Many people are walking around each day experiencing different levels of hunger–from absolutely starving, to uncomfortably full, to somewhere in between. Sometimes people might wonder why these levels vary so much on the day-to-day, and one simple reason may be: under-eating.
While many people may intentionally under-eat in efforts to lose weight, spend time elsewhere in their day, or simply forget, frequent under-eating can be just as harmful or even more so than over-eating while you are working on your goals, and your overall health.
Check out some of the effects of under-eating:
Your body is a very intuitive type of machine–it can tell when you do not eat enough, and it starts to adapt to that new level of (lack of) nutrient intake. It starts to realize that energy should be conserved, in the event that you are truly starving from an environmental phenomenon or from malnutrition. During this conservation phase, it begins to hold onto fat stores for a defense mechanism, and no longer utilizes food adequately and efficiently for it’s daily functions–from breathing and walking, to exercising and repairing muscles.
*Your body is now “picky” about where to use its energy.*
You might be experiencing *tired all the time* or may be cognitively functioning at a slightly slower rate than usual. Hormones are likely to become imbalanced–the ones that help regulate your body’s physiological systems–yes, they need energy and fuel too! Hormonal imbalances typically cause some symptoms such as weight gain, lack of energy, loss of sleep quality, and some extreme cases–a lack of a regular menstrual cycle for women, or even a lack of sex drive for both males and females.
*You may find yourself “not hungry anymore.”
This goes back to the body and brain’s regulation (or lack thereof,) hormones. Once your body gets used to not having enough food, the hormone that tells you that you’re hungry also stops signaling cues for hunger. And we cycle back to the two effects mentioned above.
*Your body starts to utilize lean muscle mass that you’ve built up over time through nutrition, exercise and sleep in order to provide your body with energy.*.
If you are in a calorie deficit for too long, but are no longer losing weight, your body may tend to breaking down lean mass tissue in order to utilize as energy rather than fat stores, or energy from food.
So how do you get out of this? EAT–adequately and with a focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods! Sometimes it may be difficult to eat as much as your body truly needs for you to eat, but there are resources for you to utilize–coaches, books, apps–that can help you understand the proper nutrition you need to fuel you for good energy, healthy living, and to propel you towards the goals you’ve set for your fitness.
Interested in learning more about your personalized nutrition?
Schedule a free nutrition consultation HERE today.