Lose Weight by Eating More
by Alice Greene
Has it ever occurred to you that you may
not be eating enough food? The average North
American woman is not eating enough, which
is a result of frequent dieting, fear of overeating,
and busy schedules. This seems a bit bizarre,
considering the average American is also overweight.
Is there a correlation?
I believe there is a direct correlation and
there are other experts and research that
backs this up. When you don't eat enough,
your body doesn't get enough calories to fuel
its energy requirements.
To manage this imbalance your body has to
adapt by lowering your metabolic rate. It
does this to survive what is perceived as
a food shortage, and when your body is in
this state it also begins to hoard fat. The
more often your body is in a food shortage
mode, the more the body anticipates future
food shortages and becomes a fat storing machine,
ensuring that when you do get enough food
some of it gets stored as fat. Do you think
that has happened to you?
Unfortunately, the body is quick to store
fat, but reluctant to use it - unless it experiences
an extended food shortage or famine (usually
an extreme diet). At this point, the body
is even quicker to rebuild its fat stores
after the food shortage is over, in case it
is needed for an even longer famine.
For this reason, frequent dieters have less
success and more weight gain with each successive
diet. I hear this all the time from people
that don't understand why it was once so easy
to lose weight on a diet, and now they can't
seem to lose anything on a diet and are hitting
their all-time high weight levels. They feel
like they are failing at dieting.
They are not failing - the diet is failing
them. Diets are one of the primary causes
of obesity; because they put the body into
a starvation mode and ultimately accelerate
fat-storing that is difficult to stop once
the metabolic rate has been lowered.
When you do not eat enough food, you may
also experience exhaustion, weakness, lack
of motivation, headaches, lack of concentration,
irritability, or possibly depression or moodiness.
Food is fuel for the cells in our body, and
the brain is particularly affected when it
doesn't get enough carbohydrates - its only
source of fuel. So if you aren't feeling that
well, maybe you aren't eating enough food
or enough carbohydrates balanced with protein
and fat. Many people who did the Atkins diet
found that they didn't think as clearly and
got easily fatigued when on the diet, and
that is because they weren't getting enough
carbohydrates - the body's primary source
of fuel. If you did a low carb diet, did you
notice any change in your moods, concentration
or energy levels?
Another indicator that you might not be getting
enough food is if you've been sick a lot,
become prone to injuries or stress fractures,
or even missed menstrual cycles. Again, food
is what fuels our cells and gives us the vitamins
and minerals we need to stay healthy. When
we don't get enough, it affects our internal
functions, immune system and even bone density,
because the body will start to break down
muscle, bone and tissue to get any fuel that
is stored in these places to survive.
There is a reason food is called energy or
fuel, and that is because every cell in our
body needs that fuel as energy to function
properly. We are an amazing physical machine
that burns energy efficiently to keep us both
healthy and alive. But when we don't give
our body enough fuel, it doesn't work as well.
One of the things that can happen when you
deprive yourself of food is an uncontrollable
urge to overeat. This is called the deprivation
backlash and it can drive you to eat more
than you want or need. What is interesting
is most people are driven to overeat carbohydrates
when they don't eat enough, and it actually
makes sense. When you don't get enough food,
you have both a physical and emotional response.
Physically, the body gets desperate for more
fuel and carbohydrates (particularly simple
carbs) is the fastest way to get it, and emotionally,
if you've been deprived of carbs you will
become more obsessed with them. When was the
last time you experienced this?
So this week pay attention to whether you
are getting enough to eat. Notice if you are
skipping meals and then overeating later,
or if you are in a diet mentality and limiting
how much you feed yourself. It is best to
eat when you are hungry and stop before you
are full, letting your body signal you on
how much is enough. Try listening to your
hunger signals to govern how much food is
right for you.
Alice Greene, Lifestyle
fitness and inspirations coach, founder of
Fit Beyond 40, creator of Help Yourself Today,
Living Free Diabetes and radio show host.