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Are You Eating Enough?

Are you eating enough?

This may seem like a self-explanatory question, yet every time I ask someone this, the answer is usually “I don’t know,” or “I think so.”

We are constantly inundated with “information” from social media influencers sharing their “Get Shredded Quick” programs and “10-day Cleanses.” None of these programs are addressing the real question- does your body feel supported and fueled by the amount of food you’re currently eating?

The reason we find ourselves over-eating snack foods, or going overboard on the weekends is that we are putting our bodies in too much of a caloric deficit for too long of a time period that it is unsustainable for longer than a few days. We’ve all been there, you start the week off by eating “healthy” with 3 egg whites and an apple for breakfast, a salad (lite dressing) with grilled chicken, and turkey breast with some steamed veggies for dinner. You eat this every day for 4 days, until you have a work social event on Friday night, where you end up having 2 glasses of red wine, 3 Vodka Sodas, 2 slices of pizza, and french fries. Then, you wake up Saturday feeling horrible, hungover, and hungry, so you head to brunch where you have a couple of mimosas, an omelette with fried potatoes, and a side of toast. You probably don’t eat again until dinner, but you’re still not feeling great so you order some thai food and call it a day. Sunday rolls around, you feel bloated and exhausted, but you still have to eat, right? So you grab a green juice for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and tacos for dinner. By the time you get to Monday morning, you’re grumpy, still bloated, and have no energy to start your week.

That is an extreme case that I outlined, and yet I see this type of pattern very frequently. Constant under-eating throughout the week leads to potential binges throughout the weekend as you come off a routine, and your body is looking for fuel wherever it can get it. Food, and whether or not you’re eating enough of it has a direct impact on your hormones. Hormones control everything in your body from your energy levels, to how well you digest your food, and how clearly you can think throughout the day. If you are constantly and consistently under-eating, your hormones are not given the necessary resources to function at their highest potential, leaving you sleepy, overweight, or with brain fog. Here are a few signs that you may be under-eating:

You are constantly low-energy, or feeling like no matter how much you sleep you don’t feel refreshed. Constant Hunger, or constantly feeling like you can’t eat. These are opposite ends of the spectrum, and both hint at the possibility of not eating enough.

Infertility or inability to get pregnant. Do you get your period regularly? If not, this is a telltale sign that your body does not feel supported enough to support the growth of another living being.

Sleep Issues.Depriving yourself of the appropriate amount of food for your body/activity levels can seriously affect your quality and quantity of sleep.

Mood. Do you suffer from RBF (Resting B***h Face)? You might just be extra irritable from a lack of food.

IBS Symptoms. Tummy stuff (constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating) is a common identifier that your nutrition is not working for you. Most commonly, if you’re under-eating you may find yourself constipated more often than not, because your body is not taking in enough food to move out of your system more often than 2 or 3 times a week.

If you have any of these signs, it is definitely worth it to take a look at what you’re currently eating, and really ask yourself if you feel good with what you’re doing now. If your nutrition is not working for you, there are a few things you can do right off the bat to help.

First, download a Food Log. You will learn so much about your food habits, and what has the biggest impact on your energy, mood, and sleep just by writing down what you’re eating throughout the day. Want more information on food logging? Check out this post. I created a food log for my clients that separates each category of food for you, taking the confusion of meal planning/prepping out of the equation. Grab that here.Once you’ve identified where the gaps are in your nutrition, you can start to include more well-balanced meals, and some satiating snacks in throughout the day.

As you start logging your food, you will bring more consciousness to what you’re eating. From there, it will help you to be more aware of the times that you crash after eating a meal high in processed carbs, or times that you feel the brain fog come on because you haven’t eaten enough fat/protein for the day.

Nutrition is a fluid concept- what works for you, in terms of calories, timing, and macronutrient makeup, may not work for someone else. Which means that it’s all about trial and error in relation to your food choices, and that it may change over the course of your life (even over the course of the seasons in a year). Taking the time now to become aware of how your food affects your body will save you infinite time and money in the future on sleep meds, diet pills, fad diets, and doctors visits.

Have questions about your food? Shoot us an email over at coaching@thewca.fit !