Thank you SO much to those of you who filled out my survey (if you haven’t, please do here! It will only take a minute or two!). It was really interesting for me to learn a little more about you.
I was surprised to see that people really wanted to see more nutrition related posts. I just assumed everyone came here for recipes. Obviously I started this blog because I had a passion for cooking, but have to be honest, it’s super easy to get burned out cooking when you are thinking about doing it for the blog all the time. I think incorporating more nutrition posts will take a little of the stress off or creating and photographing recipes.
Since a lot of you are interested in weight loss (according to my survey) I thought we’d talk about why under eating won’t help you lost weight and how it can be bad for you. I know with it being summertime, a lot of people want to slim down a little before vacation or bathing suit season. I know it makes sense to try to work on cutting calories, because since we hear “calories in, calories out”, the assumption would be that the less you eat the more you will lose, but it’s not that simple.
If you under eat on a consistent basis it can lead to:
- Slower metabolism. With too few calories in your system day after day, your body learns to live with less and it does this by slowing down your metabolism. What’s even worse is you stop losing weight too! You may feel sluggish and irritable on your low calorie diet. The good news is this can be reversed, it just takes awhile for your body to recover and your metabolism to rev up again.
- Higher risk for nutritional deficiencies. Eating less means that you likely aren’t getting in the adequate food group requirements throughout the day. For long term, low calorie dieting this puts you at risk.
- Stress on your organs. A minimum blood glucose is required to keep you alive so if there is not enough, your body will start breaking down muscles and organs. Overtime this damages your vital organs.
- Negative food thoughts. Constant restriction can lead to eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or orthorexia, leading to an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you want to lose weight the healthy way, start with small changes such as eliminating sugary beverages from your diet or replacing unhealthier choices, like donuts and muffins for breakfast, with healthier choices such as oatmeal, fruit and/or eggs. Chose whole foods over processed, packaged foods.
As a rule of thumb here are some basic rules to follow:
Don’t eat less than 1,200 calories a day if you are a woman and 1,500 calories a day if you are a man. These are recommendations from the National Institute of Health to ensure that you will still be getting enough essential nutrients to prevent malnutrition, but likely these numbers still aren’t enough to support ongoing weight loss.
Listen to your body. Are you constantly hungry? If you feel irritable, fatigue, have headaches and are not sleeping well, it is likely you are not eating enough.
Pay attention to the warning signs. Under eating on a regular basis can lead to more frequent illness as you’re body is more stressed and you’re not giving it the nutrition it needs. Also, you may experience hair loss or issues with your menstrual cycle as a result. Pay attention to any changes like these if you are trying to lose weight.
Focus on making good choices instead of calorie counting. If you keep the focus on choosing healthy, whole foods you will likely lose weight. It might be a slow weight loss, but chances are it will be steady and lasting.
Consult a Registered Dietitian like myself for a consult (you can find my services here) so we can figure out the appropriate amount of food you should be eating.
Often it’s trail and error after some basic calculations are made. Some people genetically burn more calories than others, plus muscle mass plays a role in burning more calories, so it’s hard to say everyone at the exact same height and weight should be able to eat the same amount.
When in doubt, chose more foods in that aren’t in a package and exercise more! If you already get your daily gym session in, start adding an additional 10 minutes on a lunch break or after dinner.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about this!