While the dangers of overeating are commonly known, we often choose to ignore the harms not eating enough can do to our health. Under-eating is a condition that arises when you are not eating enough to meet the basic nutrient and energy needs of your body.
According to research, under-eating, also scientifically called chronic calorie restriction, can be as dangerous to our health as overeating.
How much eating is enough?
How much you should eat depends on how many calories (energy and nutrients) your body needs in a day.
Unfortunately, there is no definite way to determine that, as the energy requirement of each person’s body is different from that of others, which depends on a number of factors, including their age, body weight, gender, including many variables like their sleeping habits, physical activity levels, muscle mass, etc.
Ideally, you should be eating the exact amount of calories that you burn each day. Consult your doctor or physician for a proper estimate.
How to know when or if you’re under-eating:
There are symptoms to understand when something is wrong or needs to be changed with your eating habits.
#1 – You’re Always Tired:
Are you feeling tired and low in energy? Are you finding it hard to complete your daily chores, let alone workouts? Chances are that your body is not meeting its calorie requirements.
Calories are energy, which we get from food. Our body gets calories (glucose) from foods that are rich in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, iron and other nutrients.
#2 – It’s Difficult to Lose Weight:
If you are consistently eating less but still not achieving your weight loss goals, chances are, again, that your body is lacking in essential, high-quality calories.
While eating less is commonly related to weight loss, in no way it means that you should be avoiding health-promoting calories, or you may start gaining more weight than you lose.
#3 – Hair, Skin and Nails Are Weak:
When you’re eating less, the most immediate effect is seen on less vital body parts such as hair, skin and nails, as they start weakening and become unhealthy.
If your body is not getting sufficient calories, it may not be able to meet the demands of all the system parts, and so it uses whatever energy it’s getting to maintain the functioning of vital organs that are crucial for your survival, ignoring less important ones like nails and hair.
#4 – Sleeping Problems:
Do you still feel exhausted or tired in the morning even after taking a whole night’s sleep (7-8 hours)?
Then, you are not eating enough.
It’s a good habit to eat less in night, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat enough during the day. During sleep, your body needs the energy to repair the muscles, which can only get if you are eating enough and getting proper calories.
#5 – Mental Weakness:
Mental weakness, including signs like mood swings, headaches, getting angry, etc., is another common sign that you are not eating properly.
Just like every other body part, your brain needs energy (fuel) to control emotions. Eating less means your brain is not getting its fuel, which may, therefore, affect your mental status.
#6 – Digestion Problems:
Is your digestion good, or are you facing problems with it?
When you eat less (than you should), T3 thyroid hormone drops in the count, which may affect your digestion system negatively.
#7 – Feeling Cold All The Time:
Feeling cold all the time is a probable sign that you’re under-eating.
Again, this is because of the reduced levels of T3 thyroid hormone (responsible for body temperature) because of significantly lower calorie intake.
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If you are experiencing any or all of the above symptoms, the chances are that you are not eating as much as your body needs. Consult with your physician and change your diet immediately.