How to Know if You’re Eating Enough

Most of the women I talk to and many of my 1:1 clients come to me after years of dieting. They’ve tracked their calories, counted points or macros, and followed 1200-1500 calorie per day plans.

And they still don’t feel better, can’t reach their goals, or stay consistent. Even with cutting more calories and working out more, their body hardly changes.

So before you try another diet go back to eating less and working out more… let me share with you a different approach.

Because eating less ia sure-fire way to mess up your metabolism, disrupt your sleep, make it harder to lose fat, feel tired and anxious, increase your cravings and hunger, and completely throw off your hormones.

Instead, eating more of the right foods consistently is the solution and can be a game-changer for your health.

It’s essential for long term help and solving those ongoing nagging symptoms. Think: better sleep, more energy, balanced hormones, zero cravings, effortless fat loss, improved mood…. the list goes on and on.

I put together a short video all about it that you can watch HERE.

Under eating can look like:

  • eating 1200-1500 calories a day 
  • eating foods void of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals)
  • eating foods void of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs)
  • low calorie during the day / during the week, then overeating at night / on the weekend

In other words, you might feel like you can feel like you’re overeating or eating a lot at certain times, but your body is still in need of nourishment. Whatever it looks like, it’s a HUGE stressor on the body and one that will keep you from reaching your goals.

Which one sounds like you?

  • So busy you forget to eat, then when you finally get to chill you’re ready to eat ALL the food
  • “Good” during the week then eat all the food and drinks on the weekend
  • Yo-yoing between overeating one day and under eating the next. Feel like you have to “undo” overeating with more exercise or cutting calories the next day.
  • Always looking to follow the newest diet or trend – maybe Keto, Paleo, a Whole30, or intermittent fasting is the answer
  • Tracking everything meticulously and feels like they can’t eat out, socialize, and feel bad if they don’t fit within their calorie/macro goal.

And what actually happens when you’re not eating enough (or just stressing out this much about food)?! 

Chronic under-eating and yo-yo dieting are perceived by the body as STRESS (a threat to survival). Your body is smart and will adapt to survive, and one way it does this is by shifting hormones.

It slows down the functions that aren’t a priority and conserves energy wherever possible. This means slower digestion, a slower metabolism, thyroid issues, and adrenal issues

And because sex hormones are NOT priority for survival, things like ovulation, fertility, and your menstrual cycle are put on the back burner. This shows up as PMS, infertility, PCOS, irregular cycles, estrogen dominance, and painful periods

This is why maybe you’ve dieted in the past and it “worked” (you lost weight at first) but it seems like you can’t do that now, or you feel like you gain weight more easily.

Eating less is not the solution. But eating more of the right foods consistently is and can be a game-changer for your health once you dial it in.

Here are some of the signs you might not be eating enough:

  • Getting cold easily
  • Always hungry OR never actually feel hungry
  • Cravings for specific foods
  • Thinking about food all the time
  • Hard time losing weight
  • Can’t fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Hard time gaining muscle or recovering from workouts
  • Low energy, get dizzy, get shaky
  • Irregular menstrual cycles or loss of period
  • Hard time getting pregnant / infertility 
  • No sex drive
  • Hair loss, brittle nails, dry skin
  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • Hypothyroidism or Hashimotos

There are multiple factors that influence how much you should be eating, so the amount that is right for you will be different than your friend, and can even vary day to day based on your stress, activity, where you’re at in your cycle, and how much sleep you got the night before.

BOTTOM LINE: if you want to have more energy, feel motivated to workout, lose fat and keep muscle (aka get “toned”), sleep better, have a better sex drive, and regulate your mood, you have to be eating enough food. 

How to Determine Your Calorie Needs

Determining exactly how many calories you need to be eating on a daily basis for optimal health (great sleep, energy, digestion) and body composition goals can be tricky.

Many factors come into play, including your physical activity, stress levels, sleep, history of past diet, autoimmunity, and current hormonal status.

For women, anything less than 1800 calories is likely not enough.

I recommend working with a professional or going through my Metabolism Renewal Course to figure out your ideal calorie intake, but if you want a good place to start you can follow these steps.

  1. Calculate your calorie needs HERE. You’ll take your BMR + your activity level to find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This is the # you want to reach consistently.
  2. Track for 2-3 days to figure out what your current intake is, then slowly adjust based on your actual needs. If you’re under eating your needs significantly (i.e. you’re eating 1200 calories and need 2100 calories), increase this slowly by 50-100 calories a day.
  3. Schedule time for 3 solid meals and don’t be afraid to fill your plate with food to keep you full and satisfied.

This is something I go over with my 1:1 Nutritional Therapy clients and inside my Metabolism Renewal Course.

If you want to learn how to eat enough food to support your goals, figure out the foods that are best for your body, and do so consistently so it almost becomes second nature, then you can book a FREE Strategy Session here so we can talk more.

And in the meantime, I would love to hear from — do you feel like you chronically under eat, feel like you’re “good” then overdue it, or like to try all the diets out there? Comment below or come join my private Facebook group, Real Health & Nutrition for Women and share with me there.

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