Hi guys, Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today we are looking at how to fuel your body to rise to the challenges you have set. When it comes to reaching and maintaining your “ideal” weight, the road can be challenging, especially in our current state of society where food of all types is readily available. If you have any questions about today’s article or would like to take a deeper look at what you are eating and why, give us a call: 806-322-3188; we’d be happy to help.
Most often when people approach the idea of training, they have come to the conclusion that they have been eating too much and need to limit their intake. In some cases, they are not wrong. However, in other cases, they may have been eating too little all along which has caused not only a lack of results but also several health issues that may seem “unexplainable” or as though they are “just part of life”.
Not eating enough calories is a concern that many people don’t understand in our scale happy era of humans. Whether due to intentional restriction of diet (even just a specific food group), decreased appetite or a slew of other reasons, under eating on a regular basis has the ability to lead to any number of emotional, mental and physical health issues.
Today I would like to discuss some warning signs that your body may be screaming out at you as it begs for more nutrition.
Low energy levels
Since calories are units of energy and energy is what your body needs in order to function, if you are not providing yourself with adequate calories throughout the day, your body will eventually cease to function.
As a personal trainer in Amarillo, I have heard many clients say they feel that if they eat well at one meal during the day, they can just skip or severely reduce the others. This leads to the body continually maintaining a state of “starvation mode”. When in this “starvation mode”, the body begins to burn muscle and store more fat. The body is also less likely to endure any type of exercise well.
With restricted calories, the body will put its effort into surviving and will begin to shut down all unnecessary systems (unnecessary as it stands next to life itself.) This leaves the body lethargic and lacking in energy to move through your typical day. This leads to a lack of mental focus / cognition. The brain NEEDS adequate sources of nutrients to perform at its best and with a restricted diet, you’ll quickly notice the inability to focus on and process information.
Many nutrients are required in order to maintain healthy hair growth. If you are not eating enough, you may notice an increasing amount of hair falling out day to day. Basically when you do not eat enough fuel for your body to do the internal work it needs to do, you do not just lose fat, you being to lose stores of vitamins, minerals, protein and more. (On a side note, excess stress can also cause hair loss even up to 6 months after the stress has been eliminated.)
As you have probably experienced at least once in your life, when you do not supply the body with enough calories, it begins to remind you of how important those calories are. In fact there comes a point when it just starts begging for ANYTHING. Your body is truly keen on thriving (even if you’ve lived your whole life in a survival state), it will signal specific hormones within to cause cravings and hunger that it hopes you won’t ignore.
This seems to be one of the more common symptoms on people’s ignore list. We’ve made hormone issues such a daily topic in the past decade that everyone seems to feel that they have trouble there and therefore, “that’s just how it is now”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The body’s hormone system is so very delicate and the slightest imbalance can throw it completely off track. Quick question: did you know there are some 50 different hormones within the body? Most people tend to think just of the sex hormones when the topic comes up but our hormones are there to travel through the body to coordinate complex processes like growth, metabolism and fertility. If the nutrition isn’t there to produce the right amount of the right hormones, your body won’t be able to perform that process.
Dozens of studies have now found that sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance and insulin resistance to weight gain. While overeating can be a culprit of difficult sleep, under eating also leads to problems in that realm. By restricting your diet on a regular basis, your body is more likely to experience sleep interruption and reduction of REM sleep (that deep, restorative sleep we all physiologically crave). (On a side note, being dehydrated also leads to sleep disturbances…so DRINK YOUR WATER!)
Although consuming fewer calories, leads to less waste in your digestive tract, the act of under eating actually physically slows down the digestive tract which makes the food move slower and therefore leads to you feeling bloated and just gross. By not being able to eliminate the toxic left over (if you will), your body becomes uncomfortable and this can even lead to mood swings as well as headaches and more.
This can occur on an external as well as an internal level. On the external, eating too few calories causes mental anxiety as you watch your family and friends continue to eat what you now deem unreasonable. On the internal level, anxiety is created when the body is unable to perform the specific tasks it was created to perform. This anxiety may start small but will build both on the outside and inside until something breaks. – Believe me, something will break if the stress is continued long enough.
During “survival mode” which is instigated by not ingesting enough food, the body will begin to store more fat at each meal. It gets into a state of not knowing for sure when the next meal will come much like centuries ago with the nomadic tribes. The fat that the body stores will be used to help you survive until adequate food sources can be found. At the same time, the body will begin to break down muscle tissue for energy which will cause a sense of Muscle weakness. This muscle weakness will translate into less beneficial workouts, less strength for daily chores and less ability to do the things in life that you really want to do.
Stalled weight loss
As I said earlier in this article, most people who have been having trouble losing weight do not ever stop to consider the fact that they may be eating too little. Often in my nutrition counseling, we have to work on increasing a client’s intake rather than decreasing due to the physiological state they have created within their body. If that’s you, please note that before you can reach your desired goal (weight loss), you will first have to restore the body to normal function. Your body will not go into a burning phase until adequate food and adequate nutrient intake has been established.
Dry, flaky skin
Skin, hair, nails, teeth, etc., they all thrive on nutrients. Without vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, carbs, your body will simply start to abandon the things not necessary for survival. This may come about in broken fingernails (not just a break but splitting), teeth chipping or falling out, dry cracked skin, deepened wrinkles, etc. People tend to look at these things as signs of aging but I will tell you truthfully that no matter your age, if you are proactive in your nutrition habits, your body will thrive (no you probably won’t look 20 again, but you definitely won’t look like 105 either).
In summary today, I hope that you will consider seriously these symptoms of under eating. Step back from what you think you see in the mirror and listen to what your body is telling you. When we learn to tune into our physical cues, our response time to emergencies will increase quickly. When we respond at the first sign of trouble, our regression will not be nearly as severe.
If you need help with your nutrition and are tired of searching google only to find a million different opinions, plans and directions, please feel free to contact Custom Fitness at 806-322-3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of Amarillo personal trainers are highly educated in simplifying the endless source of information at your fingertips and customizing the foundations of healthy nutrition to meet YOUR needs. We teach foundations rather than hype because foundations are tried and true. They have been researched, experimented with and proven. Simply put, THEY WORK.