Let's face it. You want to lose weight and look good.
So you decided to cut down on carbs, eat less of fats, and pop in a cube of cheese whenever you feel like you are about to faint.
Unfortunately, what you may not know is that if you don't eat enough calories, your body transitions into a starvation mode, which has worse consequences than putting on weight.
So, here are the 10 symptoms of what happen when you don't eat enough calories.
1. You Are Tired All Day
A calorie does not mean fat. It is simply a unit of heat in the scientific tongue.
So, why do we say your food contains so-and-so number of calories?
It's because when you eat something, it is broken down into heat (calories) by your body, which is then utilized to sustain all the functions of your body, like the upkeep of your organs and health.
And the number of calories you should eat every day is based on your body physique. After all, a larger person will need a lot more energy than a child to keep going throughout the day.
That's why when you don't eat enough calories, your body fails to meet its energy requirement, which results in fatigue throughout the day (even if you only sit at a desk all day long!).
2. You Are Losing A Lot Of Hair
This point will not count for you if you are any of the below:-
- A man with hereditary baldness
The reason why increased hair fall is a sign of undereating is because the roots of your hair require a lot of nutrients to remain fixed to your scalp.
These include proteins, iron, and biotin.
So, when you do not eat enough calories, your body cuts off nourishment to the less important parts of you, like your hair and skin, so that it can direct whatever it has for the upkeep of your vital organs.
3. Your Weight Is The Same Even After Dieting And Extreme Exercise
A classic sign of undereating is when your body remains at the same weight even after you cut down on your calorie intake and increase the amount of exercise you do every day.
This is because your body does not like drastic changes, as it can cause it to starve and die.
So it slows down the release of your thyroid hormone and sex hormones, and increases the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) to slow down your metabolism, so you do not lose any more weight (a.k.a, your body's energy source).
4. You Feel Cold...All The Time
If you feel cold even when everyone around you is feeling hot, then you definitely are not eating enough calories.
This is because when you starve yourself, your body reduces your T3 thyroid hormone production, which is needed for maintaining your body's temperature.
5. You Are Constipated
There are a lot of reasons on why we become constipated.
Lack of roughage in our diet, reduced food intake and stress are some of these reasons.
So, if this symptom is observed in conjunction with any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then you definitely do not eat enough calories.
6. You Are Irritated And Angry All The Time
There is a term for this condition. It's called hangry.
It's because when you do not eat enough, your body is unable to supply your brain with the fuel it needs (glucose), which induces your brain to increase your adrenaline production, so you can hunt down food more efficiently.
Unfortunately, we are no longer cave men, so all this does is leave us irritated and angry.
7. You Have Delayed Periods
When reporters interviewed defected North Korean women, the ones who served in the North Korean military said that they did not get their period for years on end until they escaped.
The reason behind this is malnutrition. And the same can happen to you when you do not eat enough calories.
So, if you skip your menses a month or two, are not overweight (which is a sign of PCOS), and are always fatigued, then you definitely are showing symptoms of undereating.
8. You Are Unable To Conceive A Child
The reason behind this is the same as that of #7 - when you are malnourished, your body will prevent you from conceiving a child because you do not have the resources to grow a young one in your womb.
9. You Often Feel Dizzy
When you do not eat enough calories, your body goes into a hypoglycaemic state (a.k.a low blood sugar).
The symptoms of this include dizziness, severe headaches, fatigue after minor activities, and intense craving for sugar.
Also, studies have shown that those who chronically starve themselves develop insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes down the line.
10. You Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night Or Suffer From Insomnia
Another classic sign of undereating is the inability to fall asleep, or disturbed sleep once you do manage to do it.
This is because when you do not eat enough, your body does not have enough resources to fuel you through your state of fasting when you sleep. It prevents you from falling asleep, so you can eat something whenever your resources become dangerously low, or wakes you up in the middle of the night for the same reason.
That's why, it is very important to eat carbohydrate-rich food 1-2 hours before bed, as it helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep later.
11. You Are Constantly Hungry
If you are constantly hungry throughout the day even after eating all your meals, then you are definitely not eating enough calories.
This is because hunger is your body's way of alerting you that you need to eat food (a.k.a, recharge your body's fuel). So if you are constantly hungry, it means your body is not receiving enough calories from your sustenance.
If that's the case, you need to change your diet ASAP and make sure it has all three macronutrients in it - proteins, carbs, and good fats.
12. You Have A Lot Of Anxiety
Studies have shown that those who do not eat enough food throughout the day are more anxious and often depressed as compared to their counterparts who consume adequate meals throughout the day.
This is because starvation releases cortisol in your body, which increases your stress levels and leaves you cranky, moody, and anxious all day long.
13. Your Skin Is Dry, Flaky, And Itchy
As explained in point #2, when your body does not receive enough calories to maintain the function of your vital organs, it cuts off blood supply (thus, nutrition) to your peripheries, including your skin and hair.
This is the reason why those who undereat often develop severely dry, itchy, and flaky skin.
If that's the case with you, add more good fats to your diet, like avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish, as they can improve the condition of your skin.
14. You Cannot Focus On Your Tasks
Your brain consumes more than 20% of your daily calorie intake even though it makes up only 5% of your entire body.
That's why when you don't eat enough food, your brain will start to falter and you will suffer from lack of concentration, memory loss, and cognitive disturbances.
15. You Have Frequent Headaches
As mentioned in multiple points above, when you starve yourself, your body goes into a state of low blood sugar. Severe headaches and migraines is one of the symptoms of this problem.
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