Can you eat too little when trying to lose weight?
Diets is inextricably linked to your total calorie intake. But how many calories you should eat or burn exactly, there is still some confusion! Not strange, therefore, that people regularly ask themselves if they do not eat too much or for their physical goals. But the opposite question also comes along – “Do not I eat too little to lose weight?” Why is this a matter? In today’s blog, we discuss why people are worried about not eating enough, and whether these concerns are justified. This way you can also answer the above questions for yourself!
First of all the basics, for those who only recently started working on the figures behind weight loss. In fact, weight loss simply amounts to your calorie balance. If you eat more than you burn, your body stores the other energy as fat and you arrive. The other way around: when you eat less energy than you consume, your body will take the shortage of that fat supply.
You burn body fat and thus fall off. When you eat around 500 calories every day under your energy requirements, you lose about half a kilogram every week. If you go for a bigger shortage, you also lose weight faster. That does not necessarily make it a good option!
Crash diets, where you lose a lot in one go, are incredibly unhealthy. This has led to a number of horror stories about these types of diets, of which the ‘starvation mode or so-called savings mode’ is one. In a nutshell, this comes down to: if you really eat very little, your body will “stop” your metabolism as much as possible and keep the fat reserves in place. You then consume less energy, so you do not lose it at all.
Sounds logical – except that it is pure nonsense. If you create a calorie deficit, you always fall off, no matter how low your calorie intake is, point. Even if you are far below your energy nee
ds at rest, your body still has basic tasks. To make your heart beat and keep your breathing going, fat must still be burned!
A slim body consumes less energy
It is true that weight loss is proportionally faster as you become more overweight. After all, a leaner body consumes less energy for vital body functions. Think, for example, of moving and maintaining your body temperature. After you lose a lot of weight, you need less energy to maintain that weight. However, the law of energy balance (what comes in on energy and what goes into energy) always remains sacred.
So do you feel that you do not lose weight because you eat too little? Then you can immediately abandon this thought. Or you get more calories or you use less energy than you think. Anorexia Nervosa can lead to death in extreme cases. People with this disorder do not stick to the fat reserves because their body is in ‘low-energy mode’. Perhaps an extreme example, but it makes this point clear. The ‘survival mode’ is therefore no reason that your weight loss stagnates.
Too little food is possible
Can you still eat too little to lose weight? Not in the literal way, perhaps – but with a detour indeed. You can certainly eat too little to lose weight. When you even come under your daily rest requirement, you will experience all sorts of adverse consequences. In that case, you will also burn muscle tissue, which will decrease your strength and stamina. Your immune system also deteriorates, you sleep worse, and of course you feel constantly hungry. And then we are not even talking about all the deficiencies you incur in this way!
Sustainability of your diet
When you are involved in such a crash diet, you will lose weight – but the question is for how long. With so many side effects, few people actually keep their diet full. There is a good chance that you will stop after a few days if you really do not eat enough. In this way you are indeed standing in the way of your progress with a too big caloric deficit! And even if you last longer, the chance of a yo-yo effect is high. Research shows that many people even end up heavier than they started. Far too little food is clearly not a sustainable way to lose weight!
So, do I eat too little?
Are you on a weight platform and do not fall off any further? Then that means you eat too much (or burn too little), point. Many people have no idea how much they consume on energy every day and underestimate how much they actually ingest. For this reason it is wise to take a critical look at your calorie intake and training routine before you immediately assume that your body is in ‘low-energy mode’.
In any case, do not worry about panicky articles about starvation mode! But do you fall away, and do you feel constantly miserable? Do you feel cranky? Do you constantly have binge-eating? Do you notice that your muscle strength is decreasing? In that case you eat too little – or you eat the wrong things. Do not make things too difficult for yourself and go for a healthier and sustainable option!
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