The Risks of Eating Too Little

I spend a lot of time here focusing on healthy eating and recipes, and I often include calorie counts for those who are interested in tracking their calories. But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about how eating too little can stall your weight loss efforts… and be downright dangerous. You might not equate the weight loss process with the possibility of eating too little: you should have the biggest deficit possible to lose the most weight, right?! WRONG.

A healthy deficit for losing weight is up to 1000 calories a day. A woman aiming to lose should never eat less than 1200 calories a day, and a man should stick to 1500 calories minimum. This is the safe recommended minimum to keep your body running well while still allowing you to lose weight. When I was actively losing, I rarely ate fewer than 1600 calories a day. And now that I’m basically in maintenance, I rarely eat fewer than 2,000 calories a day on average.

Even if you’re doing it unconsciously, eating too little can cause some serious health problems. If you’re eating fewer calories than your bare minimum, you probably aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body functioning. Here are some signs you might be eating too little.

Fatigue

Are you tired all the time? Our bodies get energy from the calories in the food we eat, and we use that energy for basic and automatic bodily processes, like breathing, thinking and digestion. Eating too little can make you feel both physically and mentally exhausted, which can make each day feel harder and affect your productivity. It also affects your physical activity performance, preventing you from getting all the benefits from your workouts.

Weakened Immune System

A diet imbalance caused by eating too few calories can prevent your body from obtaining the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy immune system, which could cause you to get sick more often and cause each illness to last longer. This is especially important for those with already weakened immune systems like children and the elderly.

Constipation

When you eat too little, your body has less food to process into stool, which can cause your stool to harden and be difficult or painful to expel. Constipation is generally thought to mean having fewer than three bowel movements per week and can indicate a slowed metabolic rate.

Skin Issues

Skin can be more affected and damaged by inflammation and UV exposure if you don’t consume enough of the nutrient necessary to keep skin healthy. Vitamin E, B-3 and Niacin are all important vitamins for skin health.

Hair Loss

Have you noticed and increase of hair in the drain after you shower, or in your brush? When you eat too little, the body prioritizes its functions, and you can begin to lose hair. The body doesn’t want to waste precious calories on maintaining hair growth and follicle health, so your hair will fall out at a higher than average rate.

Reproductive Issues

The hypothalmus is in charge of telling your pituitary gland to produce reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. The hypothalmus is very sensitive to changes in calorie intake and weight and if the balance of reproductive hormones isn’t spot on, it can cause menstruation to be thrown off or even stop, and when this happens, it can be difficult or impossible to get pregnant.

Irritability, Depression and Anxiety

Eating too few calories can seriously affect your mood in many different ways. When you don’t eat enough, your blood sugar can drop, causing hypoglycemia, the symptoms of which are irritability, sweating, anxiety and shakiness, etc. Have you seen those candy bar commercials where crabby people are handed a candy bar and told to eat? That could be you! Not eating enough can also cause you to feel more emotionally sensitive and a side effect of vitamin D deficiency is depression. Anxiety can also be caused by not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, known to decrease anxiety.

Problems Sleeping

Having trouble falling asleep because you’re hungry, or waking up in the middle of the night hungry is a pretty obvious sign you’re not eating enough. But it can also lead to not spending enough time in deep sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain, which is the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to lose weight.

Feeling Cold

Your body needs a certain number of calories to complete all of its basic functions, and that includes keeping up your core temperature. Studies have also shown that a restrictive diet can cause a decrease in T3 thyroid hormones, which helps maintain body temperature, along with other functions.Constant HungerIf you’re always hungry, it should be pretty obvious that you’re not eating enough. But many people force themselves to ignore hunger signs in order to lose weight. Being a little hungry sometimes is okay, but low calorie intake can cause a number of problems in the hunger department, like an increase in cortisol, which is the hormone that can increase belly fat. Spending too much time hungry can also increase cravings and cause you to binge, which is the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to lose weight.

Sources:

Healthline

Medical News Today

Reshaping A Measured Life

Hello my lovely readers! My hiatus has lasted quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but I needed it. I’ve taken some time to sit down, reflect, and really evaluate what I want this blog to be. I truly do want to continue talking about healthy living, but over the last year or so I’ve pulled back from sharing personal things due to the ending of a relationship and learning to live alone. Cooking for one person can be much harder than cooking for two, and I’ve been working on adjusting to that and learning new ways of time management.

This Blog Is A Changin’

Things will be a little different around here from now on. I’m going to increase the amount of personal entries and mental health talk while continuing to write recipes and talk exercise. I’m going to stop worrying about what new readers want to read and I’m going to write what I want to write. I’ll probably talk more about makeup, too, since I love it so much. This blog is going to be about ME. I think I need that.

You’ll also notice I’ve updated the look of the site. It was starting to feel really dated and I really needed a fresh, new look. I’ll be tweaking it some more to make it a bit more functional but I’m really liking the new neutral theme.

I haven’t fully recovered my zest for blogging, but I can feel it coming. I’m thinking about new recipes, I just need to make sure I don’t pressure myself to perform too much and get myself back into the state where it feels like a chore. This is a form of self care for me, and I hope you’ll come along on this ride. There’s going to be a lot more mental health talk around here, because that’s a part of being measured, and it’s a part of ME.

New Projects

I’ve been wanting to do my own A Measured Life podcast for years now, and I’ve learned  a lot about writing and recording shows in the last year. I’m going to be working on a solo AML show: short, easy to digest episodes that focus on a topic related to living a more measured life. Each episode will be about food, fitness, frugality and feeling good. I’m writing episodes and the only big step now is figuring out hosting services. I can (and WILL) do this!

Update On My Mental State

I’m learning a lot about myself these days, which is a good thing for sure.

Writing It Out

I’m really bad at asking for space. There will be this voice in my head telling me how lovely it would be to have some quiet time where I don’t have to interact with anyone, where I can accomplish chores that are piling up or sit down and write out my feelings and process them. But my lizard brain, the deep rooted instinctual part of the brain that controls the fight or flight function, tells me that if I take distance from those I care about, they’ll be unhappy or decide I’m not worth the wait. I become clingy and desperate in these times, and I sacrifice my mental health to spend time with those I love. This might seem like a selfless good thing, the act of ignoring my own feelings for those I care about, but in truth it’s ridiculously selfish.

This week I’ve been ignoring those signs right and left. I’ve been feeling the weight of depression seeping into my bones and instead of doing what’s best for me (pulling back and allowing myself time to reflect on why these feelings have cropped up) I force social interactions or distract myself with a cell phone game or my favorite tv show. In these times, I need to listen to the voice in my brain that tells me to turn off all media (tv, radio, cell phone) and sit down and WRITE IT OUT. I won’t be gone forever, probably just a couple of hours at most, and my friends and loved ones will still be there for me when I get back. And if they aren’t… well… then they weren’t great friends to begin with.

Experiencing Isolation

The other state I sometimes find myself in is this melancholy that blankets me when I have a day with limited social interaction. It’s usually a weekend day filled with chores and cooking with no one else around except via text. I find I tend to avoid superficial social interactions on these days: I do my chores in a state of feeling entirely isolated from the other people buying groceries or browsing at Target. I shy away from looking into strangers’ faces and try to be as invisible as possible.

I haven’t quite figured out the best way to cope with these days: I feel needy and want attention and reassurance but I doubt that this would actually fix the issue. Perhaps the best idea in this case is to do something productive where I can succeed and feel a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes I get struck by the idea that I have no true purpose in life: that the fact that I’m a 37 year old woman single woman with no kids and no real career means I’m living for nothing. That’s fatalistic thinking, though. I DO have a purpose. My ultimate purpose is to share what I’ve learned about myself with the world in hopes that someone else will get something positive from it. To help someone somewhere, maybe someone I’ve never met, feel less alone in this world. To help someone learn more about themselves and to grow.

Depression

I’m working through a depression right now, but I’m taking the necessary steps for self care. Self care is so important, and I have a habit of getting involved in things, things that make me happy. And when I’m happy it’s hard to recognize that I’m stressed and need to step back. That it’s okay to not stay elated 24/7. That the lows that follow the good times are okay.

I’m going to spend this time working on me, and personal projects, and try to find joy and pleasure in these things again. The fact that I’m even here is a huge step in the right direction. I hope enough of you are still here that we can grow together as I roll AML over into a new (and hopefully improved) phase of life.

I’d love to hear from you, some words of encouragement will go a long way right now.

Tata for now!

Holiday Anxiety & Announcement

I’ve written numerous times about anxiety. When I first started this blog three years ago I was fighting a very bad case of anxiety. Some of it was winter: I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the cold, dark winter months really take a toll on my mood. I rarely experience anxiety in the sun bathed months of summer.

Image Source

My work load, both professional and personal, has increased dramatically in the last year, and, since I work in retail, the Christmas season has flown by as I scramble to get things done and fail miserably. It’s okay, I’m putting a lot of this stress  on myself, I have a lot of personal achievement things I’m working on, which I’ll talk more about below. This has left me with little time or wherewithal to create holiday content here. I usually have a difficult time even staying awake after dinner, which makes me, as you can imagine, extremely unproductive.

I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have a job where I can take my dog, Bingley, with me. This allows me to get outside and walk a couple of times a day, and yesterday I noticed something really important: I was anxious at work, and it was almost entirely relieved when I was outside in the sunshine walking Bingley around town. I know for a fact I’m a natural born sun worshipper: I always have loved summer, even when I was heavy. I decided that a short list of things that help my anxiety would be beneficial as a reminder to myself.

  1. Being outside.  You love the sun, dear, you love the breeze in your face and hair. 
  2. Working out. Focusing on the movements and the music in your ears allows  you to let go of the chaos in your head and the endorphins last for hours afterwards. You’re less grumpy when you sweat, darling. 
  3. Girlfriend time. Often this is combined with being outside AND exercise, which makes it extra good. 
  4. Makeup. As a Younique Presenter, I do live makeup videos on my personal Facebook page, and honestly, I freaking love it. I always feel good after doing a live and even if I’m having a bad day, making myself look fabulous lightens my mood. 
  5. Bingley. Bingley is my absolute heart. Like the Grinch at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, he makes my heart grow three sizes when I look at him.

So these are things I need to remember when I’m feeling anxious or down.

Now onto the announcement!

I feel like I can finally announce it here since it is now officially official. In 2018 I will be co-hosting a podcast called Feast on History (go like our Facebook page)! It’s going to be a fun, family friendly romp through the history of food. If you’ve been checking out my blog Recipe for History over at Blazing Caribou Studios, you’ll know I get into the history of foods there as I write a recipe to go along with it. Come February, that blog will be the Feast on History companion blog and will feature recipes directly related to the podcast. I am much excite about this!

As always I immensely appreciate your support and patience as I transition into 2018. I’m going to be growing my personal brand in the next year and I’m so excited to share that with you. ❤