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.


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.


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.



Medical News Today

Self Care Checklist

Some days taking care of yourself is the easiest thing in the world. You wake up after a good night’s sleep, brush your teeth, make the bed, eat a healthy breakfast, go to the gym, take a shower, put on makeup, dress well and head to work where you’re super productive, eat a healthy lunch you packed yourself and spend the evening checking off your chores list like you’re some sort of domestic superhero.

Other days, it can be so difficult to accomplish half of those tasks, or to half ass all of those tasks. On days like these, it’s good to remember that we don’t have to be perfect all the time, and it’s okay to take care of ourselves in a loving manner. Today I’m having trouble not snacking, and instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to partake in some serious self care. Here’s a list of things I like to do when I’m feeling down and need some “me time”:

Put some comfy pajamas on. Don’t make yourself stay in uncomfortable clothes if you don’t have to. It’s okay to get into sweatpants and slippers if it makes you feel warm and cozy.

Take a walk. Sometimes getting out into the world helps with getting out of your own head. Nature can be amazing and beautiful, and can help you see that the world is not always a dark place, that’s just your mind lying to you.

Write it out. I’m bad at journaling my thoughts, which is why sometimes these things spill out here on my blog. But both ways are okay. Sometimes just writing down your feelings can help get them out of your system and help you move on.

Take a nap or have a bath. Surround yourself in something warm and comforting like a hot bath or a warm blanket and just BE. Feel the warmth envelop you and just be at peace.

Give yourself a manicure or a pedicure. Making a part of yourself extra pretty can help you feel better about yourself, plus focusing on a task that requires your attention can help suppress your negative thoughts.

If a friend of yours was feeling like you’re feeling, what would you tell them to do?

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