Many people find it difficult to have a good relationship with food. For some, food is something akin to fuel, with the sole purpose of keeping them going. For others, food is the thing they live for, the spice of life, if you will. No matter what your relationship with food is, it can be a struggle to know whether or not you are getting enough to eat.
Are you always in need of a cup of coffee? Do you ever feel tired, even after getting enough sleep? One sign you are not eating enough is a low energy level. Studies have shown not eating enough calories is associated with insufficient energy. Moreover, other studies suggest female athletes who do not consume enough calories throughout the day have too little energy to support the elevated level of physical activity. It is important to know that an increase in activity level requires an increase in calories.
Constant hunger is another sign you are not consuming enough calories. Studies have shown that the more you restrict your calories, the hungrier you feel. Research has also indicated that food cravings tend to increase as people decrease their calories due to hormones that control hunger and fullness. In animal studies, subjects who had their calorie intake decreased had increased leptin and IGF-1 appetite suppressing hormones decreased.
Being constipated can be uncomfortable. Chronic constipation can take a while to develop, but early signs are noticeable. They include passing fewer than one stool per day, having lumpy or hard stools, and straining to have bowel movements. In some cases, you might feel like a blockage in the rectum is preventing bowel movements or that you can not completely empty the stool. Studies suggest regular constipation could be a result of eating too few calories. It is essential to eat enough high-fiber calories to maintain healthy bowel movements.
No period or abnormal menstrual function
Another sign you are not eating enough calories is the lack of a period or an abnormal period. The hypothallus and pituitary gland work together to maintain hormonal balance. There are a variety of reasons you might have irregular periods, but inadequate calories could be the main cause. A lack of essential nutrients hinders the hormonal balance. When you reduce calories, you might also be reducing nutrients that are necessary to ensure regular menstrual function.
Constantly feeling cold is symptomatic of many problems. One of these issues is poor overall health and poor diet, which could mean you’re not eating enough calories. Our bodies require an adequate number of calories to create heat and maintain a healthy, comfortable weight. Studies suggest restricting calories may lower core body temperature and therefore make you feel cold. In a six-year controlled study, participants who consumed fewer daily calories had a lower body temperature than those who ate more calories.
Losing a handful of hair strands each day is normal, but excessive hair loss is a sign you might not be eating enough calories. Extreme shedding can be one of the first signs you are not getting proper nutrients such as protein, iron, and biotin. Our bodies prioritize and will share the nutrients they have access to with the brain, organs, and heart, first.
By now most of us have heard and probably experienced “hangry,” a term coined to describe someone who is mad or in a bad mood because they are hungry. It is true that a lack of proper calories can cause mood fluctuations. Research suggests eating too few calories leads to low glucose levels which may cause aggression and violent behavior. It is essential to consume adequate calories every two to three hours to prevent low glucose levels.
If you are not getting enough calories, there is a chance you are also not getting enough water. Although many people think we only get water from fluids, we also hydrate our bodies with the food we consume. Moreover, the food we eat provides electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which all affect thirst. If you feel thirsty, have dark-colored urine, are not peeing enough, have dry mouth or dry skin, feel tired, or have a headache, you might be dehydrated.
Poor mental concentration
We need energy from calories to keep our brains functioning properly. When we restrict calories, we tend to have poor cognition. This might first show up as simple things simple forgetting your wallet or keys. However, with time a lack of concentration or focus can really take a toll on your day and life. Restricting calories can lead to daily brain fog. It is essential to consume nutrient-rich calories and those that can provide a memory boost, such as foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Not getting enough sleep or having difficulty sleeping can really take a toll. You might feel tired first thing in the morning, right through the day. Research suggests that low-calorie diets can be behind difficulty falling and staying asleep. It is essential that you consume the number of calories that fits your activity level. People who are more active throughout the day, or who do any intense physical activity, require more calories.