel tired most of the time. The number of calories needed for your body’s basic functions within a 24-hour period is referred to as your resting metabolic rate.
Most people have a resting metabolic rate higher than 1,000 calories per day. When you add in physical activity, you can increase your daily needs by another 1,000 calories or maybe even more.
Although hormones also play a role in energy balance, generally if you take in more calories than needed, you will store most of the excess as fat. If you take in fewer calories than needed, you will lose weight, however, restricting your intake to fewer than 1,000 calories daily can slow down your metabolic rate and lead to you feeling fatigued as you’re not taking in enough calories to support even the basic functions that keep you alive.
If you constantly feel cold, not eating enough could be the cause. Your body needs to burn a certain number of calories in order to create heat and maintain a healthy, comfortable body temperature. In fact, even mild calorie restriction has been shown to lower core body temperature.
Studies show that appetite and food cravings increase in response to drastic calorie restriction due to changes in levels of hormones that control hunger and feeling full.
Feeling hungry all the time is one of the more obvious signs that you’re not eating enough food. Under-eating can cause hormonal shifts that increase hunger so your body can compensate for inadequate calorie and nutrient intake.
Finding yourself unusually snappy? Feeling more irritable than normal can be another key indicator you aren’t giving your body enough fuel to get through the day. Research has shown that prolonged low-calorie intake and restrictive eating patterns have been linked to irritability and moodiness.
To keep your mood on an even keel, don’t let your calories drop too low.
You’ve hit a plateau
Struggling to lose that last 7lbs? You usually lose weight when you’re in a calorie deficit, but if you’re finding you just can’t lose those last few pounds, it’s possible that you’re either training too hard, eating too little or a combination of the two. Smaller deficits (think 250–500 calories) are often all you need to see longer-term weight loss. Although dropping your calories to significantly low levels may provide you with quick weight loss in the beginning, it can be detrimental to your health and can make a huge difference between keeping the weight off long term and regaining it.