Skip to main content

Common Challenges: The Vicious Cycle of eating too little

Everybody has an individual resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the minimum amount of calories it takes for your body to function, including breathing, absorption and digestion.  An activity factor is added to your RMR that configures how many additional calories are needed to function on a daily basis.  The more activity you engage in, the more calories your body needs to function.  Once you add the activity level to the RMR you have your total energy expenditure (TEE) or estimated amount of energy it takes to perform all activities in a day.  When your body is not getting enough of the minimal amount of calories it needs to function, your body will think its starving.  Every time your body thinks its starving it breaks down stored protein and fat to provide energy to ‘get things done.’  If this becomes a consistent event, the next times you eat your body will store all nutrients as fat to prepare itself for the next fast.  In addition, your metabolism stalls and learns how to use fewer calories to function. 

So there we have the vicious cycle.  You eat too little, your body reacts and stores your food as fat to prevent a fast, it then lowers your resting metabolic rate. You go out on Friday night to have a couple beers, eat out Saturday night and Sunday and before you know it you ate or drank three hundred additional calories each night.  This total of nine hundred calories contributes to .25 pounds a week which you might not even detect on your scale. That leads to one pound a month and twelve pounds a year.  Sound familiar?

I have many clients who have come to me ready to restrict further or exercise more to lose weight.  After we sit down and discuss daily intake and exercise habits, they are absolutely shocked when I tell them the issue is that they actually have to eat more.   When I ask most if they are hungry they usually reply no. Did you know anorexia is a side effect of starvation?

Other symptoms of eating too little are low blood pressure, gallstones, heart arrhythmias, nutrient deficiencies, hair loss, brittle fingernails, dizziness, anemia, or depression.  A dietitian is the only clinician who can recommend a calorie level to an individual. He or she is licensed and registered to do so and is trained specifically on human metabolism. Everybody’s ‘number’ is different and depends on age, weight, height, activity levels and co morbidities.

Are you skeptical? Kindred Nutrition is always welcoming newcomers into our community. It’s worth the assessment if you have any of the symptoms above, have a plateau with your weight, or just need a kick start.  Good luck and be well.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

You are what you eat BUT it takes longer than a day!

Recent research by Cornell University published a week ago in the New England Journal of Medicine proves that holiday weight gain does happen and most of it is from October to about ten days after Christmas.  The study analyzed 3,000 individuals over a years time focusing on daily weights that were collected and analyzed by a wireless Withings Scale.

Although the average weight gain from October to November was only 1.3 pounds this may prove that holiday weight gain is not a myth. Of interest, the study also showed that fifty percent lost the weight shortly after the holiday season while it took the other fifty percent about five months to lose the excess weight, shortly after Easter.
Author Dr. Wansink advises “Instead of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, have an October resolution not to gain too much weight in the first place. Then you won’t have to worry about five months of struggling."
At Kindred Nutrition we tend to agree with Dr. Wansink's advice.  Our society is s…

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…