How Eating More Can Help You Lose Weight

If you have weight loss goals, you’re probably aware that you need to reduce calories. “Eat less, exercise more” has become synonymous with weight loss (and with getting healthy, which is far from the truth… but that’s a post for another time) and it’s usually the first thing people try when they want to change their body composition.

And while eating less might work at first, you’ll notice that over time it gets harder and harder to lose weight.

A lot of women make the mistake of continuing to cut calories to try to lose weight. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to lose weight because our body adapts to help us survive, and one way it does this by burning less calories at rest.

On top of that, because cutting calories isn’t working, maybe you’ve started to dabble in other strategies like low carb, Keto, intermittent fasting, or macro-counting.

And let’s face it… counting calories, limiting portion sizes, skipping dessert, and feeling like you can’t eat out is downright stressful and unenjoyable.

The good news is, if you’ve been slashing your calories and the weight loss isn’t happening for you, you might need to start eating more to start seeing progress.

Eating more can help you — both psychologically and physiologically — to reach your goals.

In this article, I’m going to break down how eating more can help you lose weight (and quite frankly, help you to feel less stressed around food) especially if you feel like you’ve tried everything.

Why Eating Enough Matters for Fat Loss

Let’s start with understanding why eating enough in the first place is so important.

It all goes back to supporting your metabolism. In order to have a well functioning metabolism, your body needs to enough energy (calories), vitamins, and minerals.

Your digestion, immune system, menstrual cycle, body temperature, thyroid hormones, stress hormones, energy levels, sleep, and sex drive are all dependent upon the health of your metabolism. Because your metabolism is adaptive, reactive, and designed to keep you alive, it will slow down in response to stressors.

Too much of a calorie deficit is a stressor on the body, which leads to a shift in the production of hormones and slows your body’s ability to burn energy. When you eat less for extended periods of time, your body adapts to that decrease in energy consumption by slowing down all non-essential functions. This leads to slower digestion, constipation, bloating, low energy and fatigue, and hormonal symptoms like PMS, irregular cycles, and infertility.

This means you need to be eating enough to support your metabolism so that it can effectively use the food you eat for important functions like digestion, hormone production, body temperature, and so much more.

In other words, the 1500 calories a day that your body once saw as a deficit is no longer a deficit. Instead of trying to eat less and less, you need to eat more to support your metabolism, build muscle, and burn energy with movement throughout the day.

From a psychological standpoint, eating more can help you to get out of the deprive-then-binge cycle. If you’re always feeling like foods are off limits or you can’t control yourself when your partner brings home donuts, eating more on a regular basis can help. You shouldn’t have to rely on willpower or discipline to avoid certain foods.

In order to lose weight, it’s important to be in a deficit but not too much of a deficit to cause these metabolic adaptations and unnecessary stress on the body.

What “Not Eating Enough” Looks Like

If you’re thinking “I’m already eating enough” or “under eating is definitely not a problem for me” because you end up overeating in the evening or on weekends, this is important to understand.

Not eating enough can look like:

  • Eating less than 1800 calories a day
  • Eating foods void of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) – I see this a lot with women eating “clean” or following vegetarian, vegan, and even strict Paleo diets
  • Not eating enough bioavailable protein (at least 80 grams/day)
  • Not eating enough carbohydrates (especially important if you have hormone and adrenal issues)
  • Eating low calorie during the day (example: fasting until 2pm)
  • Eating low calorie during the week (Monday-Friday) and indulging on the weekends

And, if your metabolic markers like sleep, energy, digestion, and menstrual cycle are “off”, that’s a huge indicator that you’re likely not eating enough consistently.

Here are some other red flags that your body isn’t getting the calories it needs:

✔️ You have cravings for sugar and carbs
✔️ You always feel hungry (or never hungry at all)
✔️ You think about food all the time
✔️ You have trouble falling asleep or waking up frequently
✔️ You have energy slumps and fatigue
✔️ You deal with constipation and bloating
✔️ You have mood swings and irritability
✔️ You feel cold all the time – feet, hands, nose
✔️ You have hormone issues like PMS, irregular periods, PCOS

If you’re dealing with even just a few of these symptoms, you have to address both the quantity and quality of food you’re eating. Although these things are common, they’re not normal and oftentimes can be improved by increasing calories and eating foods that are right for you.

By addressing the first two layers of the Nutritional Hierarchy pyramid below, you’ll notice a huge improvement in the way you feel and also see progress with your weight loss.

Now that we know why eating enough in general is important, what it looks like, and some of the signs and symptoms that you’re not eating enough, let’s talk about some of ways eating more can help you to lose weight.

How eating more can help to support your weight loss goals.

Less cravings and hunger.

If you find that you’re using willpower or strategies to ignore and suppress your hunger, that’s your body telling you that it’s under stress and needs more calories. Eating even just a couple hundred calories more of the right food can also help to prevent cravings (the ones that lead us to overeating) and keep our blood sugar balanced so that we’re not dealing with the need for quick, easy sources of energy like processed carbohydrates that makes us feel completely out of control.

A healthier, more robust metabolism.

When you have a healthier metabolism, it’s easy to maintain your weight without dieting. With a healthy metabolism, you’ll have more energy, better sleep, balanced hormones, positive moods, and be more resilient to stress. My Metabolism Renewal Course is the step by step blueprint to help you achieve a healthy metabolism — even if you’ve felt like it’s always been “slow” or working against you. You can check it out here.

Better sleep.

Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is one of the most common symptoms I see with women who have low energy and are struggling to lose weight. Even with the perfect evening routine and a ton of supplements, they still wake up at 2am and can’t fall back asleep. If this is you, it’s likely that your body is in a state of stress and cortisol (your stress hormone) increases as a result. When this happens, you’ll wake up and feel alert. And, if you wake up and feel hungry this is a sign that your body is struggling to regulate your blood sugar. One way to fix this is by eating more throughout the day, and more specifically focusing on increasing good carbohydrates with dinner.

More energy.

This one might sound obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing that when you eat more calories — which are a form of energy — you’ll have more energy. Getting the right type of calories and balance of protein, carbs, and fats are especially important if you deal with energy highs and lows, cravings, headaches, and other blood sugar related issues.

Better recovery from workouts.

Another important part of the weight loss — and more specifically fat loss — equation is building muscle. Just like “eat less” is oversimplified, so is the advice to “exercise more”. In order to maintain healthy body composition and weight, it’s important to strength train and build muscle because the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. This means that throughout the day, you’re burning more calories without doing more formal exercise. Eating enough is important not only for fueling effective workouts, but also for proper recovery so you can continue to train and build muscle.

Less restrictive mindset and decreased mental stress.

The mental stress of dieting can cause a physiological stress response in the body that negatively impacts your metabolism and hormones. And, if under eating is what’s causing you to be inconsistent and stuck on the yo-yo dieting train, eating more will help to break out of that cycle.

If you think that you’re ready to evaluate your current intake to see if you’re eating enough and want to eat more in order to lose weight, I walk you through how to do that in my Metabolism Renewal Course.

Or, if you’re ready to have a customized nutrition plan that supports your weight loss goals while supporting your long term health, metabolism, hormones, and relationship with food, then you can apply to work together here.

Now I would love to hear from you. What do you think your calorie needs are and do you think you’re over or under it? Do you feel good with what you’re doing right now or are you trying to figure out what works for you?

Ready to discover how to fuel your body so you can support your energy, hormones, metabolism, & weight ….without dieting, restricting, or stressing about food?

Download my FREE Well Nourished Woman Guide here

& Learn the 6 key strategies that will help you ditch the cravings for good, improve your energy, balance your hormones, & lose weight easily without stressing over calories, exercise, and food rules.

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