Recently, I’ve come to a decision that it is essential for me to increase my intake of calories. I think this is something that is really hard for my head to wrap around, as my mind gets filled with a lot of insecurities as I think of this process. However, I know the signs that I am eating too little, and the cold hard truth is that I suffer from a lot of the signs I’ve experienced in the past.
It may not be as significant as the warning signs were when I was seriously ill, but they are still there and there are still changes needed to me dealt with if I want to recover from certain problems I’m still suffering with.
A lot of the time people may not even be aware of the fact that they need to increase calories, our bodies want to preverse themselves and hold onto every calorie we feed them. There are many signs we need to be aware of if calorie restriction is a problem.
You may even be at a normal weight and not realize your body is suffering. Calorie restriction can be a problem for any person, and can certainly happen to people even if they aren’t extremely thin. And that is a confusing thing for people to see and accept.
I don’t believe in low calorie diets. I believe in eating what you are craving, consuming whole, unprocessed foods (for the most part), with some daily indulgences. Moderation is key in our lifestyle, if we want to stay sane;)
There are many consequences of eating too few calories and the one’s that stand out the most for me include:
Unclear thinking. When I’m not listening to my body, and don’t give it the right amount of food, it starts to fight back.
I may wake up in a “mental fog” and not be able to quite shake it for days, I also suffer from headaches and concentrating on daily tasks. Its more difficult to focus on things happening in my life and don’t have the motivation to do things I normally love doing.
Food obsession. As much as I love creating recipes, and planning my meals. There comes a point when that is too much. If your thinking about food all day, everyday than I believe that is a problem.
If I find myself thinking about my next meal as soon as I’ve just finished one, its time for me to step back and reevaluate my eating habits, and realize I am clearly not nourishing myself because I am obsessing about food.
If you can only concentrate on food and fitness, there may be a problem with this thinking. You begin to become so interested in food, yet can’t get yourself to eat what your body craves. And you lose interest in things you enjoyed before.
Workout progress declines. When I switch fitness routines, especially increasing strength training I first may notice I’m improving a lot and gaining more strength. When my workouts start to suffer, from not being able to lift as much weight, complete cardio how I’m used to, or start dreading workouts then usually this is a sign I am restricting calories more than usual.
My body can’t keep up with the things I’m demanding it to keep up with, so I will start to lose motivation to even want to workout, or I become more obsessed that I need to workout every single day, no matter how I am feeling. And those things make me feel more anxious.
Becoming anxious, moody, or emotional. This can be a red flag to me, since I’m normally pretty positive and upbeat. When I’m not eating enough, I can become extremely emotional, crying at almost anything, or I get anxious over very small things.
When I deny myself food, there is a noticeable change in the way I normally act. If you are feeling shaky, emotional, or more anxious these are clear signs that you need more fuel!
Not sleeping. It is almost impossible for me to have a good nights rest if my body is asking for more food. I may not feel hungry, but I won’t be able to sleep well. I will toss and turn all night, won’t be able to fall asleep, or wake up continuously throughout the night.
This is why I chose to eat a large snack before bed, sometimes my night snacks are bigger than my breakfasts. Seriously.
Losing hunger signals. The weird thing about eating a low amount of calories, is that our bodies will adapt to this and not allow us to feel hunger. When I was at my lowest weight, hardly eating anything I never felt hungry, and felt that I could live that way forever.
This is simply our bodies signs its shutting down. Its not a normal thing to never feel hunger, because we need food for energy and to thrive. Extreme hunger may result in nausea or even stomach bloating.
When your body is functioning normally, it will ask for food. Unfortunately there are more serious effects of lowering calories too far. Such as osteopenia, bone loss in general, anemia, and thyroid problems. In return, your metabolism slows to maintain needed energy, because it is stuck in “survival mode” and will only trust you when you simply eat more food.
Other problems like only eating “safe foods”, constant mirror checking, food rituals, becoming influenced in “fad diets”, and obsessively measuring or weighing food and yourself are huge red flags.
Everyone’s calorie intake differs, some people function on a lot of calories, other people don’t. If someone is eating a lower calorie diet, don’t feel the need to follow it. Eat what is right for your body, not anyone else’s. Your body will tell you when it is suffering and when it needs more energy.
Have you ever suffered from any of these signs from calorie restriction? Any more you can add to the list.
Do you tend to push you body too far?
Are you able to eat intuitively without relying on these unfortunate side effects?