22 Mar Signs You Are Undereating + How To Fix
Undereating is a common issue in our practice and it’s from the years of yo-yo dieting and cutting calories to try and reach your health goals. The thing is is that you can’t keep cutting calories because eventually you’re going to hit “0” calories. Right?! Today, we’re covering the top signs that you are undereating (without having to track) and how to stop undereating!
Signs of Undereating
Feeling tired? If your body isn’t able to get the fuel it needs to do normal cellular functions (making ATP energy, detoxing, etc), you won’t have enough energy to do your errands, exercise, working, etc. We cannot forget this -> Food = FUEL. It is how our body runs. Being cliche for one second, think of your body as a car and food as the gas. Eventually, if you don’t give your car gas, it will stop running. The same goes for your body. So, if your energy is down, it could simply be because you aren’t eating enough.
Guess what it pretty stressful? Chronically not eating enough. Your body will always find glucose for your body to use – you can eat it or you can make it inside the body, but to make it inside the body, your fight or flight response + cortisol (stress hormone) turns on to release stored glycogen. This fight or flight response from your body trying to fuel itself since you aren’t feeding it can easily trigger dreaded anxiety.
Not Losing Weight
You heard that right – having stubborn weight loss can be from chronically undereating. As you fuel your body with food + stay active, your metabolism gets fired up + ready to work with you. After awhile of cutting calories, your metabolism will downshift and lower because it can’t keep up with low food intake for a long time. That’s why I said – we just can’t keep cutting calories to lose weight. Clinically, we see the need for major support to overcome dieting mindset. But, we know YOU CAN DO IT!
I mean this makes sense, right? Your body is telling you it needs more fuel!! But with long-term yo-yo dieting, we are often taught to ignore it and to stick to your goals! With long-term dieting, our hunger might actually decrease and match what you are putting in. So, you’ll find yourself easily skipping meals because you aren’t hungry and this continues the cycle of chronic undereating.
Hair Falling Out
No woman likes to lose her precious locks, but can undereating leave you nutrient-deficient and thyroid not functioning optimally, which leads to those locks falling out more than you’d like. When your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, it will always prioritize the important organs + girl let me tell you, your hair is waaaayyyyy down the line of importance.
Exercise Recovery Sucks
Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get through a workout? Or you do a killer workout, but you are wondering where the heck is the progress?! Muscle building demands food + energy. Remember, strength training breaks down your muscle during the workout, but it’s during recovery when muscles are rebuilt. So, if you aren’t eating enough, you’ll be left wondering why the heck your muscles aren’t growing with all the work you’re doing.
Brain Fog + Sleep Interruptions
If you’re struggling with brain fog, undereating might just be the reason. As mentioned already, food is fuel. Cognitive function can decline when there isn’t enough “gas”. Also, with undereating (especially when paired with lots of activity), blood sugar balance can become wacky. With wacky blood sugar, it can easily cause you wake up 2-3am in the morning and interrupt your beauty sleep!
So, how to fix and stop undereating? Glad you asked!
We’ve Talked About Signs of Undereating, Now How To Stop Undereating
This can be really helpful (but annoying) to truly understand where you are falling short. Are you not eating enough protein? Carbs? Fat? Not eating enough overall? If you don’t know where you are falling short, you won’t know what to focus on increasing or decreasing! My favorite tool to do this is Cronometer because it’s like My Fitness Pal, but I find My Fitness Pal to be the “Windows version” and Cronometer the “Apple version”. Sorry for the Microsoft/Windows fans, we’re Apple fans here! It’s a much more ‘cleaner’ and positive experience.
Track for a couple of days and see where you are at. You don’t have to be obsessive about this and track forever, but a couple days will help you gauge where you are falling short. If you have a history of disordered eating + seeing numbers is a trigger for you, you can become a client of ours + we can hide the numbers for you + guide you on how to improve without you seeing the numbers
Increasing Portion Sizes Slowly
Your body is most likely used to eating the way you eat, so your hunger cues could be matching your intake. We see clients who are undereating, but they say they aren’t hungry + they are going by hunger cues. At this point in the journey, going by hunger cues is unreliable. You need to slowly increase portion sizes + heads up: it’s going to be uncomfortable a bit.
Your body is used to what you’ve been intaking, so increasing it can + will feel uncomfortable. So, instead of eating 1 egg, eat 2. Instead of eating 3 ounces of chicken, eat 4-5 ounces. Instead of eating 1/4 of an avocado, eat 1/2 of an avocado.
You’ll slowly increase the portions until you are at your goal of where you should be at! Professional guidance is helpful here!
Do NOT Skip Meals
You heard me, girl! Do NOT skip meals. Don’t rely on just coffee with collagen for your breakfast. You NEED food. Skipping meals is one way to ensure that you are undereating because it’s hard to play catch-up all day. Focus on getting a balanced meal (more on that in a second!) 3x/day! Breakfast, lunch, + dinner!
Eating three times per day will ensure that you have every opportunity to get fuel in.
Balance Your Plate
As you try and fix undereating, creating balanced plates is key! This will ensure that the meals you are eating are getting enough of all the macronutrients. Every plate should have a carbohydrate source, protein source, + cooking in fats or adding healthy fats like avocado. How much you should add of each thing is individual, but if you are undereating, it’s most likely that you need a little bit of everything.
If you are battling with mindset issues because you’ve been yo-yo dieting for so long and adding carbs seems scary to you, make sure to reach out to us. We have an incredible health nutrition coach on staff to help guide you toward releasing those fears + changing behaviors, so you can be free from those taunting thoughts for the rest of your life.
If you need more advice personally to improve undereating + understand where you should be at, request a free appointment with us, so we can learn more about you + we can talk about the best approach for you + how we can customize it! You are an individual that should be treated as such! Our team of nutritionists + dietitians is THE BEST!
Signs of Undereating be GONE!