One of the biggest mistakes people make on their fat loss journey is undereating. There is a common but misguided thought process that the less you eat, the more fat you will lose.
However, the reality is that this is one of the worst things you can do for both your fat loss goals and your overall health. To lose fat over a long period of time, your calorie deficit must be moderate, so that your metabolism functions properly and keeps burning the fat you want to lose. Furthermore, undereating can affect your life in a number of other areas too.
So, with that in mind, how do you know if you need more food? What are the key signs that a calorie increase is what is required?
Rapid Weight Decrease
The first area in which you can tell that you are undereating is your scale weight. Even if weight loss is the goal, losing too much, too fast is not beneficial for your body shape or health because you lose vital muscle tissue, as well as fat. Many people lose a lot of weight on extreme diets but end up unhappy with their body shape, simply because part of that weight loss is muscle tissue. So, to add muscle and improve your body shape, you must eat more, especially when it comes to protein and carbohydrates. To combine this with fat loss, your calorie deficit must be moderate, meaning that eating not enough calories will have an adverse effect on what you are trying to achieve.
High Hunger Levels
Another great way of knowing if you need more food is through your hunger levels. More often than not, if you are undereating, your cravings will increase throughout the day, therefore making the process unenjoyable and unsustainable. For you to change your body shape, you have to be on a plan that you can stick to for a long period of time, and being hungry every day is not going to help you achieve this. So, a gradual increase in food will help you stay in control and enjoy the process a lot more.
Another huge clue for adding more food are your energy levels. This will be vital, not only in achieving your goals, but also in fuelling your workouts and remaining full of energy throughout the day. Consuming plenty of carbohydrates, in particular, is going to be important because it is going to be your primary source of energy throughout the day. Aim for carbohydrates that release energy slowly, such as oatmeal, rice, potatoes, pasta and bread, so that you avoid sharp spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels and that your energy levels remain consistent.
Struggling To Progress Your Training
By decreasing your calories, you may also mind that your performance in the gym takes a hit. Unlike cardio, which is something that can be performed in a fasted state without a huge dip in performance (depending on what you are doing), resistance training is something that requires plenty of energy beforehand. So, you must fuel yourself properly. This means consuming enough calories to progress the quality and intensity of your training over time and having a good balance of protein and carbohydrates in your diet, along with a smaller portion of fats.
Not Enjoying The Process
Great results do not come without consistency, but consistency does not come if you are not enjoying the process. Undereating not only lowers your strength, energy, and performance, but also affects your mood, meaning that the process becomes less and less enjoyable. Of course, getting in shape requires hard work, sacrifice, and discipline as well as consistency but you are far less likely to succeed with an ultra-restrictive programme that is not in any way enjoyable to undertake. Building sustainable habits that you can stick to is going to make life a lot more bearable, both physically and mentally.
So, if you are unsure if you are not eating enough food for your goals, there are several ways in which you can tell. These include a rapid decrease in your scale weight, high hunger levels, low energy, lack of progress with your training, and not enjoying the process.
To lose fat consistently, you must be in a calorie deficit, but as your energy requirements increase over time, you must add in more food to keep that deficit moderate, fuel your day, and make great strides in a number of areas in your life.
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