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Social reasons and taste buds aside, the purpose of food is to get the calories(energy) and nutrients we need for our brain and internal organs to function and keep us alive.

When you chronically under eat, the body tries to conserve those calories by slowing down your metabolism. Your body learns to live on less burning even fewer calories than you did before. You will feel lethargic and irritable and be less likely to workout. Your body goes on the defense by creating hunger and cravings, it’s a survival mechanism.

Imagine calories as a paycheck. It’s Friday, you just got paid and you’re living large. You go out on the weekend and have a good time. Monday comes around and you’re really low on money, you have enough, you think, to make it to Friday. You start being conservative and stay home, sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. Thursday comes around and your broke, having lost your zest for life. Calories are your bodies paycheck, if you don’t pay yourself you’ll feel like it’s Thursday every day. 

Eating less than your body needs can actually cause you to hang onto body fat for two reasons. First, your body will start conserving calories through your muscle. It’s more expensive to have muscle on your body than fat so your body unloads it. Every bit of muscle you lose causes your metabolism to slow down even more. 

Second, too little nutrition puts your body into conservation mode burning fewer calories. If the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs it won’t feel like expending any energy at all.

People often go on low-calorie diets and then do intense exercise like CrossFit or long-distance running six to seven days per week and then they wonder why their weight isn’t changing or their weight actually goes up. 

A short-term, moderate caloric deficit (300-500) can lead to sustainable weight loss, much larger deficits (500 and up) affect your thyroid and sex hormones and raises cortisol. 

Chronically elevated cortisol leads to both leptin and insulin resistance, keeping body weight up by stalling fat loss and holding on to the fat instead. 

You’ll start to see even more side effects of nutrient deficiencies from calorie reduction like:

  • Hair Loss 
  • Constant Hunger
  • Low Energy Levels
  • Sleep Issues
  • Irritability
  • Feeling Cold All the Time
  • Constipation
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Low libido

My goal for my online clients is for them to eat the most calories possible and still lose weight, without restricting. When someone has been chronically under-eating it’s amazing to see health improve simply by increasing calories. 

Eating too little is just as unhealthy as eating too much.

If you would like to work with me one on one and get your healthy body back please send me a message. I’d love to talk to you about your goals and how I can help you!

Kathy Cote’

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