Disclaimer: I wrote this post to talk about my experience with undereating. This post was not written to give you medical advice of any kind and like all of my other posts should never be substituted for professional medical advice!
Not getting the right amount of nutrients can have just as many negative effects as eating too much and also can be quite dangerous for your health. When you don’t consume enough food you will feel very fatigued and struggle with reaching your fitness goals. There was a period of several years when I was literally afraid of carbs and did my best to avoid them because I thought it made it so you could never reach your goals. Eventually I realized the opposite is true and your body actually needs carbs to function and without them you would have very low energy making it difficult to get done what you needed to. After I broke this habit I decided in order to heal myself I was not ever going to read labels which worked for a little while but eventually led to undereating because I had no idea how many calories I was consuming and just assumed I was eating enough. I recently had a hunch I was probably undereating by a lot so I started using a calorie counter just to see and it turns out I was! In this post I am going to talk about signs my body gave me that led me to the decision I was undereating.
I kept losing weight- Most people would be happy if they started losing weight for no reason at all but for me it started to become a problem because everytime I turned around I felt like I lost another pound or two. Things I just bought were becoming very loose and that is when I knew I either had a medical problem or I was creating a serious calorie deficit that was causing this to happen. I didn’t think I had a medical problem that was causing me to lose a lot of weight because I have gone to the doctor a lot these days and I am pretty sure if I had a medical problem causing me to lose weight someone would have caught it by now. I have this really bad habit of only eating a piece of fruit in the morning and small meals throughout the day so it would make total sense if I was not consuming enough calories that would lead to unexplained weight loss. I started eating more calories which seems to have helped keep me stable.
My headaches started to worsen- My headaches started worsening almost to the point they were unbearable and I didn’t know why because I hadn’t really done anything differently. Bad headaches can be a sign of a shunt malfunction which can be life threatening if it goes untreated but I’ve had shunt problems before and it didn’t feel like that was the problem. My occupational therapist thought maybe it was connected to my hip but it happened so suddenly and quickly that I wasn’t convinced that was the cause either. Then it got me thinking maybe my worsening headaches was from not eating enough calories because not eating or drinking enough is a common migraine trigger. Surely enough that is what it was because as soon as I started to eat more my headaches went back to where they should be.
I was really cold- I expect to get cold easily because my house is always a little chilly and I have poor circulation but what was unusual to me was I was always freezing and unable to warm up no matter how many jackets I was wearing which doesn’t usually happen . Your body needs a certain amount of nutrients to stay warm and build a strong immune and when you aren’t giving it what it needs often your immune system will weaken which will cause your body temperature to drop so you feel cold when you shouldn’t. I still get cold like everyone else does but the difference is I don’t start sweating at random times and am only cold when it’s actually cold out because shivering when it’s only eighty degrees was getting old!
I was always hungry– My diet is pretty healthy but truthfully I don’t eat a lot during the day. At first I didn’t really see a problem with this until I started to become hungry all the time! It didn’t matter how much I ate at dinner time I as still always starving afterward because I ate very small meals throughout the day and don’t ever snack! It wasn’t until I realized I was only eating slightly over one-thousand calories which was why I was always so hungry because according to my calorie counter I need at least seventeen-hundred when I am active and I wasn’t eating anywhere near close to that.
I had terrible gut health- When you don’t consume enough calories not only can it affect your body physically but always your gut health. When I wasn’t eating enough I had terrible gut health and was always constipated which made it so I had the most difficult time going to the bathroom. I expect sometimes to have difficulty going to the bathroom because with my condition it is very common to have incontinence but what I don’t expect is for it to happen all the time. Every time I went to have a bowel movement something that should take an hour took three which is normal occassionally but if it become regular which it was that is something that should be investigated. I was having some serious constipation which was a pain so I started taking a probiotic which everyone should take and having more regular meal schedules and that has seems to have helped a lot.
I was wildly unmotivated– I love what I do and wouldn’t do it if I hated but lately, I haven’t really wanted to do anything except sleep because I had no energy and also felt so tired. At first, I thought I was blogging too much and I just needed to do it less to find my love for it again but even after doing that nothing seemed to change. Blogging always felt like a drag and now I realize I wasn’t losing my love for it at all but my body was struggling just to function which was why I had no energy because I wasn’t giving my body the fuel that would give me energy.
I used to be totally against calorie counters because I was so afraid of numbers but now realize I need these numbers to heal. It’s okay to create a calorie deficit for weight loss but if you drop it too low it can become dangerous and your doing your body more harm than good. . My calorie counter has really helped me become more aware and although it’s probably not totally accurate because I don’t know my weight and I had to guess it feels like it’s pretty close but then again I could be totally wrong. I feel better so even if it was slightly off that is okay because I feel normal again! You don’t always have to use calorie counters for weight loss but sometimes they are just good to experiment with to help you become more are of how healthy you are actually eating. These are not all of the negative effects you can have when you’re not consuming enough but this is just what I experienced. Listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right take a close look at your nutrition because often your eating habits play a huge role and you may not be eating as healthy as you think you are. Do you struggle with getting enough calories or eating too much? Have you tried calorie counters and if so what was your experience?
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