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How do I know that I am not eating enough?

In North America we have one of the highest prevalence of eating disorders in the world[1] . We focus on obesity and restricting calorie intake. We rarely talk about anorexia, bulimia or orthorexia, and the effects that a restrictive diet has on your body. Anorexia, Bullemia, Binge Eating, orthorexia, and any other eating disorder has a psychological component and co-morbidities1.  This blog post is going to focus on the effects of a restrictive diet only. A restrictive calorie intake does not mean you have gone to the point where a medical professional would diagnose you with an eating disorder. It is more that you are on a permanent diet. There are a 2 prominent problems with prolonged restrictive calorie intake: permanent metabolism derangement, and weight gain.

Permanent metabolism derangement happens when your body is going to be live in stress mode. Your metabolism slows down and does not respond to dietary changes. Your body has taken over and is going to start storing the little food it has and conserve it for even harder times ahead. There is nothing you can do to snap your body out of this state. This is going to cause weight gain, and your body will have a very hard time parting with the excess fat. It is almost impossible to change this weight gain. The best option is to watch your portions and focus on the low calorie healthy foods like vegetables.

A male should be eating around 2500-3000 calories/day and a female should be 1700- 2200 calories/day. A diet for a female is 1200 cals/day and male is 1700 cals/day. Anything under the diet intake is extreme caloric restrictions. People should not be staying at the diet caloric intake let alone beneath it. Food is good for you. I always tell any weight management patient that your relationship with food is more mental/psychological/emotional than anything else. We need to have a healthy relationship with food. We cannot exist without it.


[1] General Statistics. Eating Disorder Statistics. Get informed. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Retrieved May 8, 2019. Updated 2019. https://anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

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