“It is so hard to sustain cutting calories and eating too little. What typically happens is that the person will go in the opposite direction; they will just become too hungry and go into a binging mode,” says Lummus. “Because you are getting frustrated by not seeing any weight loss, you just sort of throw in the towel.”
Why Eating Too Little Harms Your Health
In addition to sabotaging your weight-loss efforts, eating too few calories can also harm your health. When your body goes into starvation mode, you are at increased risk for the following:
• Abnormally low blood pressure and slow heart rate
• Heart rhythm abnormalities
• Electrolyte imbalances, especially potassium deficiency
• Hair loss
• Brittle fingernails
• Loss of menstrual periods in women
• Soft hair growth over entire body
• Trouble concentrating
• Swelling in your joints
• Brittle bones
Coming To Terms With Calories
Remember that calories are not your enemy. They are a vital part of a healthy and energetic life. “Your body needs a certain amount of calories just to sustain proper function,” says Lummus. This is why fad diets that force you to cut out too many calories leave you feeling lethargic, shaky, and ready to give up.
Instead of opting for a fad diet, find a reasonable eating and exercise plan that allows you to lose one-half to two pounds per week. There is evidence that people who lose weight at this rate — by making better nutrition choices, eating smaller portion sizes, and exercising — also have the best chance of keeping it off. Make a plan to adopt new healthful habits that you will be able to stick to indefinitely, and always allow yourself a little wiggle room for special occasions.