You’re smashing through your daily workouts and think it’s a good idea to eat less, because the last thing you want to do is undo all your hard work, right? Wrong.
Not eating enough (of the right foods) especially when you’ve upped your fitness, could be doing your body more harm than good, says Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Chloe McLeod.
“Whilst it is clearly important to not over eat in order to either lose or maintain weight – not eating enough can also make it more difficult,” says Chloe. “Our bodies require a certain amount of energy on a day to day basis in order to function properly. Cutting back energy intake excessively makes it harder for this to happen and can result in weight loss plateauing.”
Certainly not ideal when you think about all those early morning gym session you’ve dragged yourself out of bed for! So what happens when you aren’t eating enough to fuel your daily activities?
“Our metabolism takes note and starts to slow down in an effort to ‘conserve’ energy,” explains Chloe. “I like to think of it like putting wood on a fire; plenty of wood on a fire helps it burn fast and hot, whilst not putting enough on results in a less intense burn. Our metabolism is a little the same.”
Case in point: Eating more keeps your metabolism going, eating less slows it down – but what is just as important (if not more) is your choice of food. “Fill up on vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates and lean protein,” recommends Chloe. “You’d be amazed by how much food you can eat when it’s mostly fresh produce!”
Knowing this, how can we ensure that we are eating enough but not too much? “Listen to your appetite. I regularly see clients who are following 1200 calorie diets (or less) and exercising for more than an hour each day. This is simply not enough fuel for most individuals [and in turn] is likely to result in weight loss slowing down, or stopping entirely.” Drinking plenty of water can also help identify mixed feelings of hunger, dehydration or something else entirely such as boredom.
Always consult a health care professional before commencing a new diet plan.
Ready to take control of your gut health? Click here to learn more about THE FODMAP CHALLENGE! Next round starts May 12.