Not Eating Enough - 8 Signs That Show You Are Under-eating
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Are You An Under-Eater? 8 Signs You’re Not Eating Enough

by Chris Kresser

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Could an inadequate calorie intake be the root cause of your health problems? Find out how to recognize the signs of under-eating.

In our modern society with its seemingly endless supply of fast food and junk food, it seems obvious to most why we’re dealing with an obesity epidemic. Cheap, low quality food surrounds us, and there’s not enough time in the world to exercise away all the excess calories that exist in our food supply.

However, those of us in the Paleo and ancestral health community seem to have a different problem altogether. It’s one that I’ve seen in dozens of clients, as well as most of our participants in our online adrenal fatigue program.

This problem is chronic under-eating.

Yes, I said under-eating, not overeating. While most people would find it hard to believe that many of the health problems people experience when going Paleo is from a lack of calories and appropriate macronutrients, I’ve seen it in my private practice countless times; clients who were experiencing mysterious, nagging symptoms that suddenly disappeared when we evaluated and corrected their daily food intake.

I’ve even seen clients who couldn’t lose weight that were suddenly able to after increasing their food intake. Quite the opposite of the “calories-in-calories-out” mentality!

Are you an under-eater? Learn the most common signs and symptoms of a too-low calorie intake! #Paleo

Could something as simple as under-eating be causing your health problems? Could inadequate food intake be the reason why your Paleo diet suddenly isn’t working for you anymore? Is your “rapid weight loss” diet plan the reason your jeans are getting tighter instead of looser?

Below are the top 8 signs and symptoms I see in my clients who are chronically under-eating. Read on to discover if you might simply need some more food to start feeling better today!

Your Weight Isn’t Budging

This is one of the most paradoxical symptoms of someone who is under-eating, and it often goes hand-in-hand with overtraining. You might be surprised to hear that I’ve never had a weight loss client who was actually overeating. In fact, many of my clients come to me on extremely low calorie diets (around 1000-1200 calories per day) combined with 6-7 days per week of intense exercise like Crossfit or long distance running.

For good reason, they are extremely frustrated that their weight isn’t changing; for some of these clients, their weight has actually been increasing since they dropped their food intake and started working out more. Many of these clients are also eating a very low carbohydrate diet with the goal of losing weight quickly.

We’ve been trained to believe that the body is a machine and we can input and output our calories in a way that will cause weight loss, so it’s understandable why these clients would expect to see weight loss from a significant caloric deficit like that. But the fact is, they simply can’t lose the last 15-30 pounds no matter how little they eat. Why is this?

While a slight caloric deficit can lead to sustainable weight loss (think 300-500 calories per day), much larger deficits induce changes in your body’s metabolism in order to keep your body in a homeostatic balance. Your body does not like major, drastic changes, and it will make modifications to your thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones in order to reduce your overall caloric output.

This includes reducing active thyroid hormone, shutting down sex hormone production, and raising stress hormones like cortisol. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Chronically elevated cortisol leads to both leptin and insulin resistance, a disastrous hormonal state that can keep body weight high. (6, 7)

These hormonal changes can lead to stalled weight loss and body fat retention, along with many other negative health effects that go beyond weight loss resistance. So if you’ve been eating much less and exercising much more in a futile attempt to lose weight, consider whether this strategy has been working for you.

You Can’t Get Pregnant

Scientists have known for a long time that low calorie dieting and inadequate body fat can lead to infertility and amenorrhea in women. (8) One of the most commonly seen manifestations of this problem is known as hypothalamic amenorrhea, which is hallmarked by menstrual irregularity or amenorrhea and low energy availability, with or without an eating disorder. (9) Menstrual irregularity doesn’t necessarily mean a missed period, it can simply mean a woman is having an anovulatory cycle, meaning there is no egg released during the ovulatory period.

Hypothalamic amenorrhea caused by chronic caloric deprivation is also associated with physiological changes like hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis overactivity (also known as adrenal fatigue) and disturbances in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (also known as euthyroid sick syndrome).

I’ve worked with many clients who recovered their period after returning to a normal caloric intake. I’ve even had one patient who was finally able to get pregnant when she switched to a higher calorie ancestral diet, after her doctors told her she’d always be infertile.

So if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant and you have a history of dieting and exercising for weight loss, it’s possible that your low-calorie diet is preventing you from getting pregnant.

Your Blood Sugar Is On A Roller Coaster

While many people blame excessive carbohydrate consumption for wild blood sugar swings, you might be surprised to learn that inadequate calorie consumption can cause just as many issues with blood sugar control. The most common issue that comes from chronic under-eating is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Hypoglycemia is defined as blood sugar below 70 mg/dL, though some people experience symptoms at higher blood sugar levels. Common symptoms include hunger, shakiness, anxiety, dizziness, sweating, weakness, confusion, and changes in mood.

Under-eating can easily cause hypoglycemia, especially when combined with exercise. (10) And because many people feel better eating sugary foods when they’re hypoglycemic, this can lead to the common cycle of high and low blood sugar swings that cause chronic dieters to overeat or binge on junk foods.

This is yet another reason that the most sustainable diet for weight loss provides adequate calories to keep your hormones and blood sugar even-keeled.

Your Mood Is Totally Unpredictable

Have you ever heard the term “hangry” before?

This urban slang refers to the state of anger and irritability resulting from being hungry. And even though it’s a made up term, there’s actually scientific evidence for the existence of this volatile emotional state caused by inadequate food intake. (11)

As I mentioned earlier, not eating enough food can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Since the brain requires blood sugar to function optimally, when it starts to drop, one of the first cognitive processes that suffers is self-control. (12) And your ability to exert self control allows you to control your attention, regulate your emotions, cope with stress, resist impulsivity, and refrain from aggressive behavior.

So if you’re always on a short fuse, or your mood is constantly swinging between cheerful and irritable or anxious, you should make sure that you’re not severely under-eating before making any other significant changes to your diet and supplement or medication routine.

You Can’t Fall Asleep (Or Stay Asleep)

Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are one of the top health complaints my clients come to me for help fixing. This is especially common in peri-menopausal women who seem to be especially prone to poor sleep despite generally good sleep hygiene and a health conscious lifestyle.

Oddly enough, one of the first symptoms that changes when I get my clients eating a more calorically appropriate diet is a significant improvement in sleep duration and quality. Even if they weren’t necessarily waking up hungry, many of my clients find that an increased calorie intake (especially from carbohydrates) can lead them to fall asleep faster and stop waking up at night.

One reason for this likely comes from the improved blood sugar control that arises from an appropriate calorie and carbohydrate intake. As your blood sugar drops overnight, your liver must release its stored glucose (in the form of glycogen) to keep your blood sugar steady.

If you’re constantly under-eating, and especially if you’re overexercising on top of that, your liver won’t have the glycogen stores it needs to keep your blood sugar stable, and your body must release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to promote gluconeogenesis, the process of creating new glucose. If these stress hormones elevate high enough, they can actually wake you up in the middle of the night.

Making sure you’re eating enough overall and including a carb and fat-dense bedtime snack 1-2 hours before going to sleep can help keep your blood sugar stable overnight, leading to more restful, uninterrupted sleep.

You’re Chronically Constipated

There are a few reasons why chronic under-eating can cause constipation. The most obvious is that feces is made up of waste matter from the digestion of food, so if you’re not getting enough food, your stool won’t have much bulk to it.

The less obvious, but more likely reason that under-eating can lead to constipation is due to the effects of undernutrition on thyroid hormone. As I discussed previously, under-eating causes a down regulation of T3, the active thyroid hormone. This can lead to a condition called euthyroid sick syndrome, where T3 is low, reverse T3 is high, and TSH and T4 are often normal. This means your body develops hypothyroidism symptoms without necessarily showing any change in the typical thyroid function markers that most doctors check.

Constipation is a very common symptom of hypothyroidism, as active thyroid hormone helps stimulate peristalsis in the gut, keeping digestion humming along smoothly. When T3 drops, gut motility slows, and this can lead to chronic constipation. So if you’re only having a bowel movement every couple of days, check your caloric intake and make sure you’re not under-eating.

You’re Always Cold

Caloric restriction is known to cause a drop in body temperature. (12) While some calorie-restriction proponents suggest that this is a sign of expected longevity, my clients’ (and my own) experience dictates that this is not a comfortable way to live on a daily basis. Whether or not this extends our lifespan, who wants to constantly feel frigid on a daily basis? Not me, and I’d bet not you either.

A lowered body temperature can be due to a decrease in thermogenesis, since your body needs a certain amount of ingested calories to create heat, as well as due to the hormonal changes that come from caloric restriction, such as thyroid hormone reduction and HPA axis disruption. Low insulin can also lead to low body temperature, so some people on a very low carbohydrate diet will experience this symptom as well. (13)

I may be sounding like a broken record at this point, but if you’re always cold, even in the summer time, it’s highly likely that you’re not getting enough to eat.

You’re Losing Hair By The Handful

Hair loss is one of the first signs of nutritional deficiency, whether that be calories, protein, or both. It is exacerbated by the hormonal changes that develop from chronic under-eating, including a drop in sex hormones like progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. (14, 15) Hair loss is another common symptom of hypothyroidism, which as you’ve learned can develop from long term calorie restriction.

Hair loss is one of the most rapidly improved symptoms we saw in our students in our online adrenal fatigue program, where one of the modules is focused on ensuring participants are getting adequate amounts of nutrient dense foods. Even in our test group of 30 participants, there were several people who remarked how their hair had stopped falling out within weeks of making the diet changes. (It’s incredible how quickly the body can respond when its caloric needs are finally met.)

If your hair is falling out at a scarily fast rate, you need to take a hard look at your diet. Consuming a calorically appropriate, protein-rich, nutrient-dense whole foods diet should be the first step for anyone who wants to stop hair loss in its tracks.

How Much Should You Be Eating?

Determining exactly how many calories you need to be eating on a daily basis for optimal health and weight control is tricky. Many factors come into play, including your physical activity, stress levels, sleep adequacy, history of chronic disease, and more. It’s impossible to know exactly how many calories your body needs on a daily basis, but there are some ways to estimate what you should be eating.

A quick and easy way to roughly estimate your “basement” calorie target – the lowest amount of calories you should ever be eating – is to multiply your ideal body weight by 10. A woman who is 5’ 5” has an “ideal” body weight of around 125 pounds, so she should not eat less than 1250 calories per day. Use this calculator to determine your “ideal” body weight. (Note: this calculator does not take into account frame size or muscle mass – that’s why I put “ideal” in quotes.)

It’s important to note that this quick estimate is a “sedentary” formula, meaning it does not take into account any physical activity beyond sitting and standing. If you’re exercising regularly, you’ll need to add at least 200-400 calories on top of that number. That same 5’5” woman might burn around 300 calories or more from a 30 minute run, taking her minimum calorie needs up to 1550 calories per day, assuming she doesn’t do any other exercise that day.

Different workouts will burn different amounts of calories. A Crossfit WOD can burn 12-20 calories per minute on average, so a WOD that takes 20 minutes could burn 240-400 calories. (16) If you’re aiming for a high step count, 10,000 steps burns around 300-500 calories, give or take depending on body size and gender.

These are just examples of common exercise types in the Paleo community, and the point is to be aware that if you’re a highly active individual, your calorie needs will go up by several hundred calories per day above the “10 x ideal weight” formula.

Another common factor that will raise your caloric needs if you are a breastfeeding woman. Many of my female clients are shocked to hear that breastfeeding can raise your caloric expenditure by 500 calories per day or more. (17) So breastfeeding women need at least 300 calories per day above and beyond other women who are not breastfeeding, and that’s only if they have extra weight to lose postpartum.

So what does this calorie target exercise look like in practice? Using myself as an example, my “ideal” body weight is about 140 pounds, and I usually burn around 400-500 calories via exercise per day, so I try not to eat below 1800 calories, especially on heavier training days where I may eat more like 2000-2200 total. Your mileage may vary, but it’s a pretty easy place to start from, and you can tweak up and down as necessary as your health and weight fluctuates.

As you can see, determining caloric needs can get somewhat complicated, especially with the goal of weight loss thrown into the mix. When I work with clients, my goal is to get them on the least restrictive, most calorically-appropriate diet possible. It’s amazing to see the health improvements that come from a simple increase in caloric intake when someone has been chronically under-eating.

If you need help figuring out the right calorie intake for you, let me help you to determine the best diet to keep you feeling and looking your best, without unnecessary restriction or starvation dieting. Sign up for a 1 hour comprehensive case review and we’ll get you started on a diet that’s completely tailored to your individual needs.

Remember, eating too little is just as unhealthy as eating too much. Find the right amount of food intake that works best for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with eating more if your health isn’t where you want it to be!

Now I’d like to hear from you. Did you ever experience health improvements from increasing your calorie intake? Share your story below!

About Laura: Laura uses her knowledge of traditional and biologically appropriate diets to improve her clients’ health. Growing up with a family that practices Weston A. Price principles of nutrition, she understands the foods and cooking practices that make up a nutrient dense diet.

With her strong educational background in biochemistry, clinical nutrition, and research translation, she blends current scientific evidence with traditional food practices to help her clients determine their ideal diet. You can find her at AncestralizeMe.com, on Facebook, and Twitter!

397 Comments

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  1. I have been doing the same “diet” for about 4 years now and was losing weight in the beginning then maintaining by eating “cheat foods” only on weekends. My current diet is that I eat 10-12 oz of lean protein split up throughout 5 times a day and some lowfat cheese and vegetables. I work out moderately. I feel that in the past few weeks I have been very very bloated in the thighs and stomach area and feel/look like I am gaining weight. I feel that the problem may be that I am not eating enough but don’t know how or what to add into my diet at this point. Please help!

  2. Umm 300 bucks to tell me what I should eat and how much I should eat??? Are you insane? I can go to a nutritionist locally and get the info there for 1/4 the price

  3. What a complete load of BULLSHIT. have you seen pictures of people in concentration camps? Those people were not eating enough. Shame on you for writing this crap.

    The reason your client were not loose weight is because they underestimated how many calories they ate. They all thought they ate 1200 to 1400 calories but in reality they were gorging on 2500. Read up on all the studies.

    • this is funny. you are very wrong. starving people can be scary thin, or overweight. there are many factors in play that will determine how it shakes out, but i am living proof that what he says in the article is true. verified, proven by doctors, shamed that their bias towards fat people didn’t let them see it, but now on the road to recovery. being poor and not enough food can do this to people. the body is an incredible machine. it’s whole purpose it to keep you alive, and it will do whatever it has to do to make sure it happens. it will eat your muscle to sustain you, and convert everything into fat that you intake, no matter how little, because it is in starvation mode and it thinks you are going to die. all body processes start to shut down. first, the non essential functions shut down in levels. then, the essential functions are modified and then start to shut down as well. if you do it long enough, your body adjusts to the new normal and your stomach shrinks, and your metabolism slows way down. your body gets injured more often and easier, and recovery time gets longer and longer. the hair and eyelashes falls out. the body starts to get a peach fuzz to it. digestion slows to a crawl to try and wring out every last drop of nutrient it can. the skin changes. the brain gets foggy. the endocrine system gets wonky. the heart starts to act badly. cold all the time. so. tired. all. the. time. these are just some of the things that happen. the list is long.

      the process of fixing undereating is not cool either. not cool is an understatement. its craptaculous. its as bad as the end stages of starvation and it can kill you. fat or thin. i never want to have to do that again.

      i know that it seems to be counter intuitive to everything that many in the medical field have told us for so many years, but this is much more common than one thinks. if you are blessed with everything working well and good health, be happy. i am happy for you, and i hope it continues. 🙂

      • please elaborate on this: ”the process of fixing undereating is not cool either. not cool is an understatement. its craptaculous. its as bad as the end stages of starvation and it can kill you. fat or thin. i never want to have to do that again.”

        • there is something called refeeding syndrome. most people know it from weight lifters, but for a starving person, it can be a very bad thing. if a person has been starving for long enough, there body starts to shut down processes do help the person to survive. if you give a starving person a lot of food as soon as you find them, you would think you are doing a good thing to help them. unfortunately, because the body has shut down so many things, it doesn’t know what to do with the type of food and the volume of food that you have given it, and it can throw the body into chaos. it can actually kill the person. that is the immediate threat. it happens because the body needs to pull the electrolytes from the body to help process the food. the heart needs these to keep working properly. if they are taken to process the food, the heart can stop. this happens when food is increased too quickly. the best way to combat it is to slowly increase the daily calorie load and have about a week or two in between increases for the body to adapt and get use to the new level. also to have active monitoring of electrolytes so they can be adjusted so this doesn’t happen. again, this is the immediate concern. the actual process of increasing the amount of food and the time it takes for your body to recover enough to start to heal and regenerate and know what to do with that food can take months and it is highly unpleasant.

          as i had stated before, the body has shut down and slowed body processes so as to be able to keep you alive. the digestive system slows WAY down to try and get every last bit it can out of the very little you are eating. the stomach shrinks alot since there is not a lot of food that goes has gone into it. so now the stomach cannot hold a lot of food in one sitting. it also does not empty very quickly. so if you increase the amount of food, the stomach feels so full on a very little bit and you feel like you are going to throw up because you are trying to stretch the stomach. the way to do that is to eat more in one sitting. this takes time to stretch the stomach. the other part is that since the stomach does not empty very quickly, it stays in there like a rock for a long time. you do not have the enzymes needed to digest that. you do not have the probiotics in the level needed to digest that. you do not have the amount of bile and stomach acid needed to digest that. all of those factors leads to feeling sick all the time. i felt sick 24 hours a day. i felt like i was going to throw up from being so full, and then felt like i was going to throw up because my body didn’t know what to do with the food i was eating. it took so long for my stomach to empty, and it never fully emptied before i had to eat again. i was on a schedule of about 2-3 hours and then i had to eat again. i was still full from the previous meal. many times, i might have just finished eating the previous meal, and then i had to make another meal and eat that. because the stomach has shrunk so much in size, it take a long time to finish a meal.

          the body can vacillate between constipation and diarrhea because it doesn’t know what to do with it. because it had gone on for so long with me, my body was basically like a baby digestive system. i had to reintroduce foods to it. we were throwing so many things at it so quickly that it just didn’t have time to adjust. i had to start with mashed up green beans. i ate those for a few days and let my body figure out what to do with that, and then i ate mashed up sweet potatoes for a few days and let my body figure that out, and so on and so on. that all takes time to build up.

          so, once the stomach has a go at the food, it eventually starts to empty into the small intestines and then the large intestines. the intestines are not just trucking along happily. they have also slowed way down, and food does not move at the rate it is supposed to. this leads to extreme bloating and painful gas. i looked like i was 6 months pregnant for about 4 months.

          all the while that this, and so many other things are going on, the body slowly starts pulling body processes back online. once the body trusts that the level of food you are giving it is not just a one time thing, and that this is the new normal, it begins to start up a new body function it had previously shut down. while this is a very good thing, and it is what is supposed to happen, it creates a huge power draw on the body. the bone crushing tiredness that starts almost immediately once the food increases is so strong. the body does need the sleep though, so that it can regenerate the bone and muscle and hormone systems and everything else.

          another thing that isn’t terrible, but it does make things a little unpleasant, is the weight gain. its almost like poking with a stick an animal that has been hit on the side of the road. it really isn’t that big of a deal in the big pictures, but after everything else, it is just unpleasant. yes, the idea of gaining weight when a person is already overweight it a tough thought to handle, but it DOES need to happen. it is just how the whole process works, and it does even out eventually. it is the placement of the weight gain at first that is hard as well. it all goes right to the truck. it makes your clothes not fit well, your body feels weird, and its just a bummer at first. it takes a few months for that to even out. the reason this happens is that the body is still in survival mode. its first priority is to protect the vital organs. those are all in the trunk, so it starts laying down fat around those vital organs to insulate and protect. it does eventually redistribute though.

          there are so many other things that happen during that time, both bigger and small, that if they were to happen just the one thing by itself, it would be one thing to deal with. they are all happening at the same time though and it all comes together for the craptaculous experience that it is.

          i hope this helps someone that may be going through this. i can say that if you stick with it, it DOES get better. it does not happen right away though. you have to keep going and look at the big picture. i knew what was going to happen going in, and it was still awful. but….the alternative was worse. i would be dead had we not figured out the problem and started fixing it. i am 1 year into a minimum 2 year process, with it very well being a 3 year process. it is worth it though. i have gained 20 lbs. again i knew it was going to happen, but it isn’t nice to see that scale going up when you are already overweight. just suck it up, take a deep breath and know that it has to be for a time, and that it will bet better. that 20 lbs? it is bone and muscle. i look better now than i did 4 years ago, and 4 years ago, i weighed almost 35 lbs less than i do right now. i went to the dentist recently. for years, no one could figure out why my teeth kept getting cavities. they said, “we can tell you take good care of your teeth”. yet, nobody could say why i had cavities. once we figured out i was starving, and severely under nourished, it all made sense. at the dentist, he said he could see where there were some cavities that had started, but they stopped and were repairing. he said that can happen from poor diet that is resolved. i told him what had been going on, and he said that was what had happened. another plus! my teeth are getting better! my hair is growing again! these are all great things, but the time and process it took to get here has been long and hard. it IS worth it though, so keep on going! shut out what others say. just keep going

          • thank you very much for ur response,

            I am a 29 year old professional-track and field athlete and I under ate for the last 12 months for sure(probably I under ate all my life unintentionally, probably vaccines/antibiotics in early childhood destroyed my GI tract and the body did not crave calories/food as a consequence),

            I would workout 3- 5 hours per day, 6days/week, with extreme intensity… I am now almost on my death bed. My heart beats so WEAKLY, i cant lift a cup of water without giving out my breath or having stabbing pain in my heart… I am wasting away(losing muscles mass, bone mass), my vision gets blurred… all of this started 4 months ago after my grandma passed away.. I was in incredible shape, strong, fast, explosive, very muscular and lean… now i am a semi vegetable…

            I also experimented for two months with zero salt in my diet… that too was a huge mistake as well!!!..

            what foods you ate/eat through this year?

            did you take any special steps to heal your GI tract FIRST?

            did you take HCL capsules to help the stomach brake down food and thus heal quicker/faster? did u eat beef liver for its nutrients?

            do u have a facebook page or email where we could chat about this … or is there a facebook support group?

            • oh, honey….that sounds very familiar. i BEG YOU, please get a dr’s help! you cannot do this alone. i should have been in the hospital. your heart acting that way is very alarming. the things where the electrolytes get out of whack and your heart goes nuts? that happened three times to me. please do not try this by yourself. please go to the doctor and explain to them what is going on and tell them you need help right now. please don’t ever do the zero salt diet ever again. anyone! the body needs salt. it needs more than you think. zero salt will make your heart go crazy too.

              to answer at least the supplements questions: yes, i had to take so many supplements and digestive aids and probiotics. i still do. i don’t take quite as many as i did when i started, but i do still take a good amount. the body just ……..needs. it needs so much at first. the body will heal itself, but it will take time.

              joel, i have been where you are. i used to be very muscular, very active, go go go and never stop. i lost so much muscle it was scary. when i started fixing this, i could barely lift 8 lbs. i cried. i am not a person that cries easily, especially around other people. but i cried right there in the gym because i had lost so much muscle. i was going down the tubes, and going fast. just getting up from a chair to go walk to the bathroom would make me winded. i really do know what you are going through. i will make the plea once again: please call a doctor or even an eating disorder clinic. you may not have an eating disorder, but they can direct you to someone that can help you right now that can help you fix this. you are too far into this for you to do this by yourself, and i fear that to try by yourself may kill you. i wish i could pick you up and drive you to someplace and stay with you until we got you good help.

              i am so sorry, but i don’t do social media. i don’t have facebook or anything. i’m not even sure what the rules are here about giving an email, so i won’t do that. i will answer any questions i can here though, but i will keep bugging you to get medical help though LOL. it is done out of love and concern and because i know what this is and that you need it.

              • as a follow up, i wanted to say one thing. please do not restrict anything in the diet when you begin the healing process, joel. don’t follow a trendy diet. don’t do any diet really. just eat. your body will need everything. micronutrients, macronrients, water, everything. i am not saying that certain diets are not good. how i think a person should eat is that they should eat real food, and beyond that, it depends much on their body type. some people can eat lots of carbs and they need that others cannot and they need more of something else. you figure that all out once you are recovered. but right now and while you are recovering, don’t follow a weight lifters diet or any other diet. your body’s requirements RIGHT NOW are very different than someone else because you are going to be healing and regenerating. don’t eat crap. that is my only thing i will say hahaha. eat real food. make sure there is food in your food. i have no idea what your eating habits are normally. i always ate very healthy, just no where near enough. i didn’t have to break any sugar habits or junk food habits, so in that regard, a big part of my battle was already won. i didn’t have to retrain my brain to not want junk. if that is an issue for you, then you will have to address that. but don’t do anything that is restricting real food because at this point, your body needs everything and a lot of it.

                a good place to find help may be the Weston A. Price foundation. they have so much info on so many things, and they have doctors as well. if you look for a chapter in your state, they can help at least direct you to someone that can help. in my state, they have been nothing but fantastic. i have even called other states with questions many times and everyone is just ready to help in any way they can.

                NEDA (national eating disorder association) can direct you to in patient and outpatient services in your state too.

                https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment/treatment-and-support-groups

                you said you are a professional athlete, and your training is intense as i can see. that means you know how to keep going even when you think you can’t any more. that is good. there were a few times i wanted to give up it was so bad, but i knew what the alternative was, and that was unacceptable. i had one person tell me that they knew i wanted to quit, but they said, “i know you, and you will never give up. ever. you might want to right now, and i understand that. this is so hard, but i know you will never give up.”

                it sounds like you have that same drive. hold on to that and just keep going. you CAN do this. find something that keeps you going and hold onto that.

                • Hi, I went to the GP(family doctor) 2 months ago and said its all in my head, im perfectly healthy, LMFAO, and sent me to anxiety/depression counseling.

                  My diet was: meat, raw dairy, raw milk, whole grain pasta, sweet potato, eggs, oats, cream, honey, bee pollen, butter, coconuts, water, legumes, beans, veggies, fruits… pretty simple and whole foods ONLY(plus some aminoacid supplements for recovery)…

                  yes I was 4th best athlete in the decathlon in my country at the national finals… i was only 8th place this summer at the finals, my health already began braking down I just did not realized it back then…

            • Joel,

              I’m sorry to hear of your health woes – my heart goes out to you, as well as prayers, blessings and healing energy. One of the mantras that has helped immensely in my life with the challenges I have gone through is not to see things as good or bad, but simply to keep asking over and over: “What is this teaching me?” and/or “What do I have to learn from this?” Sometimes, it’s even someone else’s lesson as well. All Life is learning – neither good nor bad. We are the ones who define meaning and reason.

              With that said, if you can, seek out a Functional Medicine Specialist – preferably one who has also been trained/has background in Western/conventional medicine/MD, which is a bonus and the best of both worlds.

              https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/

              http://drhyman.com/about-2/about-functional-medicine/%20%20%20

              Or at least looking into some of these top experts/resources:

              https://draxe.com/top-50-functional-integrative-medical-doctors/

              I hope things turn around for you – I’ve been to hell and back a few times in Life with my health…

              Many Blessings,
              Much Gratitude,
              Abundant Love…

      • I was on an anti-psychotic medication for 5 years and gained 70 pound and was back to the normal weight in approximately 9 months and got worried about gaining it back, long story short I was not eating enough and began eating a lot more food and didn’t gain weight and felt much better. It was a few years ago and I started doing it again. I am always hungry way before dinner so I’m going to try and fix my problem again tomorrow. Anyone else out there with the same problem. It is worth it even if you do gain some wait. Peace.

  4. Hi, I need some advice. I recently moved to a 3rd world country. Prior to moving, everyone was worried I was going to lose too much weight from not having enough to eat. Yes, food is hard to find, but I am putting weight on, not losing it.
    I am 5′ 8 and currently 180. When I moved here 7 months ago I weighed 170.
    I am thinking of adding a running plan into my daily routine, as I am a former marathon runner and I miss running terribly, however I am afraid I will gain more weight and not lose it.
    I am not sure of my daily calorie intake, but it is not nearly what it should be. I eat a lot of fresh fruit, some chicken and oatmeal. Milk and yogurt are maybe once a week.
    Can you help me with food suggestions and with daily calorie intake advice?
    Thanks!

    • It sounds like you are suffering from malnutrition, due to a lack of caloric intake. Rest is key… I would avoid adding unecessry excercize in as it sounds like your body is burning more than you are taking in already. Still knowing calorie intake would be helpful… it’s not hard to get on a basic calorie counter if you have Internet and find out how much you are eating… good luck and God bless

  5. reading about how hormone ghrelin makes you want to eat more and less sleep makes you ravenous. well I’m debunking that theory. since i cut sugar and eating less i am sleeping less, averaging 41/2 to 6 hrs. nightly, i could care less about food and this is week 3. so all the studies i just read about, went right out the window. i must be the exception. oh, i lost weight.

  6. I’m 5’6″ and I’ve been on a very restrictive diet where my eating fluctuates. The last week’s calories have been 0, 803, 421, 139, 69, 5. It’s not the healthiest but I’ve been doing it for a couple months and losing weight for sure. I’ve lost almost 30 pounds. But I do go through dizzy spells and nausea some days and I know it’s weakening my heart so wouldn’t recommend it to anybody else.

  7. I’m 5’1 I want to say right now I am maybe 98 -100 pounds. my whole life I been underweight no matter how much I eat. I had a baby two years ago and gained 60 pounds. that was the only time I ever gained weight. 2 weeks after haging my baby I went right back to my underweight self. I hate my body everyone always Tells me to eat and I do. but recently haven’t had an appetite because I feel like no matter if I eat or not I never gain weight. i dont k ow what to do to help me gain weight. I’m depressed from everyone telling me to eat more eat more my whole life. help.

    • If you are willing to do what it takes to put on weight then you need to eat higher protein example if you weigh 100 pounds then eat 100grams of protein this will help u gain an easily put on more weight next you need to start implementing weight lifting into your weekly routine as a women you don’t want to be super muscular I totally understand that so I would recommend lifting weights 2-3 times a week such as squats an a little of upper body workouts don’t worry lifting wieght doesn’t mean you are going to look like a gross bodybuilder start researching workouts to build muscle as a woman an learn how to approach it an through healther eating and higher calorie meals an muscle building exercises you will start to gain wieght in a matter of weeks. Forgot to add eat at least 13-14 calories per pound of wieght example if you wieght 100 pounds your daily calorie intake will add up to be 1300-1400 calories a day I know this might be a stretch for you but keep it up an you will gind great improvement in just a few weeks p.s don’t be afraid to eat high carbs they will help build an maintained muscle an energy. Hope that helps hope you begin to feeel better about your self.

  8. Hey,
    So I’m 5’1 and weigh 176lbs. I’ve been eating 1,300 cals a day for 9 weeks now and doing crossfit 4x a week, and some extra cardio like running and yoga 3x a week. My weight has been fluctuating between 5lbs, but I haven’t been able to lose anything and I feel as though I should have. Could this be from not eating enough? I usually only eat 50 g’s of carbs, 130 g’s of protein and 50 g’s of fat, and I’m still not seeing results. I feel like the calculations for what I should he eating (around 16,000) are way to high, and in nervous I’m just going to put on more weight by switching how much I’m eating. Anyone have any suggestions?

    • To make fat loss gain, Investigate 16:8 Intermediate fasting. Search it on reddit, or leangains.com. Basically, you eat your 1300 calories between 10am-6pm only. It resets your insulin hormone and helps weight loss a lot! You may need to back off crossfit to cut. Then you can add one or 2 carbs per week into your macros without gaining because at this rate, you risk burn out of your metabolism. Check into reverse dieting for more info on that.

  9. Great article!!! I am a 220 pound male and I was undereating in an attempt to lose the last few pounds I needed to lose. I was doing the keto diet and eating around 1800 calories a day and working out six days a week with no results. Increased my caloric intake to 2600 calories a day and added a few carbs and started losing fat and adding muscle immediately.

  10. Hi,

    I am a 24 year old female and I weigh 118 pounds, I have been stuck at this weight for a while and I have tried eating higher calorie in the past and havent seen results and I am unsure of what is the right approach for me or how much I should be eating. I exercise around 4/5 days per week doing a mixture of hitt cardio and bootcamp style classes using free weights.

  11. Me 49yr Male,6ft big frame Mar30/17, I quit drinking, started cardio (was drinking 1-1/2 liters of 14% red wine, daily for about 10yrs! A 4L box every 3-4days) went cold turkey, I started to drop weight fast 260lbs mar 30 to 220 in Apr30, 40lbs! But I had severe night sweats, soaking the sheets, no appetite low hunger. I take 2mulit vitamins, vege-green drink, anyway, I feel great, now run 5-6 miles each morning, weights every second day, I eat 1egg for B-fast 2-3 black coffees lots of water and my Vege-green drink, lunch is chicken salad. Or ceaser salads, pizza or pasta, and veggies, supper half a chicken or whatever,

    Anyway I never feel hungry anymore, but still eat, I think I’m around the 1500-2000 calories, maybe less, anyway I’ve kinda platoed at 220-215 which I’m good with that, but I have been getting severe pain in my muscles that feels like a strong burning sensation started in my left calf, getting in my truck, week later that went away, then in my wrist, then it went away, now in both my shoulders during rotation or routine movements like drying off with a towel, this has also come with localized numbness on both sides behind my arms and including my shoulders, any ideas what is causing this, or what to do about it?

  12. I’m a 32 year old 5’3″ female who weighs 125-130 and has a muscular build. I feel like I have a lot of trouble eating enough calories – I feel and sleep best when I eat around 2000 calories per day, but I find it very difficult to get that many calories…I feel like the volume of food is so much! I get full from the volume and then I feel like I’m force-feeding myself to get the rest of the calories I need. I work out with weights/walking/hiking/yoga/pilates for at least 30 minutes 5-7 days per week. Any less calories than 2000 and I am waking during the night starving, and I struggle with hypoglycemia and blood sugar swings on those days as well. Any suggestions?

  13. Hello,

    My wife I feel has an eating disorder. If she eats she hides eating. We have children and they say that they never see there mother eat. We have had some issues of the course of 3 months and her eating has gotten worse. She was about 5’6 and about 160 pounds. In the course of 3 months she lost over 50 I would say. Skin and bones? Thoughts?

  14. Hi, please help!! I’ve been wanting to lose weight I’m 155lbs, 19 years, and 5’4. I’ve been lifting weights 3x a week and cardio 4x a week for 60 mins each. It’s been 4 weeks and I still haven’t lost any weight. After reading this article I think I’m undereating cuz my calories were around 1000-1200 each day so maybe that’s it? So now do I just increase my calorie intake with healthy foods and keep exercising?? Also how much should I start taking

    • That’s way too low for all the activity you’re doing. That’s even lower than your basal metabolic rate (BMR), you definitely are starving your body and putting it into a catabolic state.

      At 155, your BMR is probably around 1500 calories but it might be higher than that because you lift weights and weight lifting increases muscle mass and your metabolism a little bit.

      You’re also young and younger people’s metabolism is usually higher too.

      You definitely need to eat more than your BMR which is 1500. You probably need to eat between 1800-2400 calories.

      Up your calories slowly! Don’t jump from 1200 to 1800 in one day. This will shock your body and you’ll end up gaining weight. Go from 1200 to 1400 a day for one week and then from 1400 to 1600 the second week; increase your calories in incremental stages.

      Be sure to include quality protein, gluten-free carbs, complex carbs, fiber and healthy fats.

  15. Hi. I need advice.
    I’m very new to changing my lifestyle.
    And I’m very lazy and sedentary.
    I am a stay at home mom to an infant who doesn’t run around. So I can pretty much sit all day.
    I am 24 year old female.
    I am 5’3″.
    I weigh 200 lbs ??
    I am trying to eat 2 salads a day
    – one is a tuna salad.
    – one is a chicken salad.
    Then I eat a high fiber, high protein cereal.
    I eat snacks like: halo top ice cream, rice cakes, of course fruits like watermelon, bananas, apples, and pineapple.
    I almost ALWAYS drink water only.
    But like I said. I’m very sedentary.
    How many calories should I eat to lose 60 ish pounds by the end of this year.
    Is my diet ok?

  16. I have several symptoms, except “You Can’t Fall Asleep (Or Stay Asleep)” and “You’re Always Cold”. I’m easy to sleep and always feel hotter than others. But I think I should pay more attention to my meals because of other signs is exactly what I have 🙁 Thank you for the post.

  17. Hi! I’m a 15 year old girl and I need help to understand my body. I’m 5″4 and about 130 pounds with quite an athletic/heavy built. I’ve been insecure about my weight for several years since I started ‘getting curves’ as a teenager, and for the last year I’ve been starving myself on and off but only losing a bit of fat and muscle mass. I’ve only now started to try and get healthier, and though calorie calculators say I should be eating around 2200 calories a day to keep my weight and at least 1200 to function, I never really eat more than 1000 a day. The thing is, I never think I have? I’m not a big eater and yet I have a lot of trouble with getting slimmer. Do I need to eat more?

    • Yes you do. Your body needs fuel. If it doesnt have enough fuel your body goes into starvation mode and you metabolism slows down a lot. Not getting enough can also lead to health problems including hair loss. Im dealing with this right now with my daughter. As a mother, please eat more… i would go to no less then 1500 cal. Use a calorie tracker on your phone or computer if you need to. Talk to your parents and see if their health insurance will cover a nutritionist, they are very helpful with food and weight loss.

  18. Me personally I am always at work, so a lot of times I either forget to eat or not have time to and if I go a certain amount of time with not eating I don’t get hungry at all. And most days I can’t remember to save my life if I ate or not. My lately my stomach has been killing me but I don’t feel hungry, I actually feel like I ate something bad which also makes me not want to eat. All I’ve been doing is puking and having diarrhea which makes me feel even more sick and fatigue… so what is wrong with me? Why am I feeling this way??

    • That does not sound good at all. Quite possibly you have heliobactor or small intestine bacteria overload (SIBO), and it would be the best thing to do is to go to the dr and get a breath test to start off with. Please try and do that asap. I had that bug in my tum for 18 years and often could not eat much and often did not feel well after eating, and often had the runs or constipation. After a new dr realised I may have heliobactor, she did that breath test on me and sure enough, I had it and it affects everything in your body as it eats away at the food nutrients, leaving you with nothing even though you ate! The dr put me on intensive antibiotics and wham! I was better a week later. I drink 2 teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar mixed with a tiny bit of water daily to keep the bug at bay in case it ever returns (can return especially if you eat salads in restaurants, often people don’t wash their hands properly after having a poo!) When you have the antibiotics, I stress it’s very important you have probiotics (veg tablets are best, no lactose in them, get them at chemists or have yoghurt) have this probiotics daily a few hours after one of your antibiotics doses. Other things to check out, your diet and thyroid. I hope you will do these things as what is happening to you sounds awful, be kind to yourself and your body. And eat regularly! Breaky (can be banana, muslie etc), lunch and dinner. That ll all get easier once you see the dr and get to the root of the problem. Likely it is SIBO.

      • p.s. I forgot to add. I drink that apple cider vinegar daily after I finished the antibiotics which I must mention only took a week to finish the whole course.

  19. I have all the symptoms listed above in varying degrees. I am also on One meal a day plan – IF, after having lost nearly 90lb via low carb, then long term fasting (anywhere from 5-20 days). I have the last few handfuls of grabbable fat I want to lose. What would be the best way to go about it ? Thanks so much for posting this information. I am going to get a fitbit now and keep the calorie intake ~3-400 under that. I am staying on the 1 meal a day for a while I think.

    • Your metabolism is . . . probably really struggling. Weight loss isn’t as important as health. Once you’ve started losing hair, assuming that there aren’t other reasons for it, you should probably think about what you’re doing to yourself.

  20. I eat once or twice a day but the only thing on the list I’ve experienced is constantly being cold. It is also uncomfortable to eat more than a few bites of food at a time, but I don’t have the time to space my meals out across the day, and I’m not sure what to do.

    • I have the same problem which makes it difficult to eat enough at times. I started intermittent fasting (the 8 hour eating window per day version) and I eat a meal at the start of the window, a meal at the end, and lots of snacks in between. You can move the window around to the best time for you to be able to eat. I find it fits in well in my work schedule and I am usually able to get a good calorie quantity without stuffing myself by spacing the snacks/meals out every two to three hours. It sounds like you are already basically doing this but maybe doing it deliberately will help. It’s definitely helped me to put it on an actual schedule.

  21. There is a very not very accurate information in this article. As many on Paleo do not count calories, and only count carbs. Not their healthy calorie intake. I think information needs to be accurate if you are going to be putting it out here.

    • Except literally the point is that people are focusing too much on counting carbs and are neglecting their caloric intake, which winds up being incredibly low. The entire article was a reminder to take a more rounded account of your eating habits and make adjustments if you’re noticing many of these symptoms in your daily life.

    • This is exactly the type of unhealthy perspective that leads people to get in this situation. “I’m eating paleo! I don’t have to count calories!”

      Wrong.

      Two people eating paleo may have vastly different daily calorie counts depending on the types of food they enjoy. Some people do very well not counting calories by sheer luck–they are fortunate enough to like the right things in the right amounts.

      However, at the end of the day, weightloss and weight maintenance is CICO (calories-in-calories-out). If you take in too few calories on a regular basis (which is super easy to do on paleo), you will have problems. I was actually chronically exhausted after switching to paleo for this very reason.

  22. I think this article just helped me on the road to fixing my problem, possibly! Can you tell me if this might be true? I’m 5’0 and 163 pounds…chest is 33″, waist is 30″, hips 45″ currently. According to BMI, I am obese and my healthy weight range should be between 94 – 128 lbs. That is impossible for my hourglass body shape. I am a previous gymnast/competitive cheer, I’m used to HIIT training and P90X intense workouts after having 3 kids now.

    Here’s my problem…I got pregnant with 3rd child and stopped exercising. I got back into exercising in July 2016 doing a local boot camp that focuses on weight training and light cardio. I do this 3-4x per week. I lost 10 pounds and 15 inches by November (4 months later). Ever since November, (now February 2017), I have hit a plateau…and even gained 5 pounds but no gain in body fat %. I have been eating between 1200 – 1700 calories per day, depending on workout days.

    Could I be under eating? I’m stressed, fatigue, mood swings, have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, when I get done working out I am FREEZING and stay cold throughout the day. I meal prep, eat high protein and carbs, eat 4-5 meals per day. Why am I gaining weight?? Heeeeelp!

  23. Hello there
    I’m almost 19, and I’m 5’10”. I used to weigh 130 back in at the new year. I made a news year resolution to GAIN weight. I work out for at least an hour daily. Twice a week I have a total body conditioning class for two hours. I weight myself every three or four days at the same time. Now I am 124lbs. On top of my now being very underweight, I have completely lost my appetite. I get hungry around 2pm then I forget I’m hungry and don’t eat it until after I work out (after 8pm) If I force myself to eat a regular sized meal, I feel incredibly nauseous. I’m also anemic and take iron supplements. I’m worried about my health. Falling asleep and staying asleep is hard for me now too. My stomach has been burning really badly recently. What did I do to myself and how can I fix it before I really hurt myself. I’ve talked to physical therapists, they say to eat something small in the morning to jump start my metabolism, tried that for two weeks and I’m still losing weight. Advice???

    • Are you stressed out? A lot of people gain weight, but some lose weight and appetite. Long periods of not eating can cause nausea when you do eat for some.
      Another possibility is food allergies or intolerance. If it’s possible for you, I would see your doctor. Make sure there isn’t a medical issue. Chances are there isn’t but better safe than sorry. Then don’t worry so much. You’re still growing at age 19. Your weight will still fluctuate due to that. As a teenager I couldn’t seem to eat enough to stay at a healthy weight, but overall I was healthy. By age 20-21 It became easier.

  24. I lose weight every Christmas because I eat a balanced diet with vitamins and everything. The rest of the year I struggle to get a meal a day. I’d say I binge a lot too. And if I’m emotional food is either the answer and I eat too much or I completely lose my appetite. For example this week something happened on Tuesday and until tonight I’d not eaten anything since except one bowl of soap. It’s not that I didn’t want to eat. I did. But I couldn’t.

    • Well, only eating a bowl of soap in one day is probably toxic, I reccommend eating bowls of soup instead of bowls of soap.

  25. Hi!

    I am a 22 year old female and I have trouble with eating enough. I am 5.4 ft (165 cm), weigh 125.7 pounds (57 kg) and have an athletic build. I eat healthy/balanced and excercise around 3-5 times a week. I do have a gluten allergy so I try to compensate this with oatmeal(bread). On most days my calorie intake lies around 800-1000 and if I try really hard I can manage 1300 calories. This isn’t nearly enough and I get a lot of comments from friends and family about it. It’s just that sometimes I forget to eat because I’m not hungry or really busy.

    I take organic whey protein shakes on the days I train to help with muscle recovery and I take a lot of supplements. The only signs from your article that I experience are: sleeping problems and frequent coldness.

    I don’t know if my eating pattern is really unhealthy or if it is fine for my body because most of the time after eating i’m full and can’t eat more at that moment. How can I increase my calorie intake?

    I really hope you can help me. 🙂

    Gillian

    • If your body fat percentage is very low (under 15% or so), that is not healthy. A lot of people with gluten allergy have trouble with oatmeal, but maybe not. It’s also possible to have imbalanced hormones that keep your body in a catabolic state.

      Some of us who are underweight need to eat more frequently, and maybe use digestive enzyme supplements, HCl, or bitters.

  26. Hi Chris,
    As soon as I turned 60 this year, I started to fall apart. I am a very active woman of 4’11” and 140. Trying to lose weight but can’t for past 3-4 years. I have a big belly, front of the left face ( like TMJ) and back of the neck pain. Feet and hamstrings cramp. As soon as I eat carbs, I bloat, and if I don’t eat I shake. Just got one reading of high TSH and low fT4. Please help.

  27. Help me, please! I am a female and I am nearly 16 and my family doesn’t think I am eating enough. I weigh about 240 pounds and am 5’2. (I know I am severely over weight.) I eat one or two meals a day and drink lots of water. I am estimating that I eat 800-1000 cal. I want to lose weight so much. I am bulimic if that helps any.

    • It will help if you learn to trust your body. By contrast 800-1000 is such a low calorie diet that your body will not trust you because you are actually starving it. That only leads to one thing: bingeing. Think of your body in its most basic animal form – if you starve it, it will fight back by forcing you to binge (which in your case, leads back to your Bulimia). If you eat a bit more (at a minimum 30% more), your body will allow the weight to come off without triggering binges. Try to think of nourishing your body, not punishing it and the weight will seriously start to come off.

  28. Hi! I’m 15 going on 16 and I have been trying to cut down my diet to lose some weight that I gained while staying with my grandparents so I’ve slowly cut down to eating half the amount I normally eat. This used to work very well for me when I wanted to lose weight and I’d be able to still feel full after a week or so when my body gets used to the decreased serving size again. It’s been at least 3 months since I started doing this again and I no longer feel full…ever! I’m even snacking more than before to keep my metabolism high but I still never feel full! What is wrong with me? Could it be because school has been getting harder and I get more stressed and less sleep (about 3-4 hours every school night)? And also, I’ve actually been gaining weight. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! Please help. Thanks.

    • Hey… im a 17 year old girl turning 18 on April 2017. well i weigh 123lb and im 5ft. I’ve been eating normal since 2014, and walked about 7 thousand steps to school and weighed 110. it’s seems like I’ve been gaining weight and started feeling guilty when I eat. in September 2016 I decided to eat 800-1000 calories meal per day to go back to 110lb. for the first month I lost about 6,6lb and paused the diet for a month, the following month i continued and gained it all back, yet I still walk to school sometimes , continues with my 1000 calorie diet and give my self 2 cheat days , there is no change in my weight. And have tried the military diet, veg diet and the low carb diet and I am strictly hard on my self, I drink lots of water & eat healthy. help im confused. thank you.

  29. This was really helpful! Unluckily for me I discovered this page too little too late. I started a low-calorie diet a month ago, getting even less than 900 calories a day. I managed to lose 5kg a month, but my metabolism has really slowed down, I’m losing muscle mass, and don’t know what to do. I’m so worried! What can I do to help get my metabolism on point again by eating 1200 without giving my body a shock? Thank you in advance!

  30. I am very thankful to have found this article. It sounds like it was written about me, as I have nearly all of the listed symptoms and I definitely under eat. I am 57 year old 5’11” 155 pound man and most days my caloric intake is around 800- 1000 calories a day and I am suffering greatly. I am a retired Police officer and have been under severe stress for many years since a severe on duty injury and 33 surgeries. I feel bad all the time and try to work out but can no longer exercise due to fatigue. This explains a lot. My daughter is Autistic and is constantly telling me that I don’t eat enough. She is very smart and I guess I should listen to her more often. I am usually not that hungry until I start to eat then I realize how hungry I actually am. ( I hope that makes sense)
    I am hopeful I can turn my health around after reading this. Thank you………

  31. Hi, back in February I started a low calorie diet. By April I lost 30lbs, in May I quit my low cal diet. I ended up going from 220-225 down to 185. By the end May I started noticing I couldn’t sleep. I had acne bad and I suddenly noticed losing hair. Shedding throughout my entire head. Over the next few months I noticed extreme fatigue and brutal headaches. Constant body aches. My back and neck pain became severe. I’ve had so many blood tests the last few months I’ve loss track. I’ve had tests showing slight thyroid problems. Low testosterone, Low LH and FSH. Low Vitamin D. I’ve had Ultrasounds showing some swelling of the Thyroid. My MRI on my head came back normal. I’ve been told I’ve had Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid cancer, pituitary tumor and Hypogonadism. A Derm told me my hair loss was early male pattern. No one in my family had ever been bald. My hair has just thinned out throughout. I was also told I probably couldn’t have children and that I need to go on Testosterone replacement. PLEASE help me. I can’t do this any longer. I’m 26 and feel like everything’s falling apart. Doctors are just throwing me around. I’m starting to get energy back. I feel like my T is going back up. My hair loss is still happening but has slowed some. My headaches still happen just not as often. I feel like I’m getting close but need Help! I don’t want anything to do with hormone replacement. I think this was all caused from my diet. Sorry for this being so long. Thanks

    • Start consuming raw egg yolks and sardines. You will be shocked at how much better you feel. These items are vital for healthy testosterone and hair growth.

  32. Hello, I’m a 15 year old male and i weigh 43kg. My height is about 168cm. I want to gain weight but it’s really hard. I just have no appetite and sometimes(after training or before eating) I feel nauseaous. I’m training about 4 times per week. From my calculations I eat about 1600kcal per day. Is there anything I can do to be able to eat more? Also I need to add that even though I’m really lightweight I’ve got some muscles, but nearly 0 fat.

    • If you have a hard time eating or don’t have much of an appetite, you’re nausea after working out is probably caused by your body’s lack of ability to sustain itself through your workout because it has no calories to burn, that by the end of your workout, your body is so exhausted that it feels physically sick- you are breaking down your body faster than it can repair itself and are asking it to exert too much energy without filling it with the energy it needs to sustain you. My tip would be to force yourself to eat even when you don’t feel like it, and work on eating recovery food after your workouts to help your body recover from all you did to break it down during your workout. Eat calorie dense foods, and pay attention to the last time you ate by the time- eat by time rather than whether or not your body feels hungry. Good luck!

    • One really easy solution is to just pick up a gainer (e.g. Mutant Mass, I personally like that one) and drink some of that as soon as you start feeling nauseous at the gym. Also, you should eat something about 1-2 hours before going to the gym to make sure you don’t run out of energy while you’re there. Worst feeling ever to just be exhausted at the gym when you know you could do better.

  33. This probably explains why I can’t get pregnant or lose weight. Thank you so much for this article, hopefully this works.

  34. I think this explains what i’ve been feeling just in the last few days. i tried moderately- about 7 hours per week, hard long workouts M,W, F cardio, weights and swimming.

    the other night i ate an early dinner and around 11 or so i felt way way off. hard to describe it, it was like everything in my body had to work harder just to operate.

    this morning had that same feeling, just whole body felt wrong. well i ate an earlier lunch (had only 1 small meal between about 7pm last night and 3pm today) and felt a TON better.

    i didn’t think i was eating too little but i have a feeling that must be it. been seeing fantastic progress at the gym (i also quit sugar 5 weeks ago). but i don’t want to sabotage it. gotta eat more i’m thinking.

  35. I’m new here, and looking for help. I’m a big girl, 48 y/o, 5’8″, ~340 lbs, recovering from angioplasty, etc. All has been fine for the past 9 months, but not I’ve totally lost my appetite and have zero energy. I have lost all desire to eat, and have cut back significantly on eating.
    As an example, since last Friday (exactly 1 week) I’ve eaten approx 1/2 a McDonalds side salad and half a tuna sandwich. (approx 500 calories a week) The only thing I drink is water.

    Does anyone know what I can do to overcome this lack of appetite? Please help!

  36. Struggling to hit my macros and calories 34 fem I train mma 5 days a week I have more than 50 lbs to lose I have lost 40 since I started over an 8 month time span without tracking calories and macros just by eating clean. Now that I am watching them I see that I often don’t meet even the 1200 calorie mark. My question is if I’m not feeling weak or hungry or noticing any issues should I be concerned I am still seeing progress maybe not always on the scale but definitely with the tape and with strength and agility … I do intend to work on increasing my calorie count but I don’t want to stress over having to hit a certain number every day if I’m full I want to stop eating

      • No answer but since I posed the question I have added strictly strength training 2 days a week and shifted macros to 50%protein 20%carb and 30%fats I still miss on days where I’m only training mma as I have noticed it is intense but it’s more methodical but on days I strength train I have no problems hitting my macros and will increase my carbs for those days I need the fuel to get the intensity of the workout done. With the change up I have dropped 15 lbs since my previous post. Hope this might help you

      • Hi I recently like five days ago stopped eating meat and sugar due to my health it was my choice I lost 15 pounds in 16 days I eat cottage cheese beans and baby food and peanut butter and jelly whole wheat sandwiches and drink lots of water my doctor told me my Ac1 was high it’s supposed to be 6.6 but it’s 7.5 ? I was also told I h high blood pressure. Ugh so I did what I thought was right by cutting carbs

        • Your A1C result takes about 2-3 months to change. So changing your diet will not effect your A1C quickly. Your daily blood sugars will change immediately however based on diet changes.

          6.6 and 7.5 are both high A1C’s. I would aim to get it at or below 6.0 gradually so your body can adjust.

          Crazy dieting is not good. Stick to a sensible plan and if you’re taking any sort of diabetes medications oral or injected, try to keep your meal timing and food amounts more or less the same each day.

          Managing blood sugars and diabetes is all about consistency. Once you put a general plan together all your numbers including A1C and daily blood sugars will fall into better and more predictable levels.

  37. Hi. I really enjoyed reading your article. I have now adjusted my diet up on the calorie count to match the guidelines. However as I increase the calories my weight increased. How does one go about making sure to eat the right amount of calories without gaining weight. I was eating around 1100 calories and now up to 1400 calories and more if I do a workout.

  38. I am 23 years old and I weigh 180. I really want to lose weight but I have fibromyalgia and get tired easily so I don’t cook as often as I should. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Jasmine,
      I know it’s very hard having fibromyalgia,as my mother has it.
      I would suggest when you are feeling yourself cooking a large amount of healthy meals and freezing in Tupperware so Evan when you havnt got much energy so know you have healthy,nutritious meals in the freezer which just need to be thawed and re-heated.

      • I used to be so tired and hungry, I could hardly cook, I have Fibro too. As you gradually cut down on sugar and grains, and even fruit, and add more fats and perhaps more protein, you may not be as tired and hungry. You can wait until some thing is cooked, and lose weight as you do this. Some thing that is simple, is to put a piece of meat, in a baking dish in the oven, cook until nearly done, and throw some broccoli, or some such into the dish and then cook until done. Adding salt and spices, and maybe more fat to cook it. I cook chicken and other meat ahead as well, as most are good cold. I found some marinated jars of asparagus at Sam’s Club that make a quick meal.

    • I would suggest when you get the energy to make food that you make easy to make meals ahead of time. Example: Put frozen fruit or protein powder, spinach, ect. in a plastic cup and out in freezer so you can throw it in a blender, add juice or milk and you have a snack! Or, you can make large dishes such as lasagna, caseroles, ect. and put them into plastic bags with individual serving sizes and freeze them, so you just have to put them in the microwave for a couple minutes and you have a meal! Hope it helps

  39. This article is super helpful and I can relate to a lot of the symptoms listed. I’m considering this being a cause of my recent weight gain. I initially got into weight training last spring and didn’t track what I ate, but ate whenever I felt hungry and made sure it was all healthy, good food, with the exception of my allowed one cheat meal a week. I worked out 5 times a day doing an hour of weight training with 20 minutes of cardio at the end. I lost 10 lbs within 2-3 months, and that was without tracking any of my calories or macronutrients. I felt and looked the best I ever had. I’m a 5’4″ 23 year old female and was down to my “goal” weight of 122 and was beyond happy with my body at that point. I found out what cutting and macros were and decided to give that a try, where I would be eating around 1500 calories/day. A few months after this I realized I was gaining weight and it wasn’t muscle weight. I noticed my clothes were getting tighter and now 8 months later I am 10 lbs heavier than when I first started cutting.

    Needless to say I think your article makes sense in my situation and I’m hopeful that this is the solution I’ve been looking for. I’ve been getting frustrated with the fact that I’ve been eating clean and working out, just to keep gaining weight and fat. I’m going to try increasing my calories to 1750-1800 to see if I can take off some of the weight I’ve gained while “cutting.”

    Thanks for your helpful article!

  40. Hi, I’m 34 and 5’5. Right now I’m about 121 lbs. I’m Caucasian and live in S. Korea. I’m guessing I shouldn’t go below 114 lbs? I still have fat on my inner thighs, hips, butt and stomach. I’ve found Dance Dance Revolution as my exercise and burn about 400 calories in an hour..estimate. I exercise about 1 hour per day and dance about once a week. (blues, salsa, etc.) What exercises and food do I eat to lose these hard to reach fat areas? My diet at the moment includes a lot of rice and meat and sometimes Korean vegetables.

    • I also forgot to include that my calorie intake is about 1200 per day. Sometimes I eat more if I’m hungry but will exercise to “bring it back down to 1200” for the day. I’ve lost about 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks. I’m guessing I need more vegetables though. What do you think?

      • Don’t mean to be short but, read the article you are commenting on. You are eating too little. I am about the same as you, 5’5, living in Asia. 1200 calories PLUS exercise means you are eating far too little. You are in ‘starvation mode’ and your body will hold on to any and all energy (i.e. fat) that you have / give to it. It says it all in the article. Increase your calorie intake and see what happens.

  41. My husband has lost over 100lbs in 9 months..he did really good got off all his blood pressure meds and cpac machine. But i am concerned he is not getting enough nutrition. He now feels tired all the time noooo energy and moody and depressed…any suggestions

    • Get his thyroid and adrenal results checked. Maybe he burned himself out? I’m not sure, but to me it sounds like an hypothyroid /adrenal fatigue case

    • Is he still trying to lose more weight? If so, seek a specialist and a Nutritionist, if you guys hadn’t done so, already. Weightloss is like trying to kick a drug habit. It took me through all sorts of emotional rollercoasters. I went through withdrawals and kept having to bounce back. Its a very miserable experience, I mean, was a Bitch!

      If you all are spiritual, use that! The process is just that, a process. After my weight loss, I was soooooo relieved! Because I was no longer eating minimum calories to lose weight. I was eating to maintain; which is a much more peaceful journey (and of course, MORE CALORIES).

      Best of luck to you both!

    • With losing that much weight that quickly, he is definitely lacking nutrients that his body needs to sustain him. He could be deficient in iron, I had similar symptoms a year ago, from eating too little and losing weight too quickly and once I got on medications for anemia, my energy and strength returned quite quickly. Another issue to be aware of is potassium deficiency. Any micronutrient he could be lacking could cause these symptoms.

  42. Hi,
    My name is Katie. I am a 21 year old female who has been struggling to gain a few pounds for over 2 years. In high school I developed an eating disorder where I drastically reduced the amount of calories I was eating to lose some weight when I entered the modeling world. When I realized I was too thin, I stopped modeling and started working out more and eating more. However, I’m still stuck at around the same weight as I was two years ago. I am 5’11.5 and 115lbs. I have trouble gaining weight because I am extremely health conscious and don’t fill my body with junk. I also get full really easily. I’m stuck on what to do because while I really want to gain 10 lbs, part of me is scared.

    • If you want to gain weight but get full easily, you should try eating more calorically-dense foods. Loading up on healthy foods–e.g. veggies–that are low in calories but high in fiber may make it difficult to get enough calories. Consider introducing more healthy fats into your diet. Avocado, olive oil, fish, nut butters, etc. should help you increase your calorie intake without eating any junk.

    • Yes, I have had similar issues trying to gain weight back during sports seasons and high- intensity training while suffering with eating disorders. You need to eat enough fruits and vegatbales to get enough nutrition, without filling your stomach up. Getting calorie dense foods, and eating high calorie meals and snacks is very important. Also,remember when you are eating and get full really fast that it will be a gradual change on expanding your stomach to eat a normal amount again, after suffering from your eating disorder. have the mindset that you are eating purely based off your calorie and body needs rather than what your stomach may tell you. Best of luck!

  43. Hello,

    I’m 30 and trying desperately to lose weight. I am a single mom of three small children, work full time, and just graduated from college. My busy lifestyle left me eating fast and convenient foods that are far from healthy. Now that things have calmed down a bit I want to focus on my health. I’m 270 lbs and 5 ft. Over the last few weeks I made the switch to mostly green veggies and protein. I am working out when I can but I am very active in my new career and don’t always have the energy at the end of the day. Despite the change in my diet the number on the scale has not changed. This is so confusing to me because I feel so much better. I think I may not be eating enough but I eat when I’m hungry and I don’t want to force myself to eat more. Any suggestions?

    • I was at 270 (5’5″) at the start of the year. I’m now 40 lbs lighter. Lost most of it (30 in 2 months) via the Ideal Protein Diet.

      I’m now having to make myself eat more calories as so I don’t stall.

      The nutritionist really helps pinpoint what I’m doing wrong. My two biggest stall foods are diet soda and dairy.

  44. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hello, if you eat in a calorie deficit all week, and you go over one day a week, will you gain weight ? For example, eating 1200 for 6/7 of the week then 1/7 of the day’s eating 3000-4000 calories (2000 + 1000 or 2000)

    Exercise 6/7 x a week

    Age 20

    Female

    Weigh around 116

    Height 5’7

    • That should be ok, as a guy that is what I did to lose 25 stubborn lbs, intermittent fasting high protein low carb low fat 6 days, and then a carb feed, good high carbs, lean protein, moderate fat and would eat breakfast lunch dinner on that day. I also worked out 3 to 5 days a week, I am 5′ 8″ and even though i got to 170, I looked thinner but not muscle, so I have lost 100 lbs total since 2009, i still have stubborn fat I want to lose, but right now I am trying to gain more muscle, while in that huge calorie deficit I was not maintaining muscle, not a good thing.

      116 at 5′ 7″ it does not sound like you need to lose weight, looking at charts you actually are underweight. It shows 122 would be the small side for 5′ 7″ Stop restricting your calories.

  45. Hello, if you eat in a calorie deficit all week, and you go over one day a week, will you gain weight ? For example, eating 1200 for 6/7 of the week then 1/7 of the day’s eating 3000-4000 calories (2000 + 1000 or 2000)

    Age 20

    Weigh around 116

    Height 5’7

  46. I am a 35-year-old female. Used to weigh about 113 to 118 – ate pretty clean and worked out by lifting and doing cardio. Did that for years. The last five years or so it has been more difficult to get to the gym but I still go and try and stay active. My son is older now so I can no longer take him to the daycare. I’m a single mom so I hate leaving him alone (also autistic). Now that he is 14 I can get in there about 3 good days a week and supplement cardio at home. I hate working out at home. I am terrible about it and do better if I go to the gym. But I will walk/run outside if it is nice and do weights at the gym. Anyway – I try and stick to a vegan gluten free diet due to food intolerances and the ethical environmental issues around eating animal products. (2,000 gallons of water per pound of beef – we cannot sustain eating meat and it’s animal torture and terrible for the earth) my weight went up to about 129-130 about three years ago. I was working out though. I wasn’t super comfortable with it even though it didn’t look terrible on me. I am 5’4 btw..and was pretty toned at the time. I have hypothyroidism too diagnosed at 27 but had for awhile before that. On synthroid now and feel much better though have never gotten back to normal. Anyway – when my grandfather died in 2012 I had been working out almost daily and eating VERY clean – the weight started falling off. I assumed it was from the gym but then I didn’t go to the gym for about two months due to his cancer and then death – plus we went on a vacation and then it was Christmas and New Years and my son was home on vacation. I dropped to 118 in about two or three weeks. The beginning of December we went on a cruise and I weighed 118. By the beginning of January I was down to about 115 – and then by spring down to 108. This was with no diet change really and working out semi-regularly. I was maybe eating cleaner? But not counting calories or anything. Before my grandpa died I had been trying to lose the extra weight but couldn’t. Nothing helped. I figured it was my thyroid. If my tsh is low or high I will gain. Optima for me is about 1.0. Anyway…I have remained 108 ever since. With a little fluctuation during my period but I always go back to 108.

    Enter the last couple of months. My weight started creeping up – to 111. Doesn’t sound like a lot but I felt uncomfortable. Stomach very very sensitive. Then I started losing again. No appetite at all. Stools are always loose. Occasional full blown diarrhea – occasional full blown constipation – but mostly really loose stools. It’s like I’m not absorbing anything and it goes right through me.

    Again no appetite and I am not even working out much due to feeling weak.

    This am I weighed 100.4. I’m clearly losing muscle. I do have a tendency to lose weight when stressed – like literally five pounds overnight – I can feel the weight coming off – but I usually gain it right back when stress is over – and always 108.

    I have to force myself to eat. I’ve been eating oatmeal the last five days. It’s very filling though and all I can manage.

    Other symptoms the last six months – it’s like I have No immune system….getting warts on my fingers – herpes (face) that I have had since a kid but now get all the time – I now take Valtrez daily. Breaking out and skin isn’t healing. I had a HORRID yeast infection for about four months. I have had lower back pain – like almost in the sacral area – feels kind of like a nerve pain – since October. I had a pap/colposcopy that revealed high grade changes and they want to do a LEEP but I refuse…also having allergies and have to take an allergy pill almost daily. Eyes itch. Have never had that before. Really don’t want to go back to the doctor. I cannot eat gluten corn soy and won’t eat animal products. Even peanuts/nuts – make me bloated and cramp. Also / I feel bloated and crampy all the time anyway. I eat Advil like crazy. I’m not the nervous paranoid type and really hate going to the doctor. I only did the pap because I’ve been getting frequent periods…and they last for weeks. And they are heavier and I have quite a bit of brown discharge.

    Wtf is wrong with me?? I don’t want to lose more weight. 105 I liked – I think I look best at that weight..I am curvy so I don’t look like I am too thin. Big boobs and hips. Small waist. Smaller frame.

    But I am afraid the scale will say 99 tomorrow!! I’ve also been urinating tons…feel super dehydrated all the time. And tired….have not been very active at all.

    • Get pelvic ultrasound or imaging of area your in pain.. Don’t give up. Those symptoms back pain , can also be related to endometriosis, fibroids, etc. I just had hysterectomy and feel great. Don’t give up. And don’t be afraid.

    • Your story sound familiar . I am pre diabetic and may have irritable bowl syndrome and gluten sensitivity. My wt loss has to be due to diarrhea a lot of the time. Doctor does not know for sure.
      Hope you can find out what is causing the weight loss.

  47. Hi I would not like to reveal my name for certain reasons first of all. So I’m 14 going on 15 in a few months and I haven’t been eating i usually don’t fall a sleep until 9pm(school night) and/or 2am(holiday or exam time) and I usually wake up for school at 5am or I wake up on a holiday at 12am and during that time I will have 1 piece of bread or a quarter serving of my dinner. I drink water occasionally and I tend to stay away from junk food. I have lost a lot of weight I’m currently 30kg’s and still haven’t hit puberty I don’t know what’s wrong with me 🙁

    • Why aren’t you eating? It sounds like you’re eating dangerously low amounts of food. While some women don’t hit puberty until later, you definitely won’t if you under eat. You need to have a certain amount of body fat or your body thinks there I not enough food around to support a baby and so keeps you from getting pregnant by stopping or delaying your monthly. Focus on eating higher quality foods, meats, eggs and vegetables, cooked in olive or coconut oil. If you don’t want to eat, eat anyway, regularly, gradually increasing until you can eat a standard meal comfortably. If there is something physically ailing you when you eat, like nausea or a very full stomach, go see a doctor to see if you have some sort of digestive or obstruction issue.

  48. Hi!
    I’m a girl, 17 years old
    My weight around 47 then my height is 163cm. I don’t know why, I am eating less calories per day, i eat around 800-1000 calories and i do exercise 3 times a week, that includes muaythai, weight lifting, and zumba. I feel guilty when I eat more than I count. However, it’s been 3 month that My period has not coming yet, and My mood change unstably. It’s kind weird , when I include rice in the menu, my fat is not increasing but then when i’m not my fat is increasing. What should I do ? ;(

    • Im not a professional but based on what it says in this article I think you should eat more if you lose weight when you do!

      I used to be heavier but I lost weight when I started eating more again.

    • Hi im muji. Im 16 and haven’t eaten a single thing in 2 days. Only drinking around 2 and a half cups of water. It seems to me that i don’t want to eat and i dont understand why because usually i over eat alot. For example i can consume 3 pizzas for dinner. So i am getting really confused.

    • Hi, I’m 15 and im 5’3. For about a year or so I stayed around 105-107 pounds. The most I’ve weighed is 109. In January/February, I had anxiety attacks and lost my appetite, along with 10 pounds. I started my period last week and the anxiety came back, but the weigh dropped again. I’m hungry all the time but when I eat, I feel like I’m going to throw up. When I don’t eat, its just so empty feeling and it burns all the way up to my chest. Is there anything I can do to get my eating habits back? I used to eat a lot everyday and I was okay and I had no anxiety. I think the reason its back is because I’m not eating near enough. The past two days I’ve had one meal for each. So please, if you have any suggestions or know what I can do, please tell me. I don’t want to be like this any longer.

      • Hey Emily,
        I’m no expert but I think you may need to see someone about your anxiety. It sounds like that’s the problem which is causing you not to eat.
        I would have a serious chat with your parents/guardian or even someone else you trust and get in to see a psychologist. Depending on where you live you could possibly find a free psychologist.
        I have similar symptoms when I have anxiety and it’s really difficult. Not eating can damage your body and you don’t want that!
        Look after yourself x

      • this problem runs in my family, there is nothing wrong with you! your anxiety is causing your loss of appetite. my mom experienced severe anxiety/panic disorder starting around the same time of my current age, and it got really bad to the point of having to drop out of college. (she was significantly underweight and describes having no appetite also) I have anxiety/panic disorder also, and when I started to experience the same thing and my doctor put me on medicine, specifically zoloft. it has helped so much and it is a life changer for many people, talk to your doctor about beginning meds because your anxiety is causing your loss of appetite 🙂

      • Hi Emily,
        I had the same issues with anxiety and not feeling well after eating for about a year. I went an saw a Psychiatrist and was told it was caused by PTS. I was told to take gaviscon after each meal. It worked pretty well (tasted terrible) But I also found that taking some calm breaths and not concentrating on what my stomach was doing seemed to help most of the time. Don’t be afraid to seek medical advice and family support.
        I am fine these days, sometime it if I get stressed it happens, but I try to keep it together.
        I hope you are well these days.
        Kim.

  49. Hi. I’m 15 and 5’2″ For a few months now, I’ve been dieting and exercising at least 5-6 days a week. So far I’ve lost about 20 pounds and I now weigh 120. Although losing the weight feels great, I am kind of worried. The past few months my period was getting shorter and then last month it just completely stopped. I have not been able to really sleep a whole night without waking up multiple times. My mood also changes so much! I’m a lot more depressed and can’t really find a reason to smile. What do I do? I usually eat around 600-800 calories a day. I tried increasing my food intake for about a week but I noticed I gained weight so I went to eating that amount of calories. Whenever I eat more more food, I feel like crap. How can I continue to be healthy and not gain weight?

    • oh my If you were my kiddo I would make sure you were eating more. Thats not enough your body is still growing and needs great nutrition. and The symptoms show your not eating enough. Eat every 3-4 hours check out trim healthy mama

    • Hi Brooke – Google Alisa Viti. She’s the author of the book, “Woman Code”. She has rally good info on menstral cycles, and women’s issues.

  50. Hy there.
    I noticed that the past month I’m not eating enough. I am 18 and I weigh 48 Kg which is lower than its supposed to be. I lost weight a lot of it and even though sometimes I’m hungry I seem to have lost my appetite. I dont get tired or show any signs of illness though my sleeping is also regressing. But I am going through a lot of stress because of high school final throughout the month. Is this normal or should I ask a professional? ? And thank you 🙂

  51. Hi,

    I’ve been recovering from an eating disorder for the past couple of months; restrictive eating and over exercising, becoming underweight but only by a couple of pounds. But now I’m eating more and exercising less – even though I know I should be stopping exercise completely – I find that I have this insatiable hunger. Is this normal? Should I answer my hunger? I just don’t feel like I was really sick enough. I’m finding it scary, I’ve gained a few pounds already but I really don’t want to gain anymore. Any advice would be great.

    • Hi Rosie,

      I’m 2 years into recovery from Anorexia Nervosa and have managed to maintain my weight for some time now. Do you have a treatment team that you work with? If not, I do think that’s it’s vital that you start working with a Doctor, Psychologist, and Dietitian.

      The insatiable hunger that you’re referring to is perfectly normal. Your body is desperate to take in more nutrients in order to protect vital organs, return hormones to normal levels, and a variety of other things. I am very familiar with the feeling of not being “sick enough”. Every person I went through treatment with felt exactly the same way.

      Honey I’d be lying if I said this was going to be easy… but recovery – including weight restoration – is so very worth it. It might feel like it is the most unnatural thing in the world for a while… but having a life where you’re able to function, sleep, work, study, and be happy is better than being underweight.

      Imagine not being cold all the time, being able to think about something other than food, being able to concentrate better than a goldfish, being able to go out with friends and family without having to pre-plan every bite of food and just being able to enjoy it…

      It’s worth it, I promise.

  52. I noticed that when I go too long without eating I feel sick and shaky. And I get headaches.
    I’ve been trying to lose weight. I went from 231 to 224, but I’m stuck there. I do tons of walking. I reduced my calories to about 900 per day.

    It sucks when you try to eat more but you have no appetite.

    • HI Lea, Letting your blood sugar drop too low can be what causes you to feelsick and shaky. Dehydration could also play a part.

      However I would suggest you are eating far to little as well.

      Ive left a link to our website where you can download a free ebook that might help you.

      Also feel free to contact us through the website and we can give you as much advise as possible.

      Hope to her from you.

  53. Hi,
    I have been recovering from an eating disorder for about three years now and I recognize myself in almost every sign. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your article, it really opened my eyes and you just made me more determined than ever to change to a healthier diet.

    Healthy breakfast/lunch tips are appreciated!

    • I shake all he time I know I’m not eating right in 2014 I felt really good I had lost 14 lbs I have gained the weight back by no getting enough sleep and eat little when I doesn’t I eat to much I had a car wreck and that really messed things up because I have a pacemaker and defilibrator I had to have brain surgery and it turned out ok I didn’t get anything broke in my bony just a bleeding brain had to have surgery. This shaking feels like it taking over my body think it’s that conagitive thing inmu brain I feel dizzy light headed and all those symptoms u mentioned really bad I need help bad and I take 75 mlg of thyroid medicine the shaking never stops . I have been drinking a Boost Hgh protein drink because it makes me feel so good for a while it has 28 sugars and reading this makes me realize I am eatin not enough of he right foods I need a good diet to make me feel better and loose my weight again right I exercised all the time when I didn’t eatenough and I wasn’t losing any weight so I just quit I am goingout start walking again and do my other exercises in my home and I need a good diet canu help me?

  54. Hi,

    I’m 18, 95lb, 5’2”, and I’ve always had a very low BMI, but a relatively large stomach. Anyway, in the last few months I’ve been gaining even more weight in my stomach and my diet hasn’t changed drastically. (I eat ~1400 calories a day). I’m worried because while my stomach is expanding, my arms and legs are way too thin. (I can reach across my wrists with a thumb and little finger, and even though I’m an adult now, my thighs are barley larger than my lower legs.) Is having a large stomach and smaller extremities also a sign of under eating? I’m taking a medical class so of course I’m all freaked out that I have tape worms or high testosterone or something. I’m probably going to see a doctor soon, but I wanted to know what you guys think.

    • You need to take a good Probiotic anywhere from 50-100 billion is what it says on bottle. Stress can also make the stomach get larger. And Preg of course.
      Stress seems to go straight to the Gut.
      Probiotics will help a lot in getting stomach down. But stress is a ruling factor if you are stressed.

      • I am so small I am losing weight so much I eat I sweat at night alot I urine a lot sometimes I have bad leg cramps joint pain vision not good sometimes I feel my heart fluttering what happening with my body

  55. Hi,

    I am a woman that weighs 270lbs and am 5’6. At my smallest size with flat stomach and in shape, I weighed 170lbs. My goal is to get back to to that. May I eat 1500 calories a day and still do my 6 days a week workouts that are zumba, aerobics and treadmill? I also do not eat bread, rice, or potatoes except for 2 cheat meals a week. I also may have something sweet 3-4 days a week in small moderation.

  56. Last year I was constipated due to my bad diet of pizza and mars bars until I saw a dietician. She told me to eat fruit and veg, I also still have an anal fissure. But since then I lost 3 and a half stone, I eat Weetabix for breakfast, an egg sandwich for lunch and 6 peanut butter sandwiches and 4 granola squares for tea time. I also make 2 protein shakes (37 grams per shake) each day. I literally cannot fit anything else in my stomach till at least 11am the next day (usually after my 1st BM). I have tried everything to gain weight but since the undiagnosed abdomen pain and rib pain I feel like I am struggling with weight gain. I am worried if this carries on my body will go into shutdown or anorexic mode. I am 9.9 stone after my 1st BM and at the end of the day I go up to 10.5 stone and every single day it is the same. On a bad week I go to 9.7 stone. I believe because I eat so poorly my muscle fat is eating itself up inside as how can I remain the same weight eating so little and so poorly?

    I had a CT Scan, an Endoscopy and the usual tests and all came back negative. I’ve never lost a single 1lb in my entire life and I even tried to diet for 3 months and I cycle 8 miles a day and have done for many years. So if anyone has any idea to what I could try I would be grateful please. Note that I do not drink milk or eat cheese as it causes my bowels to go crazy.

    I have had enough now and I am a litte scared that I am becoming anorexic, but I feel no matter what I eat I just end up in the toilet all the time (note that my BMs are 3 – 4 a day but always the next day not that night so my digestive system is working roughly on time).

    Sorry for going on but I just need someone who has heard of similar conditions and learn how to battle this.

  57. So if I weigh 400 pounds and my ideal bodyweight is 180 pounds, I shouldn’t eat less than 1800 calories? What’s the opposite end to that? How much shouldn’t I eat?

    • Any male or female adult eating 1,000-1,200 calories per day and doing crossfit 6-7 days per week is guaranteed to lose weight, no exception.

      The reason someone wouldn’t be losing weight is because this is actually unsustainable for nearly all people and they will be cheating, getting hungry, snacking and increasing their caloric intake. Someone who thinks or says they’re consuming 1,000 calories per day will almost certainly be consuming much more than that.

      The right amount to eat is a caloric level below what you are using (BMR plus exercise), but high enough to be comfortable and sustainable over time so you don’t end up cheating.

      • You have NO right making such an ignorant, umbrella statement like that, especially being a man. There ARE exceptions. Everybody is different and until you’ve dealt with PCOS and childbirth and all the other fun things women go through, please leave the advice to the experts.

        • Yes. I have had prolonged periods of sustained caloric deficit and have retained stubborn fat despite best efforts and no “cheating.” There are clearly additional factors at play.

  58. Hi! I’m a seventeen year old female who, likr many my age, loves food. I am not overweight and am a decent eater, though I could definitely eat more vegetables. My problem is under-eating and disturbed sleep. It can take me time to fall asleep and I can sometimes wake up early. I have (and am in recovery) severe anxiety, GAD and health anxiety. My problem is I will not eat much for dinner sometimes and will wake up, but still won’t eat because I want to sleep. I often worry hunger will wake me up and cause my own cycle. I can be starving and be okay without food and then that hunger feeling fades. I am not trying to lose weight, I just forget to eat. And now I am hungry and nauseous and I have had similar things like this before and food always helps because sometimes I revert back. Can eating more fix this problem?

      • I seem to suffer with the same issue. I do so good all day. I eat low carb which I know people that are against but it has worked for me over the last 4 years but here lately with personal problems in life anxiety has caused me to not sleep very well. I will end up snacking after midnight unlike you, I EAT! I will feel guilty about it and usually toss it moments later. I think Xanax will increase hunger or maybe not. It almost acts like Ambien, in that aspect. I guess I need not take that drug either and just stick to Melatonin 10mg and perhaps some Benadryl. At least this combination will eventually get you back to sleep… No scripts, no guilt! Hope things get better for all. I’m looking for a sign of hope. My ideal weight would be 105 but I’m thinking my comfort zone is 115 but that’s too much for someone only 4’11”. I’m down to 112 but was 130. 100 pounds was unrealistic and I’ve realized I am almost 47 years old. But what’s she got to do with anything? I want to feel and look awesome for 100 years?

  59. Hi am 5’4 I have been drinking strip shakes drinks breakfast and lunch to replaces meals then having 500 calories for tea I have done this for 2months now and don’t see much difference my weight is between 9stone 12 up to 10stone 4 I exercise on a leg magic machine most evenings because it fo lower bodies toning were I carry my weight most please advice what I can do thankyou

    • If you are drinking only one serving of strip shakes for breakfast, and one for lunch, and 500 calories with tea (if you are including cream/milk/sugar in the tea with the 500 calories); then you are eating 1630 calories daily.

      You may consider using an app that tells you exactly how many calories you are consuming, and how many you /should/ consume to lose weight. The “loseit app” has helped me lose weight by showing me how many calories I’m actually eating and telling me how many I /should/ eat. I’ve gone from 17 stone 8 to 11 stone 1 just by monitoring my calories over this past year eating the correct amount and exercising if accidentally ate too many calories.

      Make sure that you are running a calorie deficit, or you are doomed to a weight plateau that won’t go away. Good luck on your weight loss journey!

  60. I am a 48 year old mom of 3. I was low carb, low calorie and high exercise for 4 years. During that time, I gained 35 pounds, and started waking up between 2 and 4 almost every night. Before that, I had never had weight, or sleep issues. Although the weight gain and sleeping issues were frustrating, I felt that giving up grains and sugar, adding free range organ meats and bone broth, and continuing to eat lots of whole foods–mainly plants (which I was already doing) was a good idea, and so I kept on the same path, mystified by the constant weight gain. One day I realized that I had stayed in a hungry state for the entire 4 years, and I decided to never let myself be hungry again and see what happened. Immediately, my weight went down, my fasting glucose went down (I am not diabetic, but I keep track of my fasting glucose to make sure I don’t ever become diabetic), and I stopped waking in the night. In addition, it just felt really good to not be constantly hungry. I could not believe that doubling my calories was the cure to my issues! It was VERY frustrating to be so misunderstood–folks just assumed that I was overeating and under exercising. More importantly, it was frustrating to be working so hard to have good health and instead achieve poor results! I am very happy to find this article! Thanks for getting the word out!!! I hope others who are struggling find this article before they give up.

    • I feel like I am in the same boat. I’m trying to eat plant based and healthy but still feel hungry! Knowing how much is too much is hard though!

    • I have been struggling to find a happy medium to lose weight. I have hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. After my diagnosis in 2014 I gained 10 pounds ASAP almost like overnight. I was puffy swollen and very irratabile. Beings my thyroid was out of sync it threw my body for a loop. I switched from levothyroxin to nature thyroid in October 2015 a year later after my diagnosis. I still was struggling with weight felt better but couldn’t lose an ounce and if I did it never stayed off for long. At my dr appointment in March my dr suggested I eliminate gluten and eat low carb high fat. When I say high fat I am not talking the bad for you fats but good fats olive oil, coconut oil etc. everything has its limits and I think I have found the balance. I have lost 7.8 pounds in 7 weeks never feel hungry and I am on my weigh no pun intended to getting a healthy weight and feeling so much better. I don’t exercise my brains out take a walk do some strength training and call it good. Works for me I am 61 years young and am getting my life back. I use my fitness pal to log my food and it helps with keeping track of my nutrition protein, fats, fiber etc. I also belong to a FB page that is amazing for low carb living. It will be my way of eating for life. My husband has also followed me and he has lost 20 pounds in 7 weeks seems men lose so much quicker. We do not restrict our calories either. We just keep it low carb and it’s working, I wish everyone here much success in what ever plan you have found that works for you. Restricting calories and under eating is not the solution I can attest to that. I eat more calorie wise than I ever have and am losing weight getting healthy and feeling great. One other perk for me I was always cold and very tired and I know this is all part of my thyroid disorder but since adapting this way of eating I have pretty much eliminated this all together.

      • Hy Cyndy,

        Me too – hashimotos and trouble losing weight despite a good clean diet for many years.

        Great that you’ve found a combo that works.

        When you say ‘low carb’, what does that translate to?

        Rose

        • I try to keep my carbs around 40 per day. I also don’t eat gluten so it helps keep the carbs down as I don’t eat bread or pastas. My daily diet consists of lean proteins, eggs, vegetables, healthy fats, and I eat berries for fruit. Raspberries I had found are the best for low carbs. Unfortunately a lot of fruits and vegetables are high in carbs. I try to get the bulk of my carbs from vegetables. So far it’s working well for me. I wish you luck as I know all too well how hard it is when you have thruoid problems.

          • It’s “working for you” because a low carb diet removes water from the body. You haven’t lost fat, you’ve lost water. It’s not the same thing.

            • Kiwi I am under the care of dr and I am following her instructions. Not sure what your referring to about fat and water….but I do know with my autoimmune issues and low thyroid I do feel much better. Not everything works for all but I am very happy with how I feel and being able to feel good is even more important than the weight loss. This works for me. I think we all have our opinions on different eating styles I am only sharing what has worked for me.

  61. Hi. I am a 70 year old female. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism many years ago and take .5 mg of eltroxin every morning. I am gluten and lactose intolerant and eat a very restricted low fodmaps diet as I had colon cancer 15 months ago and had 30cms of my colon removed which caused a lot of diarrhoea. I now find that I am cold all the time, cannot get to sleep and if I do sleep it is only for 3 hours or so. I am never tired in the day either. I am losing weight (now weigh 60kgs) and wonder if anyone has any suggestions as my concern is lack of sleep.

  62. I’ve recently started a new medication, a little over a week ago actually. It completely suppresses my appetite to the point that I feel sick even trying to eat anything. I may eat some applesauce or rice daily and have bought some nutritional shakes to try adding in but I’m kind of at a loss as what I should do. The medication is necessary and a last resort after several others tried and failed. As a 22 year old female weighing 316 when starting it and currently at 307 I know that I’m far from being in the danger zone but it’s still pretty scary.

    • I have the same problem. I’ve been taking vyvanse for my adhd and it’s completely suppressed my appetite, to the point where I can barely stomach anything even on the days I don’t take it. At first, I was happy with the added bonus of a flat stomach, but now it’s sorta static and the medication along with the appetite loss seems to be causing more trouble than it’s worth (anemia, general weak feeling, a kind of “fuzziness” counteracting the focus gained from the pill in the first place). The only solution I’ve found is this nutritional meal replacement drink called Soylent; a quick (bland) chug and my nutrients are filled and my I don’t feel quite as drained/empty.

  63. Hi
    My name is Brittany. I’m 26 (my 27th birthday is March 17 lol) I have been trying to lose 30 lbs since September of last year. I am currently 193. In September I started at 197.5. I’ve tried everything I can think of. I eat 6times a day. 3 meals 3 snacks. I workout at least 2 or 3 times a week. I meal prep every Sunday to make sure I’m eating healthy all week. But I have not lost a pound. I actually feel like I’ve gotten bigger. Especially in my midsection. It used to just be a little big but now it’s huge. Then the weird thing is I start my morning with a flat stomach and by lunch I look pregnant lol. I’m starting to get discouraged with the entire process. I feel like if I’m gonna keep gaining weight I might as well eat whatever I want and not work out. I’m not even sure what I’m doing wrong. Im tired all the time, no energy, no motivation, I’m actually getting used to being overweight and I’m trying to force the idea that it will never get any better than this
    I need help and encouragement please

    • Have you had your thyroid checked. All the symptoms sound like you could have Hypothyroidisum. I have it and all the symptoms you mentioned go along with it. I recently started a low carb diet which has helped me lose weight but you need to also be on medication if you have thyroid problems.
      Good luck to you.

    • Hi Brittany, First of all–good on you to have not gained, and to have lost some weight! Secondly, find out your numbers, and then you can truly have a better understanding about what’s going on, as well as improvements that you make. I encourage you to get the following numbers about your health: fasting insulin; A1c; triglycerides; blood pressure; and c-reactive protein. You can google around and find the meaning of those numbers and what level they should ideally be. It sounds like you are struggling with insulin resistance. If your fasting insulin is higher than 5, then this is most likely your issue…

    • Hi Brittany don’t feel discouraged… Try cutting out dairy and red meat… Lots of hormones in them… When I did my whole body shape and energy changed.

    • Brittany, I was in your boat a year ago. I weighed more though: 205 lbs. I thought, “hey! I’ll just cut out this fast food, and eat healthily at home and I’ll lose weight!” Nope! I got up to 246 lbs before I decided that I needed a lifestyle change. Even eating /healthily/ didn’t fix my problem. My problem was portion sizes.

      Without realizing it, I was eating twice as much as someone my height and age should eat! And I had to eat that much, just to feel full!

      It has taken almost a year, but I am now down to 155, and all that I did was use a calorie counting app (loseit) (some of my friends used fitness pal). I started logging all of my foods, and I realized that my portion sizes were causing me to overeat. I used the app to help control how much I was eating, and I would exercise to pull my calories back down to my goal if I over-ate during the day.

      Running a calorie deficit works. Having little rewards every 5 or 10 pounds is important, and having someone who keeps you accountable (besides just you) is important as well. My husband will purchase and play a new board game with me, every time I hit my 10 lb goal!

      It took 2 months for the constant feelings of hunger to go away, I would even exercise to get to eat a night time salad so I wouldn’t feel so hungry; but finally my stomach shrank and I began to feel full just eating /normal/ portions.

      Good luck on your weight loss journey! Don’t give up, running a healthy calorie deficit *always* works; even when the other “weight loss tricks” just seem to fail over and over again.

  64. I do not eat paleo, but I stumbled across this article while trying to find help. 10 years ago I weighed 215 lbs. I started losing weight with diet pills and exercise and gradually losing through the years. The last 5 years I have focused on just eating lower calories and have made it as low as 129 lbs., but I am now currently struggling at 140 ish. This has become all consuming. I was happier teetering around 130-135. I do exercise ever single day for an hour and a half and keep my calories at 1500 ish. I have binges about every 8 days that easily go into the 4000 calorie mark. I have been living this way for far too long. I obsess over food to a grand scale and constantly think about it. When I am done with a meal I am actually sad. All I want to do is eat. I never ever want to be fat again and find myself trying to get back 135 and keep telling myself I will live normal when I get there, but I cannot get there. I am miserable and hate social gatherings and will cancel and avoid at all costs. God bless my husband who has been with me for 21 years, he loves me so much and I am making him miserable too. I never leave the house EVER! I go to the grocery store on saturday morning and thats it. I dont want to be fat again, I cannot lose weight so therefore I cannot eat more cause when I do I gain. I don’t even know where to go for help or how to start.

    • Honey, I understand! I’ve been battling similar issues for many years as well. Please buy the book “Intuitive Eating.” I promise it will help change your life! It will help you be “at peace” with food, and you don’t get fat! I promise! You’re not alone. There is a great online community for Intuitive Eating as well. Please buy the book. I am rooting for you!

    • Are you saying at 140lbs. you are fat? Be lucky you are only a couple pounds overweight. I am a 58 year old male that always weighed about 220lbs. when I was younger and quite physical through work. After 2 back surgeries and heart surgery I was bed ridden for 3 years. I went from 220 to over 400 I am now lifting weights, I can`t do much cardio because my heart medication, but over the last 2 months I have lost 30 lbs. eating some white meat, fruits, and veggies amounting to no more than 1000 cal. per day. I am finally going to lose that 200 lbs. I am SICK of being a prisoner in my own body. You don`t realize how lucky you are.

    • Please Google Overeaters Anonymous. I completely relate to every word that you wrote. There is help specifically for us in this program (it’s free, so I’m not trying to sell you anything).

  65. I’m a 5’5 15 year old girl and I usually have about 800-1000 calories a day. I was 115pounds last month and now currently im 110. Recently I’ve been feeling extremely weak and just standing is a struggle everyday..

    • Amorah
      I recommend that you eat a little more or add another snack you are feeling the way you are because you need more fuel to give your body more energy and since your young you burn calories faster because you are more active. I promise you will feel a lot better.

    • Girls your age should eat no fewer than 1200 calories a day. If you are eating under this amount, your body is burning your muscle as energy /instead/ of fat. That means you have even less muscle to help you lose fat in the future (muscle is hard to get back!). Over the long term, under eating can be very harmful to your health. Look online to see how many calories a girl like you should be eating in order to maintain your muscles (so your body won’t burn them as energy).

      I was 5’5 at 15 and I ran track (had large leg muscles) and weighed about 117 lbs at my peak physical level. Don’t focus as much the actual /pounds/, but on a healthy lifestyle that will give you enough energy to do daily tasks without /overeating/.

  66. I am a 15 year old girl and I have been a good restricter for myself since third grade. I typically eat around 700 calories per day and it seems like enough to me but I am 140 and whenever I try lowering my calorie intake to lose weight (which is always) I can never lose any weight. I realize now that I am not nearly eating enough along with excercising 5 days a week and I want to start eating more but I am afraid of gaining weight. I try to eat very healthy and protein packed food but no matter what I eat I still feel overweight and unable to lose weight. What do I do?

    • i dint know how o gain weight and i am under weight but only 13 and i am eating more and then instead of gaining weight i keep on losing it.What should i do?

    • 700 calories is too few calories a day to maintain a 140 lb weight. What does your typical menu look like? You could be underestimating how much you are eating. Also 5’9 and 140 is pretty normal.

    • 700 cals is way to low you need to double that or more You’re too young to be eating so low!!! Eat when you’re hungry. Eat more plant based foods . Eat MORE. You may gain weight initially but you need plant carbs & protein to rebuild yourself . Then once your body is happy & healthy the weight will come off. You need to heal yourself first tho stop worrying about the weight & just get healthy lots of FRUITS & veggies beans rice sweet potatoes edamame quinoa CARBS & proteins! Peanut butter almond butter flaxseeds healthy fats

  67. Hi, I am 16 years old and I am 5’5. During the course of 2 and a half months, I went from 142 pounds to 118. I am currently 122 pounds but my entire body is super puffy and it looks as if I’m retaining water. The way I lost weight was very unhealthy, each day I lowered my calorie intake and now I only eat a few snacks a day. The foods I’ve been consuming are apples, oranges, pineapples, salmon, chicken, protein shakes and bars, and three or four scrambled eggs. I splurged on junk food and chocolate during my last period. I’m often depressed, lack motivation, and I rarely have an appetite. I don’t eat proper meals anymore but rather just small snacks to satisfy my appetite at the time. My skin is loose and the muscles in my legs are not as firm anymore. I don’t know what to do. I want to eat enough again but I’m afraid of gaining weight.

    • You should definitely speak tp tour doctor about it. They’ll help you fimd a healthy way to get back eatting well. 🙂 good luck!!

    • Gabriella can you speak with a parent to make an appointment with a primary care physician? Most health plans will make an allowance to see a nutritionist. I would recommend you start there.

      Your weight loss is impressive and shows discipline but is not healthy. At your young age you have years of growth ahead of you and need to eat more. A progressive physician should be able to refer you to a nutritionist for your diet and a therapist for your depression.

      Growing up is very hard. Don’t beat yourself up but get help now so you don’t diet in an unhealthy way. Good for you for seeking advice on this site…but seeking out medical in person help is the best advice i or anyone else can give you right now.

  68. So soooo glad I found this. I’m 20 years old and normally a really healthy eater day in day out but sometimes do enjoy the odd treat. Exercise at least 4 times a week and I am on my feet all day. For the past 2-3 months I’ve been trying even harder to lose a bit of weight ( summer is coming and all that) however all I have done is gain weight and even my normal clothing does not fit me. I upped my fibre intake, had more protein when I could and avoided more carbs than normal and was reaching 1100 cals a day, if even some days. Could not figure out where I was going wrong. After Reading this and agreeing with at least 5 things I realised that I was having the right things but no where near enough for the amount I do. Will be definitely trying to improve as of tomorrow and hopefully start to see results 🙂

  69. Hi I am a 31 yo male and I work as a bartender/server and what helped me realize why I wasn’t losing weight and feeling awful all the time while experiencing mood swings and skin irritations was all due to eating too low of a calorie deficit. I was kinda freaked out since I consumed 2,700 calories but with Fitbit saying I take at least 21k steps a day since I don’t have a car neither and walk everywhere and on top of it lifted 6days per week w/20-30 min of hiit cardio after. I’m still not too sure Fitbit is accurate 100% w/calories but there’s days that I burn over 4,000 calories! So it was hard for me to consume more calories but once I started my skin started clearing up and I started to feel better w/more mental clarity and have been losing! Keep in mind that I have been working out for awhile and the program’s I do are off of bodybuilding.com and when I go to the gym I take no longer than 30sec rest in between each set and workout almost 2hrs a day! I’m really happy that I read this blog! People are so obsessed with losing weight that they go so low on calories and it can cause a lot of harm to your body. I would know. Glad I’m learning more.

    • PS what has helped me as well is eating small meals and snacks every coup,e hours. If your an active person you need to eat more frequently! Stop letting tv advertisements and crash diets control your life! Your better than that! ?

  70. I’m 5’6 and weigh 140 lbs. I eat around 1100 calories a day. I workout 5 times a week and for about a month, I’ve been focusing cardio and abs so that I can have a 6 pack with out having to flex. After a month of consistent working out and dieting, I haven’t seen much results. Am I not eating enough?

  71. I am 16 years old and I do gymnastics 4 days a week from 4:30 to 8:30 and on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00. I recently lost about 20 pounds because I cut down on how much I was eating. I have just started to increase the amount I eat in a day because I am not having a period and I have no energy to do the sport that I love. I still don’t know if I’m eating enough. For example, this is basically what I eat everyday.
    Breakfast: whole bagel, chocolate milk
    Lunch: ham and cheese sandwich, banana, granola bar
    Snack: cliff bar
    Dinner:chicken and veggies

    • I think that sounds very healthy, minus the chocolate in the milk lol. Mind you I say that somewhat in jest, of course you’re allowed a small splurge if you make room for it with your diet and exercise. If you don’t mind sharing, what sort of portion sizes are you making your meals in? “Chicken and veggies” is a very healthy option, but you don’t want to have a quarter piece of chicken breast and call it a meal. Much like you don’t want to eat an entire skin-on roast chicken and call it “healthy”.

  72. Sick, very sick. Definitely under-eating, but not sure if that’s the cause of my overall state, or if my lack of appetite is a symptom of something else entirely. I will try to eat more, though often, no desire to. Symptoms – feeling unwell, swollen glands under arms and in my neck, sore throat, chest tightness & breathing issues, always tired, anemic, weak & dizzy, frequent cramping in my lower legs, night sweats, feeling inflamed all over. I know something is wrong, but doctors have been dismissive. I finally got some to listen to me, when my pain got so bad, they realized I had an infected & obstructed gallbladder, which they quickly removed two weeks ago.. But even after all that, I still feel terrible, like something is still wrong. Am I crazy? Will I ever wake up and feel well and strong? I can’t remember a time when I did. Please.. If someone out there can help, I implore you. This is positively depressing.

    • I’m sad they removed your gallbladder. Like you, I struggle from many symptoms no doctor has taken seriously. They treat each separate ailment when it’s the whole picture of long term illness that is the problem. I’m currently looking into candida overgrowth from regular antibiotics growing up but I’m still not sure that’s it. Keep looking! Do your own research. I am convinced after years of this and no help from the medical industry that we have to trust ourselves and look into any and all options. See a naturopath, see an syrveduc practitioner, see a Chinese herbalist, see a nutritionist. Anyone who says diet does affect your health is mad. Trust your gut and keep searching. I wish you the best!

  73. Hi, I just recently weighed myself and I use to be 116lbs and now im only 100lbs. I lost this in a week. Im 14, am about 5′ 1.5″ im worried because I get the chills constantly. I dont use the bathroom very often. And I only eat breakfast and lunch on the weekends. I have more stress than an average teen because of the college prep classes I have. Im also late for my period. Could me being underweight be the cause of all this?

    • While 100 lbs is perfectly healthy for your age and height, it is a little alarming that you seem to have lost this in a week. If you aren’t actively trying to lose it sounds like you are consuming way too few calories. The chills and constipation should set off an alarm too. I always recommend the services of a nutritionist if you (or your parents in your case) can afford it, but it’s also completely possible to work out a menu plan on your own too. Good luck! I hope you start feeling better.

  74. I don’t think you know how much this is going to change my life
    Everything you describe has been my symptoms for over 2 years, my teeth have rotted and my hair is awful. I was always known as having the clearest of skin, and I have suffered with abyss acne for the last few years. I never thought it was a case of under eating because of how big, bloated and fat I became, it seemed the less I ate the bigger I got.

  75. I am almost 16, 5,5 ft and I weight about 137 pounds. For the past few months, I’ve been trying to eat a lot healthier, I always eat a big breakfast (usually eggs with toast and fruit) and then, drink lots of water, eat lots of vegetables, almost no junk food, and I exercise around 5 days per week. I’ve been consuming between 1400-1600 calories a day, which I think balances to 1200-1400 with the exercise. Somehow, I’ve only lost about 4 pounds since I started 5 months ago, and my symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, insomnia, and coldness. I don’t think I’m over doing it, so could my symptoms be related to anxiety as well? I’m not diagnosed but I tend to be extremely nervous and worried… I’m not sure what to do because I want a competitive tennis player but I don’t have the confidence to feel like a real athlete at my current weight. Please help?

    • I think You may want to eat a little more than what you are currently at. Think about how much you walk in a day and how many calories that consumes on its own. Given your weight/ height and age, you should never consume less than 1250 calories a day, even if you literally don’t get out of bed in the day. All of your symptoms can be caused by not eating enough, even anxiety. What are you doing for exercise 5 days a week? Do you walk a lot throughout the day? Your best bet would be to buy some sort of fitness tracker, preferably one with a heart rate monitor. This will track how many steps/how active you are and give you a better idea of how much you should eat. You could also use a calorie tracker like My Fitness Pal and track how much you eat. I currently have a FitBit HR that tracks my heart rate and how many steps I take in a day. I use the app on my phone and I also use My Fitness Pal to track my calories. The best part about the two apps is that you can sync them together. My FitBit counts how active I am and then syncs with My Fitness Pal and tells me how many calories I burned and how many more I can eat. Fit bit devices can get pretty expensive, mine was $130 I believe, but its not a bad investment when it comes to your health. Your parents may be willing to help you buy one. You also want to make sure you eat enough protein. Muscle burns fat, the only way to get rid of fat is to build muscle. Don’t worry about getting ‘ripped’ or looking like a man. A woman’s body can’t grow to look like a man’s without hormones. Many women are afraid to lift weights because they don’t want to get bulky. Cardio alone may help you lose weight, but lifting weights and building muscle is the only way to keep it off. Also, if you are not eating enough protein, your body will eat your muscles. you may be experiencing muscle weight loss and not actual fat loss. And as I said earlier, muscle burns fat, without any muscle you can not lose fat. On another note, tennis burns a crazy amount of calories, make sure you eat enough to cover those calories.

    • How does your weight affect your ability as a tennis player? Serena Williams is 5’9″, weighs at least 155 pounds (per her bio) and is currently the number one women’s tennis player in the world.

      • Unless by “weight” OP is referring to her BFP maybe? Haha that reads snarky and I really don’t mean it that way. Just curious.

  76. I am in my mid 40’s and in my early 20’s I lost over 100lbs and I’ve managed to keep it all off all these years through working out and diet.
    For many years my only exercise was walking on my treadmill and that worked well for me.
    About 7 years ago I started doing workout videos and doing some weights and have progressed but over the last 3 years things have been sorta a struggle.
    My cycles are regular but libido is ZERO (null), I cannot sleep more than 2-3 hours a night (and I work FT) and sometimes I go 2-3 days with NO sleep. My heart rate goes up, eyes bounce, I try deep breathing and everything in between and nothing works PLUS it is VERY hard for me to lose a few pounds if I’m getting ready for a function.
    I feel I have fallen into the exercise more (and more) and eat less. I finally figured out my calorie intake on MyFitnessPal and I’m right about 900-1300 depending on the day and I do have one splurge meal a week most my (MEASURED MEALS) meals are very clean, egg whites, spinach, squash, sweet potato, quinoa, green beans, chicken breast, tuna, white fish, I do not eat cheese or milk. So, fast forward, I did a new Beachbody program, pushed myself hard and at the end of 60 days, I was no further than the day I started, I NEED to turn to diet, I think I need to eat more but telling someone that used to be over 100lbs over weight to eat more when I want to lose a few pounds is not easy.
    I think I’ve been in a deficient for too long, is this even repairable? I feel I am “broke” forever? I WANT to fix this and have been upping my calories the last few days and reading and researching. I would love to know if I am in the right direction? How long will it take to ‘fix ‘ this? But, the last few days at a higher calorie I have slept a little longer which is a great surprise but, that’s not to say I am still in fear of gaining from eating too much?
    I am 5’8 and 155 right now, feel best at 145. I SIT all day at work but I do 50-70min of exercise 6 days a week and take one day off, the exercise I do is not “easy”, lots of squats, weight lifting, some days is cardio with weights and some days are all weights.
    Can you help me? Thank you!

    • First and foremost please go to the nearest hospital and get your blood, liver, kidneys, urine, testosterone checked if it’s normal.

      Please reduce your activity and increase your food intake.

      If you are afraid of increase in weight then just follow a diabetic diet or a slow carb diet..

      Do weights three times a week, focus on strength rather than endurance. Do more core workouts

      Do cardio twice a week but never on a treadmill…walk in a park or beach or whatever… Keep it natural.

      Increase your testosterone by eating nuts and red meat and saturated fat…

      The most important thing is to feel like a million dollars every morning.

      • Wow. What Tami described above is exactly me. I also am doing a 60 day challenge by beach body… My measurements are going up!
        I have had all my blood work done in the past and I am healthy!
        I sympathize 100%

  77. Hi , im 16 and 17 on 17 march
    Im 159 cm and weight 42,5 kg
    I eat around 700 kcal a day for 4 months and i struggel to get all my meals in body and feel extremely bloated event After eating a piece of brocolie and 30g meat
    My legs and arms are skinny bit my belly gets fatter and fatter and when i eat only 50 above 700 kcal i gain weight what must i do? Is my huge belly due to undereating?

    • Hi Jeanique
      It sounds like you are definitely under eating. You are very light in weight for your height and the reason you are putting on weight when you eat is most probably because your body is not happy at the weight you are at. The body is an amazing machine that will tell you when it is not happy.

      You will feel so much better if you eat more food. To keep healthy make sure you are eating real food eg cooked meat, eggs (if you are not intolerant) vegetables and fruit. Some vegetables may not suit you. Broccoli and other sulphur producing foods like cabbage can cause bloating.

      At your age you may still be growing so it is important that you support your body during this time and give it the additional calories to make sure your body can grow. Healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil and eating almonds will all help. Stay away from processed foods and soda drinks as although they may taste nice they are not good for you. If you are only eating 1,000 calories it is best if they are packed full of nutrients and not just empty sugary calories.

      I hope that helps.

      • Thanks so much for your advice , you to opened my eyes with Chriss and saved mefrom even more severe damage , recovery is gonna be tough but i m gratefull for youre advice 🙂

    • Jeanique,

      Please listen to other people’s advice. You need to eat more. I cannot stress this enough.

      Anna has some good advice above on the types of healthy foods you should be eating. Healthy fats from olive oil and nuts are very calorie dense even if their foods don’t have much mass. One tablespoon of oilive oil drizzled over your meat or on a piece of bread will give you 140 more calories. It goes down like nothing and can help you reach a healthy calorie target for the day.

      700 calories is quite simply not enough for anyone to survive. And no, you are not “gaining weight” on 750 calories. That’s still starvation level, and you should probably be eating more than 1,700 calories every day just to put down as many as the average woman. 1,700 calories is NOT a lot. People don’t get fat eating 1,700 calories each day in healthy foods.

      Some of the things you described in your post were extremely concerning to me because it sounded as if you might have an eating disorder and severe malnutrition.

      There is no way you should feel bloated after one piece of broccoli and one ounce of meat. I don’t know why you’re even measuring a single ounce because a standard serving of meat is 4 oz. One ounce is about two bites. It’s not even 50 calories.

      I did some Googling and a symptom of starvation is that you feel full really quick. That’s because your digestive system is deteriorating and the food stays inside your body longer than it should.

      Another symptom of severe malnutrition and protein deficiency is a very thin body with a bloated belly. This is not you gaining fat (you’re way on the other extreme from fat). This is your famished body retaining water in your belly because it’s barely hanging on. The skinny body, bloated belly look is well known among starving children in Africa.

      It seems that your body has lost the ability to properly judge its food intake. Do not trust that feeling of “fullness” after just one small bite. You can’t trust your body’s judgment for now so please trust in others. Talk to your parents and a doctor and tell them you have a problem with eating. Eat with others and take in as much food as they do. Trust in science, which has established that normal people need to be eating closer to 2,000 calories a day instead of a mere 700.

      Remember that you are NOT fat. You are dangerously underweight, so much that if you packed on 25 lbs you might be the weight of a “thin” runway model or actress.

      Seek help, and remember that you NEED to eat. This is your own health and your own life on the line.

      Chris

      • Thank you so much , what you said really opened my eyes you reallly gave me the advice i searched for a long time , thanks to you i finnaly felt free to talk about my eating dissordr with my dad amd we will as soon as possible be searching for a professional to help me with my nutrition recovery as well as my self esteem recovery and i know its going to be tough
        But i don t know how to thank you enough because i tried to ask so many people , had no response and my own ex dietitiam said that my belly problem was impossible to come from malnutrition thanks again for opening my eyes and saving me from even more severe health problems

  78. SO health. big word for me. where do I start off. I’m kind of confused about my health because idk if im eating right or if im screwing up my life the way im eating. first off I don’t eat breakfeast or lunch. I sometimes eat dinner. I go out on the weekends and mostly eat dinner only or once an a while i’ll buy a bag of chips to snack on. My weight hasn’t really changed from the last time that I have checked I think I weigh 130 and im 5’4 so idk whether that is healthy or not. I try not to eat during the day because I don’t like it when people look at me when I eat. I don’t eat in public because I feel like people are staring at me. I also haven’t been able to sleep lately because I have been thinking about stuff all night so I go to bed, cant sleep, and then wake up early. I haven’t felt the hunger in my stomach lately but I did vomit 3 weeks ago but it hurt a lot because I had nothing in my stomach. How are my eating habits guys? help me!

    • Maybe try thinking about what you will eat for breakfast or even make a meal the evening before? Maybe that way you would be more motivated to eat the breakfast.

    • It sounds like you have social anxiety around food if you don’t like eating around other people.

      The less you eat the more your stomach will shrink so you may not feel hungry but your body still needs to be nourished. Most people say that you should have at least two meals per day so breakfast is most probably a good one if you can have it on your own. Try frying a bit of bacon – most people can’t resist the smell 🙂 Or a ‘bullet proof coffee’ (If you haven’t heard of it try Googling it). Then make sure you have a really healthy and plentiful evening meal. Could you take some nuts such as almonds and walnuts with you so that you can snack on them when you are alone? As you eat more you will find your appetite returning and you will begin to enjoy food more.

  79. This was an interesting read and the comments even more so! I was just wondering if since I have been on a 1200 calorie diet for two weeks it would cause a loss of menses that quickly? I’m not pregnant and have had uber regular periods but am now 8 days late and cannot figure out any other reason..I am 5’8 and lost about 1.8 lbs last week. I am not underweight -more on the other end at 178.. Aiming for around 160. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  80. I’m trying lose about 5 kgs so i started tracking how many calories i’m eating. Im 15 years old female, 155cm and 52 kgs. And i wanted to eat healthier, so i used a calculator to find out how many calories i should eat per day and i got 1110 calories a day. So i start tracking how much i eat a day and i only come to about 700 calories a day. I wasn’t hungry thro, and i wanted to meet my 1110 cal per day but couldn’t. I workout for an hour and 20 minutes a day, 1 hour of HIIT and 2o minutes of squats, pushups and stuff. I really want to lose 6kgs/12pounds before the 26th of march because I’m going on holiday to japan and want to feel more comfortable in photos cause my mum loves to take heaps of pictures of me but i have felt uncomfortable in them because of my largish thighs and stomach. Any tips to lose 6kgs/ 12ish pounds in about 10 weeks? Also my older brother is about 45kgs and 160cm tall and needs to gain muscle weight i wanna help him out, anyone know what to do about that? he’s underweight, eats maybe 2200 cal a day, he’s really skinny, makes me kinda jealous to be honest.
    Someone help me! please?!?!!?

    • Vanilla, at 15 years old your body is still doing a great amount of growing and developing. I’m not sure which calculator you used but 1,110 calories is far, far too low for you. I don’t even need to know what your weight is, that’s just too low. A healthier amount would be over 2,000 calories, and as you’ve only been eating 700 calories and exercising quite a lot, you will need more calories than that to help your body recover from the energy deficit. I’m afraid that your lack of appetite and your feelings of anxiety about your body may very well be the result of the severe calorie deficit you are in. I’ve known many people who experienced great anxiety while under-eating and over-exercising, always believing that their anxiety would stop as soon as they achieved the “right” weight or size. But in truth, the more deprived you are of calories and nutrients, the worse and worse your anxiety will become. You will only become sicker if you continue to eat so little.

      • Wait melissa, according to her height, age and weight I’m very underweight! I’m 14, 159 cm tall and weight 42 kg. (I have some things the website describes.) My doctor never says it’s unhealthy… I would describe my body as: skinny arms and upper body, normal legs and waist (but on the slim side), if I compare it to students my age in school.
        Vanilla, I don’t see myself as skinny but I know I am, and I’m very uncomfortable with it. Remember that skinny girls can feel the same way as you do! I don’t know if that will help, but I wanted you to know. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’re very pretty <3
        (sorry for any grammar flaws, I'm dutch)

  81. The idea that you’re not losing weight because your calories are too low is utter nonsense.

    If you do not consume what your body needs to meet basic functions and meet your energy needs you will lose weight the entire time until you either eat more or die.

    You can’t beat your physiology. There is a reason you’ll starve to death if you don’t eat.

    Dieting to get really lean is simply controlled starvation.

    Metabolic adaptation can only go so far.

    I know 210 lbs guys who at 900 cals a day for 4 weeks. Guess what happened? They got shredded.

    Wasn’t fun but they sure as hell didn’t maintain their weight.

    • I’ve been eating 1200 calories for two weeks, my maintenance calories is 2075 and I work out 5 days a week doing spin class which, for my size, should be burning around 580 calories. So if your statement as true, I should be pouring off the weight, correct? I’m just wondering what sort of education or personal experience you have that entitles you to have such a strong opinion on the matter?

      • It actually is true.. If you are at a deficit you will lose weight. If your maintenance calories are truly2075 and you are eating 1200 then you would be losing weight, but bear in mind that as you get lighter, your maintenance calories decrease as well. It could also be that your maintenance is not truly 2075- I could plug my I information into every calculator in the world and they would all say my TDEE is 1600-1900 calories a day but in reality my BMR is just much too low for that.
        Weight could also be things other than fat. If someone is chronically constipated or retaining water because of not eating enough nutrients, then he or she may be losing fat but retaining weight in other forms- the scale wouldn’t budge at all that way

        • I am trying to wrap my head around this. I am 5’3 120lbs and have cellulite and soft areas that I want to tone and look leaner. I do cardio 4x/wk 35min and about 1 1/2hr weight training 4/5x/wk. My calorie intake always is at 1200 and normal carb days (100g carbs) and 8-900 on low carb (50g carbs) days as I try to carb cycle my always keep my fat and protein high. I’ve lost no weight and gotten no tone and have been doing this diet for a bout a yr, I’ve always exercised. I’ve recently started having a great deal of GI issues and food intolerances such as extreme bloating and stomach pain after dairy or leafy greens so have cut them out, but want to be able to eat them again. Could my diet really be the cause of me not losing weight or toning? I’m terrified to eat more thinking if I’m not losing weight eating this way that I’ll defi gain weight if I add more carbs and calories. Help please.

  82. Hello! I am a competitive swimmer on a team for about 7 years. We workout 2 hours each day. I eat around 1,200-1,400 calories each day. If I try to eat more I feel like I’m overeating and then I feel sort of guilty. I have noticed that my menstrual cycle has stopped for almost a year and lots of hair is falling out. For the past month I have been trying to eat more, and the calculator says I should eat more and I could maintain the same weight. However, I noticed that I have gained weight even though I haven’t reached my calorie intake limit. I am still missing my period, but i think I have gained weight. I really want to mantain my weight but I don’t understand what my calorie intake should be. Help

  83. Hi this article really caught my eye and made me realize just how much I under eat! I’m a 15 year old female weighing in at 100.6 pounds. (BMI is 119-128)
    Being a highschool student, I usually skip breakfast and sometimes lunch (only school days) to study, and usually only eat a small bowl of rice or pasta and/or other side dishes (a bit of fish, soup, eggs, etc.) for dinner. A lot of the symptoms describe me: always cold, not falling asleep until 1-2am, getting hangry. I am also constantly craving food but I had always chalked this up to my high metabolism, not under eating. Lately, I’ve also been feeling a slight urge to throw up whenever I eat food or think of eating it but I don’t know if it is because of stress or not. I am looking for foods to increase my calorie intake as well as stop the symptoms.
    Any suggestions?

    • You’re under eating, Definitelyyyyyy.
      Some healthy foods to boost that:
      -peanuts, almonds, cashews (and nut butters)
      -milkshakes (homemade with whole milk or organic ice cream or full fat yogurt)
      -whole grain bread or rye bread
      -oatmeal or muesli
      -eggs, chicken, good meats (not sausages or bacon)
      -avocado, pineapple, apples, cherries, raisins
      Wherever you can, use oil and butter (not margarine) to cook with.
      Make sure your food doesn’t have any nasty chemicals or weird stuff added. Also try some muscle building exercises.
      Good luck!

  84. Hi, this is a bit weird for me, seeing as im not on a diet, nor have i ever had a problem with undereating.
    However, I’m a male, 14, and I noticed that I was starving but couldn’t force food down my throat.
    In the last month I’ve eaten a lot more simple carbs than anything else which is a problem, but even that i can hardly eat.

    Anyways i noticed a large number of these apply to me (not the pregnant, or insomnia one, which was actually the opposite for me.) I was hoping for maybe an answer from you that isnt something i know, or whether its exactly what i think it is.

    Cheers!
    Keenan

    • Hi Keenan

      You should never have to ‘force’ food down your throat. Eating should be pleasurable. If you are only eating simple carbs (I presume you mean sugary snacks) your body may be asking for healthier food and you will feel better if you could eat some healthier foods. Try a couple of good meals and see how you feel.

  85. Hello, I’m seventeen and recently I’ve gotten into the habit of under-eating provoked by my GED (general anxiety disorder). I’m one of those people that when stressed, can’t really eat and though I’ve started to eat more, I still have days where I actually forget. I used to never have this problem because I’ve always loved food. I know I didn’t eat as much between the ages of 11-13, but I don’t recall it ever causing an issue such as affecting my sleep. Sometimes I’ll miss breakfast and before I know it, it’s 5pm and I’ve had nothing more than a pb&j. I know my issue is food and anxiety-related, because when I do eat more, I sleep much better. My main disruption is waking up sometimes hungry. I’m 5’8″ and stay between 130-150 weight, sometimes higher. My anxiety has actually been declining, as I’m taking action to solve it. I’ve had it for two years so I’m a little confused as to why food would only start to affect me now.

    • Hi Tray

      It sounds as though you are doing well with your anxiety. As you most probably know anxiety can ebb and flow and can pop up in different places. Just when you think you’re OK with something the anxiety will surface somewhere else. At least you understand what you should be doing so hopefully by eating healthily, when you remember, will help with the anxiety too.

  86. Hey I figure I have a eating problem but I don’t really know why. I don’t eat lunch and I eat very little for supper. Even when im hungry food just doesn’t appeal to me and I usually only eat when I’m starving. I’ve tried eating at lunch but I end up feeling shaky and sick feeling. I wonder if its coming from parent problems or something but I’ve been like this since September and I still don’t really know why. I’m happy with my weight but I am a picky eater. I hope you can help this make a little more since to me, thanks.

  87. I will go a whole day without eating most of the time or some days I will only eat once. When I do eat I don’t eat much and then a few hours later I’ll be hungry again but I won’t especially if I’ll eat dinner and be hungry around ten and I’m trying to sleep but can’t. I usually don’t fall asleep until two or three am and I’m tired the next day. I have never been sick after not eating a whole day but I didn’t eat at all the other day and I’ve had a migraine for three days and I felt like I was going to vomit everytime I tried to eat. I made myself eat today but I still felt sick. I’m 5’3 and weigh between 130 and 140, I walk every day and I’ve been losing a lot of weight. Y clothes don’t even fit anymore. But I’ve nevereeaten much and I’m usually not ever hungry so I won’t eat if I’m not hungry. What should I do about this?

    • You might try sipping a glass of water slowly before eating. Take your time, sit down and sip. Enjoy the company of a friend as you sit and sip water.

  88. I have all of these symtoms but have reverse dieted my way to 2100 calories. I’ve been at this level about three months but symptoms aren’t going away. I am 5’6″ 110
    Do I need more calories? Or will it just take time as I continue at this level?

    • Try adding some more calories. You’re still technically underweight as your BMI is 17.75 (BMI of 18.5-25 is considered “healthy”). You could potentially stand to gain 5-10 pounds. That might help kick start your hormonal function and improve your symptoms.

      Of course this is a complete guess, there may be other things going on that you need more one-on-one help with.

  89. My boyfriend always is telling me I don’t eat enough. I’m 16, 5’2 & I’m 105 pounds. Latelty I iust can’t eat or drink, a couple of minutes ago I tried drinking water & I puked it up without even being able to swallow it all the way. I’m anemic, as well. These past 3 days, I haven’t ate at all. Every time I do, I just puke it up. I’m extremely cold right now, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, and everything makes me sad & want to cry. If I’m not crying I am angry & I don’t understand. when I stand I become very light headed & I feel like all my weight is on my legs & it’s tiring. I’m extremely tired but I can’t sleep. I know this may sound as to much information to some, but I started my period yesterday as well, I am bleeding a lot more than I ever have. Being that I’m anemic I believe this is causing this all. I don’t know how to fix it though, I would appreciate some helpful comments please.

    • Call your doctor as soon as you can. It may be something serious and is better to outrule that first. To me it does not sound like a consequence of chronic undereating and even trying to add to your caloric intake can be challenging at the state you are now.

    • i don’t know if you very already solved this problem or not but I figured I’d give you some advice. I don’t each much maybe 1 a day if I remember to. In 19& weigh about 213. Weird right you’d think I weigh less but unfortunately not. I’ve always had extremely bad periods. Bleeding for weeks on end until I went to the er and found out I’m anemic. My blood levels were at a 4.6 and your not supposed to get a blood transfusion unless you’re about to hit a level 7 so you could only imagine how weak I was. I couldn’t even stand in the shower I would get dizzy and nauseous and my Dr was surprised I was even conscious. I stayed for a week and a half got three blood transfusions and got more sleep than I ever remember. He gave me iron pills and frolic acid and it worked wonders. Ibproferen can work also for menstrual flow& getting sleep. I had the worst moods swings ever and had trouble from being emotional at work because no matter how tired I was I couldn’t sleep. Although I still have trouble with under eating and I get killer migraines my period only last 5 days and barely any blood. So buy some iron & folic acid pills for the dizzyness & ibproferen for sleeping. I truly hope you’re feeling better now.

  90. since I’ve come of holiday and moved to partners house what has been very hectic and stressful,with depression and meds too I’ve not seem to be eating that much but I’ve gained four pounds in about a month!!!!?I’m getting dishatend at this as I’m 48 and don’t want to be so low in mood that I’m going to get bigger,need a boost or a kick…..?

    • Your situation may be different than mine but when I lived with my ex I started to gain a lot of weight, I went from 125 to 175 in just a few months. I’m not sure what it was but I just assumed that it was just that I wasn’t happy and overly stressed bc as soon as I moved back home I started to lose all that weight fast and I lose more every day, my clothes don’t even fit anymore. If you are unhappy or stressed get out now bc it will only get worse. If there are just a few issues try to work them out and if that can’t be then just leave. Everyone deserves to be happy and no one needs to live with stress bc it just wears you down. Good luck, hope everything works out for you. 🙂

  91. I’m definitely in the “not enough calories” boat right now, but having a hard time getting out of it! I have celiac disease and a dairy allergy, and there is a long list of foods that seem to bother me due to a leaky gut. Because if this, and the fact that I’m a working mom with 2 kids and don’t have a lot of time, I’ve been eating a lot of spring greens salads with a little lean meat on top because it’s easy. Sounds healthy, until it’s the bulk of your diet and you’re barely hitting 1,000 calories). Over the past several months my weight loss has stalled (I lost 80 lbs and then just stopped about 20 lbs from my ideal weight), I’m not sleeping well, and I’m not getting the returns I should be getting from the time I put in at the gym. i know I need more carbs but honestly I’m not sure what sources to add in that would pack the biggest punch nutritionally.

    • I wondered if you found any food options? I am 32 with celiac and a dairy allergy, as well as soy, egg, nuts, and beef. It’s hard making my calories when there’s so much I can’t eat and I have 3 kids so I tend to grab for the quick and easy!

  92. Hi! I recently discovered I was undereating for what I would assume was years due to medications (Celexa, Topamax). I’ve been off of Celexa for a year, but am still taking Topamax. Each time I started one of these medications I lost some weight. About 5 lbs with Celexa, 10 with Topamax the first time I took it. I was actually doing a blog post of my own and my sister made a comment like “That’s ALL you ate today?”. I’m not an active person, my fitbit says on average 4k steps a day most of which coming from working out which is about an hour 5-6x a week. I calculated the food I ate that day and it was just over 800 calories! I remember being completely stuffed that day. I’m a person that never counted calories either, I just ate via intuition so finding this out was terrifying and I had no idea how it happened. I kept track the next few days too and each time it was still around 800-900 calories. I was diagnosed with IBS in 7th grade (now 25) so my digestion is sluggish to begin with and I get constipation VERY often, but now I’m wondering if it’s partly due to the lack of food. I began slowly increasing calories as soon as i found out about a month ago, but I’m experiencing edema? First in my abdomen for a week or so after the initial increase and then it moves to my thighs. Is this normal? Also, I’m 5’3″, was 135lbs when I started (no clue what I am now…140-142? haha theres noticeable swelling in my legs where i typically gain weight), but my comfortable weight is around 10lbs lighter which is what I was about a year ago and since then the weight hasn’t been able to come off which was also a sign of me undereating now I see! I’ve also seen recommendations to eat 2000-2500 calories to help bring the body back to homeostasis, usually with ED patients, but according to most of the calculators I should be consuming around 1800 to maintain. What should I do, eat 1800 or between 2000-2500? sorry for the questions, I’m stressing about the bloating and constipation that’s currently happening and at what calorie intake my body will go back to normal (maybe even go down to 125 ish), and can’t find anything that really pertains to my situation with me being understanding of the bloating that’s happening, eating well below my limits but being an average weight, not being an ED patient, etc. I’ve only been doing yoga a few times a week instead of my usual workouts because with the ED stuff they said your body can’t repair itself if you’re still working out because you’re using the energy instead of putting it towards repairs. Is this true or would I still be able to do light exercise because I enjoy it. Sorry again for all the questions! gahh!

    P.S. my sister’s a personal trainer and has done a bikini competition where she discovered she was also undereating for the amount of activity she was doing so her coach did something called reverse dieting which is basically just increasing calories EXTREMELY slowly over a few months. I think she went up to 2100 from 1400 and also experience minor swelling but I don’t remember it being as noticeable as mine. She did recommend I go up to 2100 calories though for a few months to level out while doing some lifting at the gym and then come down to 2000 for maintenance.

  93. I have been under eating for a while and I apply to many of these symptoms. I am also WAYYYY underweight. My parents said this might be a doctor situation. But before we do that I will show them this website and hope for the best.

    🙂

      • I also forgot to say this

        I started not eating when I ate almost nothing for a whole week because I got very sick and all my mom would give me was nasty tea and soup. So, I just didn’t eat it.

        Here are the Things I apply to
        I can’t fall asleep,
        my mood is un-predictable-ish,
        And I’m always very cold.

        • Taryn,

          Not eating can become a habit-a bad one. Starvation can give people a ” high”, and change the brain function-leading to possible anorexia. You can do some searches into neuroplasticity/anorexia/habit. You possibly also starved many of your microbes. More fat will warm you up. Coconut oil will actually make you leaner, as it does work on changing the microbe levels. You can add more fiber, resistant starches, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, . and berries. Certain microbes will help make us fat, and you may want some fat on you, except for belly fat.
          As for grains, that is up to you. Sometimes very skinny people have celiac or grain intolerance. Try an egg drink with eggs, butter, some sweet potatoes, berries, avocados along with some spices mixed in a blender along with some hot water, and drink it. You can read some of my other replies also about my size.

  94. That was a great read!
    I have been under eating since the past five years. When I started cutting out on my food, I weighed around 176 pounds. However, I shed weight drastically and have got stuck at 118 pounds for the last three years. I am a 22 year old Software Engineer measuring 5’4”. I try to go for long, brisk walks for an hour and a half on weekdays and prefer doing yoga on weekends.

    I am struggling with getting on to start eating properly. What holds me back is the fear that I would get back to square one (176 pounds) in no time of me beginning to ‘eat’ again. Lately, I have been having irregular periods also. My hands remain cold most of the time and I tend to get anxious and peeved easily.

    All I can say is that I need help with correcting my diet. Any suggestions regarding how to go about it would be appreciated.

    -Subleen

  95. I am 44 years old, for the past 20 years I have tried every diet known to man or woman with no luck. I am a chronic under eater. I can go an entire day without eating a thing. I dont get hungry. I have a high stress life as well, not job so much as life stress. I started dating a body builder and he has made me start to follow an eat every few hours type of diet, and at first it seemed to work, but now I am eating every few hours and gaining instead of losing. I have had my thyroid tested- its normal although I have all of the symptoms of low thyroid function. I am currently at 200 pounds. I eat oatmeal with honey for breakfast, then i have a hand full of nuts, and a protein shake, I have a salad with either chicken breast meat or tuna, and a little dressing. I have a cup of what ever I made for dinner the night before which is usually meat ( beef chicken breast or fish), and veggies ( zucchini, mushrooms, celery, broccoli, onions, peppers) at some point in the day I have a cup of brown rice, a sweet potato or white potato.I drink 2 ltrs of water a day or close to that as some days I cant drink it, and nothing else. I try to stay away from sugars and bread but once in a while i treat myself to a croissant or a piece of cinnamon toast or cereal with almond milk instead of oatmeal. If i eat bread its multigrain. I occasionally eat fruit.and if i fall off the wagon and want something sweet I eat a chocolate chip cookie or 2. But my issue is that i feel that i have gone from one extreme to another and now I eat too much food. I need help! I eat small portions, but I am still struggling and I cant lose the pounds. I try to take walks, but I have 0 energy. I also try to keep up with the bedroom but its also hard when you have no drive and hate your body. I am not a morning person, but I work almost every day- days off i could stay in bed all day if i didnt have stuff to do.
    Suggestions anyone????

    • By eating throughout the day you will be constantly raising your insulin levels. This will prevent you from losing weight. You would be better having three good meals per day with about 4 hours between each one. Try and avoid having too much carbs – either rice or potatoes in a day but not both. If you can leave 12 hours between your evening meal and your breakfast your body will release glucose overnight and lower your levels ready for the next day.

  96. My issue is almost never talked about. I have trouble gaining weight. I hover around 110 lbs. on a 5’4″ frame. This was my normal body weight as a teenager but I’m 63 now. The most I’ve ever weighed is 127 and at that weight I looked pudgy and bloated, even with exercise. But at 110 I’m too thin and worry about frailty as I get older.

    I’ve been gluten intolerant for over 30 years and also can’t eat dairy. Eating Paleo, without grains, beans and dairy, high calorie foods are hard to come by. I lift weights but gain very little muscle, in part because of my low post-menopausal hormone levels. But it feels impossible to eat enough calories to gain weight. I know about healthy fats and root vegetables, but how many sweet potatoes with coconut oil can I eat in one day?

    I don’t have most of the symptoms of too few calories. My hair is good, I’m not constipated or cold. But I do have osteoporosis in the lumbar spine even with the weightlifting. And sex drive, what’s that? I chalk it up to age, but it’s depressing.

    Somebody said to just eat more of what I already eat. I’ve heard too much protein is bad for us. ? Vegetables don’t add many calories although I eat plenty of them. (No nuts at the moment because I’m doing the autoimmune protocol for three months to see if I bring chronic inflammation under control.)

    Any suggestions?

    • I have the same problem, but I’m a male 67. Weight about 116, 5′ 7.5″ I was vegan for 2 years, but recently I tried something different–began eating WHITE rice with beans. (BTW, to hell with “paleo”). A few billion Asians mst know something many in the health food industry don’t know: you can’t extract enuf calories from brown rice, not without eating a ton, and then, since you’ve eaten a ton, and yer all clogged, you can’t extract enuf calories. Anyway, one day at lunch, when I ate a large bowl of white rice and red lentils (red lentil: cooks very fast, and is ez to digest), and added seasalt and alotta spices and a heaping teaspoon of tahini–well, I hadn’t felt that good after meal in don’t know how long. Hey, I went the sweet potato route. I enjoy those meals, but the rice and bean meal put me back on the map of feeling good from a meal, and not vaguely ‘Inflamed”. Last word: don’t listen TOO hard to anyone., especially the anti-carb crowd. Keep seeking, and watch your expectations. Aging is inevitable.

      • Hi Johnny,
        Thanks for sharing your experience. It just goes to show that there’s no one size fits all where diet is concerned. I did the vegetarian, rice and lentils thing for years and just got sick…chronically congested, acid reflux…and I’ve done the white rice too –it’s not bad but I notice quickly that I don’t feel well. A Paleo approach is best for me overall. My body loves meat. Glad you found what works for you!

        • Louise,

          We could not afford a lot of meat when my sisters and I were growing up. Sweets were rare, and beans and rice along with maybe some neck bones were a large part of our diets. My parents and their parents probably did not get enough nourishment. My mom was slim, but did not have a large pelvic and was told not to eat much when pregnant with me( I was the middle one). Her mom was my size, and my dad was short, although my mom and her farher were tall. I weighed 5 lb and was not premature. At least as we got older we could afford more meat. I tried for some years to cut down on meat. That did not work out well. I could not control my blood sugar. I need more meat and fat, other wise, I stay hungry and shaky, and in pain. .

    • Hi Louise,

      I am about your age, am 5 feet at about 100 lb. I am small boned though, and look thin only in my rib cage. When I weighed 15 lb heavier(before LCHF) I still looked thin in my rib cage. I want to look small around my waist. I can add some potatoes and nuts though. At very strict LCHF(just meat, vegetables and fat ) I lost too much weight. Can you handle macadamia nuts? Have you tried goat cheese or whey? Butter and ghee never gave me any problems. I was very thin as a teenager. My mom was put on a diet (so not to have a big baby). Epigenetics affect your weight, and you may never be able to gain weight without it being a unhealthy weight. Audrey Hepburn was very thin all her life, but she underwent starvation when she was growing up. Hope this helps some.

      • Hi Cindy, I appreciate your response. Like you, I’m small boned to begin with. Macadamia nuts — love them! They’re part of my diet (except for right now while I’m doing an autoimmune protocol for a few months). They don’t help me gain weight, however. I love butter and goat cheese/yogurt too, but sadly they don’t love me. I haven’t tried ghee but I just got some grass-fed beef tallow which will add some calories to my sautéed veggies.

        What you say about epigenetics is very interesting. My mother was not a dieter, but you could be right that I “may never be able to gain weight without it being an unhealthy weight.” Almost no attention is paid to this problem because most people suffer from the other extreme. Additionally, seniors are not the target audience of this website or any of the others that I read to learn about Paleo/low carb eating. We seem to be an invisible population. But there are a lot of us! Thanks for your comments.

  97. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have gained 15 pounds, I can’t seem to lose any weight. I am 5 3 and weigh 145 pounds. Can anyone offer any advice to lose weight with a thyroid condition, I am monitored closely by my dr and my tsh is in the Normal range. I have been struggling for a year and am so discouraged. I eat around 1200 calories a day and have a moderate exercise level walking 10000 steps a day.

    • The TSH is irrelevant. Find a doctor who will test Free T3 and Free T4s, and will prescribe desiccated thyroid. Join the natural thyroid hormone group on yahoo and you will get a lot of info.

  98. Oh, yes! I had severe anxiety, religious obsessions (I am a practicing Catholic, and these were not anything consistent with my religion), obsessions with food and weight, depression, crying spells, exhaustion, trouble sleeping, and noticing that my weight and water weight would change super easily. When I started eating more, a lot of problems just *disappeared*. Not all of them right away, but eventually. I also had to eat a lot more for a while to make up for weight loss, and my weight increased and settled to a healthy weight.

  99. I have a very restrictive diet due to health complications, food intolerances & allergies… That being said, I am starting to think that I might not be getting enough calories. I eat a ton, or so I think, but I have sometimes calculated my intake (out of curiosity) and if my calculations are correct, I eat at MAX about 1400 calories. I also work out a ton… I get tired very easily… But I also cannot eat many food groups in general… So I don’t know. I always think I am eating a ton but perhaps I am actually not? Who knows. This is a very complicated issue, and certainly NOT one size fits all… Also, that being said, I am actually not frequently cold, I am actually quite HOT on the regular… But the one symptom I definitely have, infertility. I know I cannot get pregnant, and haven’t gotten my period in years. Hm… Doctors are clueless for me, it’s almost a waste to go to them at this point.

  100. I have all these symptoms except the can’t get pregnant, loss of hair (altho I did a couple months ago) & coldness. My hands and feet are, but rest of my body is pretty warm. Altho the coldness I had a couple months ago too.

    I’m worried because I work out every day, and run 2 miles at least 3 times a week, yet I’m not losing weight or even toning up my legs, butt, abs etc. Constipation and falling asleep/staying asleep are the biggest that ring true for me…idk what to do. To toy my daily calories up or down, exercise more? I already do about 4-6 hours a week?!

  101. laura,
    where do i begin… i guess i should say I’m bulimic(binge/purge)… i have had this ED for probably the last four years and i am so tired and sick of this disease. I really want and need to stop and get better. with that being said… i came across your site and it really caught my eye… i don’t know were/who to turn to anymore and maybe you have some validating answers… Yes, i have been for help but…. that just didn’t work. so let me start now… i have always been into healthy eating and fitness… ALWAYS, and let me add I DO know the correct way to eat but since this ED i can’t wrap my head around eating the correct way..i lost weight (my current weight is about 98-100lbs) which I’m sure is too low,and i definitely restrict my calories (but in a weird way, i like the way i feel and look) which is such an oxymoron because I’m always tired, i look to thin and my workouts suffer from them and half the time i do not want to work out anymore(which is so unlike me).. i have to also say that since this ED i have given up almost ALL carbs(complex carbs ) salads, etc, the only thing that i kept in my diet is fish, eggs whites and some dairy… occasionally i would eat a salad with fish or some type of shellfish.. some PB, (which is a trigger food) avocado.. sometimes i think everything i eat is a trigger food. anything i eat i purge whether it is a binge or not.. i start my day (i think the right way) scrambled eggs whites …and than i panic… for lunch and dinner it ALWAYS turns into some type of binge/purge whether its healthy food or junk food… I need to start a program where i can get back on track and start feeling good… i want my workouts to feel good not like a job actually this disease is a job that i want to quit….UHG!!! I hate the word diet because i don’t believe in diet i believe you eat healthy and the rest will follow … but something happened and i lost control. i have had blood work and everything has come back fine.. maybe i have adrenal fatigue not sure it doesn’t show in my blood work.. i do not SLEEP at all actually i have become an night owl …. i can eat and bing/purge in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping…so night sleeping (up all night) not eating the correct way and binging/purging I’m sorta unfunctionable. I am hoping you can steer me in the right direction, maybe have some answers for me, maybe a new way of handling the way i eat … (btw .. its is very hard for me to eat 5-6 small meals a day) I’m bar with 3 meals -if that) you may not have the background in ED’S BUT hopefully you will have some type of answers. i can not afford a nutrutionist or help at this time .. so i decided to email you i know its a long email… but hopefully i will hear back from you.
    thanks
    ssemom

  102. Hi my name is Melanie. I a under eater. I’m experinceing the stress, moody, shakyness, and lack of interest in sex. I’m trying to get better. I gone to the doctors and they all said the same thing that I am healthy. I just stopped eating and now I want to eat again before I make my body worse.

  103. Hello,
    I suffer from binge eating and compulsive overeating.
    In the last 5 years I went from 70KG to 140KG because of a depression that made me stop doing lots of sports as I used to do.
    Now the depression is gone, but i am 50KG overweight and since 3 month I have diabetes type 2.
    Since I got the diabetes I only ate the allowed foods and not the forbidden ones according to the doctor.
    But because of my binge eating and over eating disorder I eat too much of the allowed foods.
    I eat like 4 packages of rice cookies with 2 pots of sugar free strawery jam…….
    This is no good, because I don`t loose weight and slowly gain more……
    I eat a perfect healthy diet all day, but at some point of the day I HAVE to binge……..
    I tried everything and don`t know what to do.
    A person recommend me your web site, so I contact you by this post…..
    And the thing is that everyone says a different thing……….”you will cure the diabetes by being vegetarian”, “by being vegan”,”eat 2 eggs a day”, “only eat one egg weekly”, “do the paleo diet” and so on……..
    My main goal is not to cure the diabetes, is to stop binging and over eating so I can loose 50 KG…….
    I am in South America right now.
    Much thanks

  104. I have been on nutrisystem for about 5 months and I have lost about 50 lbs. I am on an 1800 calorie program with a combination of protein and smart carbs through the day.
    At first the weight was flying off and the past few weeks, i have barely lost a pound and this week, i gained five.
    The suggestion from nutrisystem is for me to eat an hour within waking up and to eat my last snack later. I am going to see how that works. I am female, 5’7 and I currently weigh 460 lbs.
    My goal weight for now is 300 lbs. Any suggestions, besides surgery is appreciated

    • Hi, love that your goal for now is reasonable. It is so important for your body to get all the nutrients it needs to get healthy. It is so hard to maintain weight loss if you are unhealthy. The trick here is to give your body what it needs to get healthy and stay away from foods, chemicals, toxins etc that it is sensitive to. Once the body starts to heal, then the weight can come off easier. Your body needs vegetables (green leafy ones, cruciferous ones and bright coloured ones) every day. I have one type with every meal to get all 3 types in. Green leafy ones at breakfast, cruciferous at lunch and coloured at supper. Very important. You also need protein and healthy fats with every meal. Animal protein is the easiest to get all the amino acids from that your body needs to heal and build and sustain your body with. All you need is about 4-5 oz ( the size of the palm of your hand) with every meal to start. As your body starts to heal you can reduce that amount. I needed to eat that much protein with every meal for 2 years before my body started craving/needing less. Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil (on salads, in soups etc), avocado, nuts, eggs, cheese, yogurt and organic butter are all good sources. Again with every meal. Fat will NOT make you fat. It is cereal, bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, processed foods etc if eaten in excess will cause the weight gain. It is fine to have some refined carbs like pasta, or rice for example at supper or starchy foods like potatoes. Your body needs some starchy food. They will also help you sleep at night but only ¼ cup. Too much of anything is unhealthy. Fats are higher in calories than protein and veggies/carbs, but they are essential for your health! If you eat real food, not in boxes or bags etc, then calories don’t count much. Eat vegetables, meat and healthy fat with a small amount of starchy carbs and you can’t go wrong.
      Now this does not take into consideration whether or not you are sensitive to gluten, dairy, sugar etc. If you are, they need to be eliminated from your diet, but at least you now have the basics to get healthy and lose weight. Walking is also soooo important. Any type of movement all day is needed. It is a good habit to get into. There is more, but that comes later. Try this for a few months and see how you feel. I think feeling good/healthy is more important than losing the weight. I truly believe the weight will come off if you can adopt a healthy lifestyle (food, sleep, movement and stress management) and get rid of the things that are causing you to be inflamed like not eating a balanced meal with all 3 macro nutrients in it. Hope this helps.

  105. Hi I’m Kassidy. I’m 5″4 and weight 117 pounds. I between 500-700 calories a day and do exercise like abs or biking every other day. I cut down calories because consuming a regular 900-1200 had me stuck and I was not seeing any difference in weight at all. I eat healthy, (like, REALLY healthy) and I’m just kinda confused?? Like I know I’m not fat but I would like to be comfortable in my own skin. Is it possible I’ve lost all the weight I could while it still being considered healthy? Am I not soupossed to loose anymore?

    • Hi Kassidy, assuming you are female, while your current wt of 117# is within a normal BMI range for your height (BMI of 20, normal wt range: 18-24.9), unless you are several decades older than 90 years old, your caloric intake is too low by more than 50 percent with the amount of physical activity you do. What is your age? If you are 18 yrs old, then the amount of calories needed just for breathing and keeping your body temperature going without doing anything else or lifting a finger is about 1400 Cals/day, that is your basal energy expenditure (BEE) If you are 90yrs old that BEE goes down to about 1100 calories per day, just for breathing!
      Please consider increasing your calories to at least double what you are doing now with planned future increases. Perhaps starting early in the morning to eat something and spreading out your calories every 3 to 4hrs. My guess is the weight you are loosing is your muscles and the scale is not always the best measure of sucess. Are you thriving?

  106. Eat disorder are unfortunately very common. There’s probably some one you know that has it.
    Consuming a extremely low amount of calories has a number of side effects as you have listed. But it also lowers your metabolism. And when it does you wont see any results which causes you to lower even more. This is how people end up in the hospital.
    The only healthy way to get into better shape is by making a lifestyle change. Start eating more nutritious foods and exercising regularly.

    Great Post. Keep up the great work.

  107. I had no idea! Just tracked my calories and I am definitely under eating–this explains so much! Any idea how long it takes for symptoms to resolve? Hair loss is a big one, extra weight and feeling cold–all of which I attributed to thyroid.

  108. I’m a *nursing mom* struggling to overcome chronic illness (a lifetime of worsening health issues, unnecessary gallbladder removal, having to figure out health issues myself, chronic pain, almost dying, finally a severe endometriosis diagnosis, surprising miracle pregnancy/baby, suspected gluten sensitivity etc., etc.).

    I have gleaned so much knowledge from this website for years. Thank you for your invaluable work that is helping people like myself on a journey to healing!

    This article is very timely for me as I’ve suspected some of my health problems are linked to not being able to get enough calories, protein deficiency, nutrient deficiencies, and possible thyroid problems (but I’m having trouble getting accurate testing of many of these things).

    I’ve followed the autoimmune paleo protocol for over a year postpartum and cannot seem to get enough calories to sustain me day in and day out. I’ve never once cheated on this diet.

    I do eat white rice out of necessity as a nursing mom (not because I love grains or possible gluten cross reactivity). I do not restrict calories. Some of the things I eat include bananas, sweet potatoes, lots of tuna and fish, avocados, coconut oil, gelatin, dessicated liver, fish oil, grassfed beef.

    Not being able to get enough calories is really affecting my quality of life. I constantly cook, eat, feel like I cannot function for more than an hour or two without eating, repeat. I cannot seem to get enough food to sustain me. I’ve always had trouble maintaining a healthy weight and especially now. Getting out is almost impossible at times. I pack my own food everywhere I go (to avoid gluten contamination) and cannot seem to pack enough to sustain my body.

    Do you have any food tips to help with this? I’d greatly appreciate it any insight here.

    Until then, I’ll continue reading your website and comments very frequently as I’m able as I’ve done for years. Thank you so much for your help and articles!

  109. I’m currently a *nursing mother* who deals with and has dealt with chronic illness (the details of which are too lengthy to explain quickly here–lifetime of worsening health issues, unnecessary gallbladder removal, had to figure out health issues on my own, almost died, finally an endometriosis diagnosis, miracle baby, etc., etc.), and I was so thankful to come across this article as it’s very timely for me.

    After coming to the conclusion that I probably had some sort of gluten intolerance or possibly celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity a few months postpartum, I started the autoimmune protocol paleo diet and have been doing so for almost a year. It has been really difficult to do this diet as a new mom with chronic illness, but I’ve never cheated on the diet as I’m desperate to be well.

    I feel I might be suffering from a protein deficiency, other nutrient deficiencies, and maybe thyroid problems (possibly have had these issues for a long time). I’ve had an extremely difficult time finding practitioners to accurately test things, and doctor trips mostly feel like a waste of my precious time and energy.

    ***I particularly feel like I’m not getting enough calories.*** I’m one of those who has had a consistently difficult time maintaining a healthy weight my whole life and especially now.

    I eat white rice on the autoimmune protocol–not because I’m excited about grains or possible gluten cross reactivity–but out of necessity as a nursing mom. Some of the things I eat include bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, coconut oil, lots of fish, gelatin, dessicated liver, fish oil, recently grassfed beef (I had never really eaten beef much before my whole life and had avoided it out of fear that it would negatively impact endometriosis, but I think I’m benefiting from it’s rich nutrients and heavy caloric load.). I do not restrict calories. I am benefiting from all these things.

    ***However, I still cannot seem to get enough calories! Do you have any calorie suggestions for a nursing mom with often low energy trying to recover from chronic illness?***

    It is really affecting my quality of life! I literally cook and eat all day long when at home. I pack my own food everywhere I go to avoid gluten cross contamination and other foods I cannot have, but it seems I cannot pack enough to successfully sustain me. When I’m out of the home (which is unfortunately not that often because of how taxing it is on my body), I particularly have a hard time meeting my body’s needs as it still feels I need to be eating constantly. I cannot seem to get enough food to function for more than an hour or two before needing more food. It feels like a viscous cycle: cook, eat, feel badly–like I can’t function until I eat more, repeat.

    If you could help me, I’d greatly appreciate it!

    Until then, I’ll continue frequenting this website as Chris Kresser’s work has been such a help to me for years. Thank you for your work! You’re helping people like me!

  110. As a nutritionist myself, I could not agree more with this article! A huge problem I am finding recently is how to get in enough calories for those suffering from SIBO. There’s just not enough carbohydrates they can eat. What can they do?? (I know a lot of people use plantains and white potatoes, but according to Dr. Siebecker at NCNM, these should not be part of a SIBO diet.)

    • You could try an elemental diet to get rid of your SIBO and then repress a recurrence with natural antibiotics like garlic, cayenne, peppermint oil… (oregano oil is also very good, but could be harmful if used long-term.) You can find a lot of helpful info on the siboinfo website.

      I’m in the midst of a modified elemental diet (modified only insofar I use whey protein hydrolysate instead of synthetic aminos because I can’t get the latter in the quantities I need where I live.) So far all of the SIBO symptoms have disappeared, no bloating or intestinal discomfort at all. I’ve never felt this good in my life.

      Carbs I consume are pure glucose (500g! I need those calories!) and a little honey (contains glucose and fructose, both of which are fine as long as they are present as simple sugars and not as sucrose etc). Since I drink some of the diet every hour I don’t have any worsened blood sugar issues, in fact my blood sugar is more stable than before. I only take MCT oil since I have a fat malabsorption (probably due to the SIBO, but might also be causative, we’ll see.)

  111. I found this article very fascinating. I think this is a great read because many people don’t realise that common health problems can be caused by their diet. The points that you have made in this post are very interesting and full of facts that people need to know. I learnt from reading this that hair loss is a sign of nutritional deficiency. It is hard to sleep on an empty stomach, this is why many people are mid-night snacking. The point you made about knowing how much you should eat, the recommended daily US calorie intake is 2,700 calories a day for a man and 2,200 calories a day for a woman, but don’t you think people should also work out their TDEE so they have an idea of how many calories they need to function and take that into consideration when they want to lower calorie intake?

  112. I found this article very fascinating. I think this is a great read because many people don’t realise that common health problems can be caused by their diet. The points that you have made in this post are very interesting and full of facts that people need to know. I learnt from reading this that hair loss is a sign of nutritional deficiency.
    It is hard to sleep on an empty stomach, this is why many people are mid-night snacking.
    The point you made about knowing how much you should eat, the recommended daily US calorie intake is 2,700 calories a day for a man and 2,200 calories a day for a woman, but don’t you think people should also work out their TDEE so they have an idea of how many calories they need to function and take that into consideration when they want to lower calorie intake?

  113. We removed gluten & dairy from my 6 year old daughter’s diet 4 months ago and her asthma went completely away! Yay! BUT…..now we are dealing with mood swings and other issues. She refuses to eat most of the things we offer, so I know this is her problem! Her body is hungry! Would recommendations be the same for a child?

    • You really need to focus on making these healthy foods fun, whether it be cutting into fun shapes, serving in kid appealing dishes, making the foods characters in a story etc. Also get her involved in the preparation and talk to her about how food can be healing or make her sick and remind her of how she felt before removing gluten and dairy. Just a suggestion but you may want to try raw and grass fed dairy in small amounts. I can eat that while commercial dairy makes me sinusy with drainage.

    • My son’s behavioral symptoms deteriorated in tandem with his increasing anorexia at the age of six. By the time we began implementing a gut-healing protocol (completely flying by the seat of our pants, because we had been vegetarian up until that time, and he was REALLY sick), he would literally eat three foods only. He would eat half a bite of food and say he was full. He lined of miniscule pieces of avocado (1/70th of the fruit) on his plate, and say that there was too many to eat. One day, he sat in his chair for eight hours, rather than try one spoonful of broth (a “new” food). His tantrums lasted for hours…

      I am absolutely convinced that he would not be the amazingly-by-comparison healthy child that he is today, if we had not FINALLY gotten him over his eating disorder, to the point where, after many years of super-hard work, he will eat all the nutrient-dense foods that I put on his plate, including raw liver (!!!).

      I am convinced that modern children’s “picky eating” disorders are the first stages of gut dysbiosis, and while it’s common to be a Picky Eater, it is NOT normal.

      Our healing journey continues…and I continue to write about it as I can, to try to spare other parents some of the tremendous heartache that we dealt with along the way. Many of my essays and blog entries are password-protected to spare my son’s privacy, but you are welcome to create an account on my site and send me a brief introduction if you’d like to read the private entries.

      Below is a link to my “picky eating manifesto”:

      http://www.lifeisapalindrome.com/updates/our-gaps-case-study-and-my-picky-eating-manifesto

  114. So many of the anti-drug holistic doctors giving advice on the internet say NOT to worry about counting calories and to focus on eating healthy instead. Even Dr. Oz has said that on his show and has had other experts in their particular fields on his show who have said the same thing.

    If you are not counting calories (which I don’t), then how do you make sure that you are getting the minimum requirement of calories?

    Also, what about intermittent fasting? If you do that 3-4 days per week and are not getting the minimum, can you make up for it on the days that you do eat?

  115. Many of the signs and symptoms in this article sound very “female” to me – e.g. mood swings, etc. I’d love to see an article with the same information about how men can tell if they’re undereating. I think that some of the symptoms might be the same – can’t lose weight, losing their hair, constipation, etc. but some might be different – loss of physical energy, tired all the time, loss of sex drive, etc. Can you write an article for the guys?

  116. thank you so much for this! Any idea how long it generally takes to start feeling better (less constipation, more energy, weight gain stopping, etc) once the body starts to recover from eating more?

  117. Hi Rosemary, enjoyed your comment. I was wondering what diet you follow and whether you ever eat bread, sugar or snack at all. What do you eat with your roast? Thanks
    For your comment

  118. Anyone else here ready to throw their hands up in the air like they just don’t care! UGH! The stress of “what to eat” and “not to eat” that emanates in our society these days has become far worse than the food intolerances/restrictions themselves! THERE! I said it!

    • Yes! I totally agree!! I think the solution is to eat what you want and BE HAPPY. Down with the long list of food restrictions that cause stress and unhappiness.

      • It really doesn’t have to. Eating “what you want” is cause for disaster as there are so many unhealthy “foods”. It really is pretty simple when you approach it systematically, meaning get rid of everything processed and packaged, only use healthy fats, eat organic fruits and vegetables if you can afford to and eat pastured meats, eggs, dairy and poultry. You can visit my blog for more info http://www.hookedonhealth.co
        One additional item, if you have any kind of illness or pain you will also want to look up your blood type and follow the diet for your blood type, especially the avoid foods. I also have a post about that.
        Good luck to you.

  119. So many sick people cut calories because of food restrictions and what they read about fasting and letting the stomach have time to rest. Yes, fasting allows the stomach a grace period to do nothing, but this isn’t always a good thing.

    Sure, it is nice for our muscles to relax but without weight-resistance they atrophy.

    On top of this calories give us cellular energy. The also give us micro-nutrients. It blows my mind that people will take medications but cut their calories in half. Food is medicine. It is energy, minerals, vitamins, probiotics, fiber, sustenance, calming, and so much more.

    I was on a low calorie diet over a year ago. When I started adding calories I felt better. I would add calorie dense foods like honey and coconut oil since they are easier to digest. Now I eat just about anything except wheat…but I may incorporate that soon too.

  120. What a really great article, very pertinent! I, like many of you,
    have low adrenal, low hormones, low thyroid, no energy, cold
    all the time, allergies (which I have never had before), low
    blood sugar—and I am barely eating because there is some-
    thing wrong with everything. The low blood sugar makes me
    have to go to sleep, or I “konk” out just sitting there. Very
    embarassing – done this for years off and on. I have usually
    been slim and now am overweight, 5.5″ and 174. Food just
    doesn’t taste all that good. 2 years ago all my clothes were
    small now they are 2X. My doc put me on DHEA and it went
    to estrogen which caused the weight gain at the same time
    metabolism went to sleep too. I need to know specifically
    what to eat and when. I can’t figure it out. Usually I am out-
    going and vibrant, but now homebound. This is not living.
    This article at least gave me some hope, thank you for writ-
    ing it, I think many people have ended up here not knowing
    why. Also looking at MTHFR. Help. Thanks.

    • I’m sorry, Brenda. It sounds like you are having a hard time. I hope someone can help you with your symptoms and dietary issues.

      Amy G.

  121. I am experiencing some of the problems listed, the loss of my menses, the insomnia, the cold feeling. I am a tall woman, 5’9″, with a large frame, my ring size is a 9/12. I weight 192 lbs which I believe is overweight for me, I would like to be 165 but I can’t seem to lose weight. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, and am pre-diabetic. A primal diet has relieved some the pain of the Fibro. but I can not eat grains, nuts or seeds as they cause crippling pain and I don’t eat much fruit because of the pre-diabetis. I am finding it very difficult to eat enough. My calorie goal is 2000 per day and that is being sedentary. I find I hit that alorie goal only 2 or 3 days a week. I eat a ton of fat, I literally carry 1 oz jars of pure fat like ghee, or coconut oil to eat throughout my day as an attempt to get to 2000 calories. How I can consistently eat enough? What do others who can’t eat the nuts at when meat and veggies just can”t do it? I welcome any suggestions

    • I have a few recommendations. First I would up your total daily carbs. Being pre-diabetic does not mean you should go super super low on carbs. I think you are fine getting roughly 30% of your calories from carbs (about 600 calories), especially if you exercise regularly. Sweet potatoes and bananas are options that are unlikely to cause issues and don’t really spike your blood sugar as much as some other fruits and juices.

      Another option that I eat a lot to increase my calories is almonds, which I eat as a part of a high calorie breakfast. For meats I try to get fattier meats like bacon and rib-eye to increase my calories as well. There is only so much protein you can eat before you lose your appetite, so the best way to increase carbs and fats.

      • I have been eating sweet potatoes and banana and have added plaintains and yuca to my diet. However, I get really full. The. saiety of the meat and fats make it hard to eat more than a cup so 600 in carbs may sound easy but for me its a struggle. Thanks for the comment.

    • You might consider avocados or guacamole with crudités. Adding tahini to dishes if u can tolerate seeds. You could also bake some buns with ground seeds.

      • Avocados are a part of my diet. But guacamole and Vegas is only a 300 calorie snack not a meal. And I can”t eat nuts or seeds. They cause crippling pain. I’be been eating more starchy fruits like plaintains and green banana. That seems to be helping but its hard because I get full easily.

      • Avocados are a part of my diet. But guacamole and Vegies are only a 300 maybe 400 calorie snack not a meal. And I can’t eat nuts or seeds. They cause crippling pain. I’ve been eating more starchy fruits like plaintains and green banana and roots like yuca. That seems to be helping but its hard. I get full easily because the fats are so filling.

    • Sorry didn’t see u can’t eat seeds, how about using coconut milk more, making smoothies with full fat coconut milk or soups.

    • Have you had a thyroid panel Teresa? Also look into getting a SIBO breath test, as I’ve read 70% of fibro sufferers test positive (I did).

  122. Laura or Chris,
    I know that intense exercise requires more carbs. I walk well over 15,000 steps every day at my job. Which macronutrient supports walking and standing? Should I up my carbs, fat or protein in correlation with my walking? Thanks for reading this, hope to hear from you soon!

    • Either carbs or fat should work fine for you – experiment to see which one makes you feel better. I would expect that more fat might work best if you’re doing lots of low intensity movement.

  123. I had lost 140 lbs or so a few years back, managed to add some of it back on, and was still above my weight goals then. Currently at 233lbs roughly 25% Body Fat. Recently started trying to lose a little bit of fat again (started a week ago) and the past three nights of sleep have been terrible… Waking up with anxiety/anger and getting flustered and frustrated. Also started a new probiotic (the Ultra Primal Defense one… I thought this may be a part of it perhaps too)

    I’m eating about 2300 to 2900 daily (to hunger, though I am tracking with cronometer).. though according to my fitbit I’m burning 4000-5000 kcal daily… Curious if I should be trying to eat more– or just until I am no longer hungry as I have been.. typically fasting until about 11-12.. athletic yoga for 1.25 hrs at about 6 pm (only time slow I can fit right now) Dinner after that…. Outside of the slightly late dinner and exercise, following PHD reccs on circadian rhythm and supps/lifestyle.

    I am hitting my requirements on maco and micro nutrients, with the occasional vit E and my potassium intake is 90-110% of my goal most days.

    When I’ve woken up, I’ve taken a spoonful of honey with salt and felt calmer, though even when I try this before bed I have woken up around 1-1:30 nightly. and my sleep quality has dropped from only 15 minutes restlessness to about an hour nightly (fitbit)…

    Should I be eating more even though I’m not particularly hungry?

  124. Very interesting article and comments! I am definitely an under eater. I have a leaky gut, SIBO and Fructose mal absorption and numerous food sensitivities. My diet is dairy free, sugar free, low FODMAP, gluten free, nut and seed free, grain free and very low carb. There is not much to eat and I find it extremely difficult to eat the needed calories because of the many restrictions. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions it would be greatly appreciated! I am 5’1″ at 94 lbs. Thank you.

  125. Hi, in my opinion the article is very in line with traditional dietitian approach. The 8 signs can be attributed not only to paleo “diet” but to any other. I would expect to read about proteins/carbs/fat ratios rather than daily calories intake to balance out the 8 signs od undereating. Can readers have more proffesional article as the subject is important. Thanks

  126. Thanks for this enlightening article, Laura (and Chris)! I have recently been diagnosed with MTHFR and began thinking this was indeed the root of my problems, but after reading through the symptoms here, sounds like my issues may still be related to the adrenal fatigue. 🙁 I would love to enroll in your program, but funds are tight due to all the dr. bills. I wish there was a quick fix to this, but guess there’s really not. I will keep reading articles like this one to find more pieces to the puzzle! Thanks again!

  127. For some reason this is biased towards women. I can personally attest to that men get exactly the same problems when under-eating (anorexia). I don’t want to sound sexist, just saying that the problem goes for both men and women.

  128. you mention having a carb/fat dense snack 1-2 hours before bed. Could you please give some examples of snacks that fit that bill?

  129. I’m like many of you. I’m 5′ 4″, 52 years old and have never weighed more than 112. I used to eat TONS of carbs and sugar, since I never gained weight, but now I eat very healthy (lowish carb, lots of good fats, little to no sugar or bread). But now I’m down to 103 and can’t gain more. I’m not hungry, and I calculated that I eat at least 2000 calories per day. Only walk for exercise, 7500 steps or so. I think there are some of us who are somehow different, and gaining weight is VERY difficult, even when we eat a lot of calories. And if you tell anyone, they look at you like you are a creature from outer space! It’s a constant battle. Milkshakes would do it when in college, but it’s harder with good food……………

    • I hear you Janet. I am also 5’4″ and 54 yrs old, and now I weigh 104 lbs. Eating this new healthy way with lots of fat, protein and high nutrient food, I find it impossible to gain weight. I was 130 two years ago and I would have happily stopped losing weight at 115 or 120. I tried for over a year to over-eat (eating until I was very full), but did not gain an ounce. I do not want to go back to eating refined carbs as a way of gaining some weight but don’t know what else to do. I have started to eat more starchy food. Hoping that will be the answer.

    • I gained 15 lbs in the last 6 months by adding bone broth. I think it contributed to bone density as I don’t believe I’ve put on fat or muscle in that time and my clothing still fits. Just a suggestion.

    • Similar. At 5’9″, began losing weight at 43 (for no apparent reason) and dropped down to 95lbs, regardless of what I ate. I was averaging 2000-2500 “very healthy” calories per day and tried all the “very best” suggestions. The only thing that turned it around for me was to bring back the highly inflammatory foods. Now at 49, at least with more weight I don’t feel quite as awful as I did then.

      Meh. Life’s a crap shoot. Good luck.

  130. I am a generally healthy male. I work out at least 45 minutes each day by power walking. I have tried every combination of dietary guidelines. I find that eating 300 to 500 calories under my BMR works perfect for me. I have experienced the chills, and hunger, when I don’t consume the calories I should. My weight is pretty stable, but not where the BMI charts expect me to be! I would be dead if I followed those. I do have a larger frame, so that justifies the weight I maintain 6ft tall – 188lbs. Also, I am not dieting anymore! I just keep track of what I eat, and I try to include all of the necessary nutrients in my diet. Also, it takes years to figure out how your metabolism works. I started in 2004!

    • It’s more important to know your body fat percentage than your weight or BMI. Almost every Kroger store in the country has a BIA ( Body electrical Impedance Analyzer). If your body fat is more than 15%, you definitely have weight you can loose.

      • Blaine you are wrong women need much higher body fat to make necessary hormones , to feel well look good and for fertility. A woman with 15 percent body fat would become sick in the longrun. Only women bodybuilders might attain that with extreme cutting diets which are very harmful. I know this firsthand. While some athletes can get that low it isn’t a realistic goal or maintainable for most people. And 15 percent for a young fit man in his early 20s is great but not average by any means. There are tons of underweight men and women at my gym that have high bodyfat percentages. My sister is 5 foot 9, 126 lbs, underweight but 35 percent bodyfat. It has nothing to do with how much you weigh. If she lost weight she’d look skeletal. Remember when you lose weight you lose some fat, but also lose bone and muscle mass. Get your facts right.

  131. I participated in a weight loss and exercise program where I was eating 1000-1100 calories on a low fat, low sodium diet. I did lose weight but the less I exercised the more I lost. That felt pretty weird. I’m wondering if I need to shoot for 1200 calories next time I participate in that program.

  132. I currently have the problem of under-eating; however, I have several issues going on and it seems like a vicious cycle and I don’t know how to eat more if I literally can’t tolerate the food I need to gain weight. I am working with a great functional medicine doctor, but I have been suffering from amenorrhea for 5 months, I have 2 bugs in my gut (citrobackter braakii and streptococcus salivarius) and one parasite (toxoplasma), my T3 is slightly low, I have no gallbladder, I have food intolerances, and my stomach gets full pretty quickly even if I am still a little hungry. The food isn’t worth the discomfort I feel when I try to eat more. I am on a T3 only med, herbals for the bad bugs, HCL and digestive enzymes, neurotransmitter supplements, vitamins/minerals, bio-identical hormone creams, and other misc supplements. I do believe my hormones are suffering immensely because of my eating habits, but it’s been so long and I still don’t seem to be able to tolerate the amount of food I need…so I feel stuck. What would you say to someone like me? lol

  133. This info is quite ridiculous. I wouldn’t focus on caloric intake but focus on macronutrients intake and balancing them. Aim for 80-100 grams of quality protein, balancing with carbohydrate and fat and meeting micronutrients as well.

  134. I’m not an under-eater but realized recently, by tracking my food intake on FitDay.com, that I haven’t been eating enough protein in the first hour of the day (40 to 50 grams). I have adrenal fatigue and related low blood sugar. I’m feeling more stable with the additional protein.

    • I too have adrenal fatigue and am trying to increase my protein. I’ve read about the recommendation to eat 40ish grams of protein for breakfast. I do not understand how a woman can do this! I think I would throw up if I ate that much protein in one sitting, especially in the morning. Right now I can tolerate about 25 grams at breakfast.

  135. Hey guys,

    Thanks for such a great article that came at perfect timing.

    When we are bringing caloric intake back up is it wise to increase slowly over a few weeks? Or is there another, better method?

    I am currently working with a client who had been hoping to lose weight, but was only eating 900 calories a day for an extended period of time. After increasing for 3 weeks she has gained somewhere around 10 pounds…

    Would love your thoughts on how to implement the increase!

  136. Wow! I am a 45 female and was shocked to learn how many calories I should be eating. Thanks for the insight!

  137. I’m 60 years old, female, and, 5’6″. The calculator said my ideal weight was:

    Based on the Robinson formula (1983), your ideal weight is 130.5 lbs
    Based on the Miller formula (1983), your ideal weight is 135.1 lbs
    Based on the Devine formula (1974), your ideal weight is 130.7 lbs
    Based on the Hamwi formula (1964), your ideal weight is 129.4 lbs
    Based on the healthy BMI recommendation, your recommended weight is 114.6 lbs – 154.9 lbs

    I can’t imagine myself at 129 pounds! And then multiply that by 10, so I should be eating only 1,290 calories. That seems awfully low. I understand that this is the “sedentary” level, but that’s where I am because of knee issues (full knee replacement on the right, and recent multiple meniscus tears and resulting surgery on the left). I can’t do much exercise at all, so it looks like my limit is the basic 1,290 calories.

    Isn’t that awfully low? When reading this article I was thinking that I currently eat around 1200 calories most days, and that I should probably be eating more like 1800 calories per day. Apparently not, huh?

    Am I missing something?

  138. How does one deal with the metabolic damage caused by eating too little? Should one increase calories slowly to prevent the body from overreacting and putting on fat?

    • Well 1600 calories a day is actually considered to be a starvation level diet – after a 6-month period of eating 1600 calories a day, it takes 4000 calories a day to effectively recover from that. – see the Minnesota Starvation Experiment for more information:

      Results[edit]
      The full report of results from the Minnesota Starvation Experiment was published in 1950 in a two-volume, 1,385-page text entitled The Biology of Human Starvation (University of Minnesota Press). The 50-chapter work contains an extensive analysis of the physiological and psychological data collected during the study, and a comprehensive literature review.

      Among the conclusions from the study was the confirmation that prolonged semi-starvation produces significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis as measured using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Indeed, most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression.[1]:161 There were extreme reactions to the psychological effects during the experiment including self-mutilation (one subject amputated three fingers of his hand with an axe, though the subject was unsure if he had done so intentionally or accidentally).[5] Participants exhibited a preoccupation with food, both during the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. Sexual interest was drastically reduced, and the volunteers showed signs of social withdrawal and isolation.[1]:123–124 The participants reported a decline in concentration, comprehension and judgment capabilities, although the standardized tests administered showed no actual signs of diminished capacity. There were marked declines in physiological processes indicative of decreases in each subject’s basal metabolic rate (the energy required by the body in a state of rest), reflected in reduced body temperature, respiration and heart rate. Some of the subjects exhibited edema in their extremities, presumably due to decreased levels of plasma proteins given that the body’s ability to construct key proteins like albumin is based on available energy sources.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment

      I have personal experience with starvation – paleo/ketogenic/vlc for a number of years – initially I lost over 100 pounds. But before I had a chance to keep it off, the weight started coming back on without any dietary changes or binges. Eventually all the weight came back, plus an additional 40 pounds – all while still eating less than 2000 calories a day. In my case, I found that only when I increased my calorie intake to 3800 calories a day – without any exercise – this was sedentary caloric intake only – that’s the only time the weight gain stops, and along with nutritional supplementation including natural hormone replacement, that’s the only time the weight gain reverses and I begin to drop the weight. But I’m not naturally a big eater, so it’s a very difficult thing for me to maintain that kind of caloric intake – so I drop the calories again because I can’t remember to eat most of the time, and the weight goes back up. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world, and I hope that everybody takes seriously the consequences of not eating enough.

  139. Great article.
    Can undereating cause constipation also by elevating cortisol and putting stress on the body, thus impacting digestion and slowing motility? Or am I getting that wrong?

    • Yes, it can. When you consistently undereat for a period of more than a few days, your adrenaline levels go up. This rise in adrenaline slows down digestion. Not only that but with carb and calorie restriction – again, consistently for more than just a few days – your reverse T3 (rT3) levels rise, which also slows down digestion, as the hypothalamus senses starvation and puts the metabolic process on slow-down. Remember, the whole point of your body – its entire job – is actually to deliver glucose to the brain, and it will use whatever means necessary to do that. The body requires a great deal of calories and all macronutrients, including carbohydrates rich in glucose – to perform this function – and it will shut off the “luxury items” – like reproduction, healing, energy for everyday life, etc. to get the job done. Only when you provide the body with enough energy – via calories – and nutrition – via macronutrients – will the body – via the hypothalamus – know that it’s safe to turn the luxury items back on.

  140. Thanks for the article.

    I have considered myself a big-eater for most of my life, but recently found out through measurement with skinfold calipers that I only have 7.3% body fat. It was a shock! A lot of the above symptoms fit me (cold, constipated, always had weight-gain probs, etc.).
    I am eating more than honestly I feel comfortable eating (and I’m a male that loves food!), but my sleep seems to have improved after only a week or so. I hope my other symptoms start to sort themselves out, too.

  141. I feel this article was written for me. Thanks for writing it! I have been under weight since my last baby was born almost 3 years ago. I lost all my baby weight…which wasn’t much…in a month and then dropped another 8lbs below that. I am 5’4″ and was 103lbs. Once I stopped breastfeeding I was finally able to gain some weight. But I have only gotten up 115lbs. I have many of these above symptoms…including not being able to get pregnant again. I went to my OB and she did so tests. She concluded that I am ovulating with my periods, and my TSH was good. However, my A1C was 5.9. This was a little concerning to her. I am thinking it is because I let myself go to long without eating. I just don’t feel hungry until I am hangry. My question is …. how do I know how many calories I am eating? If I could figure out how many calories I am eating then I would know how much more I should be eating. Is there some sort of resource that lets you calculate calories in the food you are eating? What are good high caloric, nutrient dense snacks? What are your thoughts on supplementation to help get more nutrients? Thanks again for this article! If anyone has any answers to my questions I would love to hear from ya. 🙂

    • MyFitnessPal is a great app that is super easy to use and you can even scan barcodes of foods you’re eating to get a pretty good measurement of what your daily intake looks like.

      You have to be pretty precise with your estimated portions, and weighing/measuring helps to get more accuracy. I usually recommend my patients do that for a few days to get a good sense of what they’re doing and what needs to change.

      • Watch out on MyFitnessPal because there are a lot of incorrect food entries in their database. Always do a sanity check when selecting entries for your food diary. I’ve seen some crazy stuff like 500 calories in a serving of ketchup.

    • This sounds so much like me! I am 5’4″ and weighed 120 before getting pregnant with my first (and only, so far) child. Since having my daughter 2 and 1/2 years ago, I’ve slowly continued to lose weight. I dropped the baby weight (which wasn’t much) in just a few weeks, and have since dropped down to about 112. I once even got down to a shocking 107 after having a stomach bug. I weigh less now than I did in high school! And I am making zero effort to lose weight. I feel I am underweight, yet I feel like I eat a lot. But maybe my perception of how much I eat is not accurate? I do have adrenal fatigue, and feel like maybe I have subclinical hypoglycemia. All of this is so hard to figure out….what I should eat, how much I should eat, when I should eat, blood sugar control, energy levels, insomnia. I can’t ever seem to land on something that works!

  142. Hi Laura. Thanks for the insights. I’ve been trying to gain weight since my partner and I started trying to conceive, but due to food intolerances, hypothyroidism and Hashimotos’s, I am not eating dairy, gluten, sugar and numerous other things. Although I feel like am eating plenty of food, I am back down to my usual weight and dont know what to eat anymore for weight gain. (No more ice cream!) Do you have any easy recommendations?
    Thanks!

    • What about coconut ice cream? 🙂

      On a more serious note, carbs + fat are the easiest way to gain weight quickly. Eating more frequently can help too. Fruit, sweet potatoes, coconut, fatty meats, and avocado can be great high calorie foods to eat lots of. Try adding in a smoothie too, liquid calories are easier to get more of than solid ones.

  143. Hi Laura, how can I calculate how many calories I burn with my workout or walking activity? I have no idea. According to the calculator I may be a little underweight, but I also sit all day at work and work out 4 times a week. Thanks

  144. Hi Laura, awesome article! Really informative.

    I have a kind of unrelated question for you. I know you must be outrageously busy but I’m looking for a little bit of career advice. I aspire to be a functional medicine practitioner like you (and Chris) and have chosen a somewhat unconventional route to get there. You (and others in the field) have truly inspired me beyond belief and I was wondering if I may ask you a couple of questions via e-mail. I wish I could pay you for your time but funds are nearly non-existent here. I don’t even have the money to see a practitioner for my own health (which I desperately need).

  145. Great timing on this! I just finished doing an elimination diet and while I was eating super clean I did not lose any weight, became constipated and started shedding a lot of hair. While I was not limiting calories, I think I was going too low. Ugh, hopefully I can get re-balanced quickly!

    • Claire, I can’t speak for Laura’s recommendation, but I do best with a slice of gluten-free toast (or sprouted bread if you tolerate it well,) with a generous amount of melted butter and sea salt. Sometimes even half a slice works. I’ve had on-going problems with waking up between 4-6am with absolutely ravenous and nauseating hunger. I need the snacks to get me through!

    • Yuca cracker with ghee and sea salt and/or avocado.
      “Paleo bread” with same, or nut or seed butter
      Smoothie with coconut milk/oil, egg yolk, avocado
      Glass of kefir made with full-fat milk (if you tolerate dairy)
      Fermented cream with berries (if you tolerate dairy; if not, coconut milk/cream with berries)

      • wow Chris, for the first time I just discovered that yuca is different from yucca. Maybe more helpful to call them cassava? or at least “yuca (cassava)”

      • Where can you get such a cracker? And recommendations for “paleo bread”? I’ve tried a few that tasted like cardboard. :p I have no issues with good dairy and have actually been making a snack with grass-fed greek yogurt with a little nut-free granola and blueberries. Would something like this work?

  146. Wow, a lot of this describes me. However, I am underweight….and I have NOT been trying to lose weight. My sister always questions me about how much I’m eating. The interesting thing is, I feel like I eat a lot. I feel like I’m always thinking about and wanting food. And I also eat good fats without abandon. I’ve been known to eat a whole avocado on a daily basis. But maybe I’m not eating as much as I perceive…??? I have adrenal fatigue, and lately have felt like I have hypoglycemia (although my home glucose meter has never read lower than 70). I get very cranky if I’m hungry, I have mood swings, am irritable, often very tired/fatigued, and have not slept well in months! =( I really need some dietary guidance. I am really not good at managing macronutrients. I’ve never felt the need to until now.

    • just my 2 cents but if you think that eating a whole avocado is an example of eating alot, then maybe you need to take another look at Laura’s recommendations…

    • I have to agree with Penelope below – a whole advocado is nothing! I eat bacon, three eggs and butter coffee for breakfast, smoothie made from 4 veg and 2 fruits and coconut oil for lunch and a large roast dinner for dinner. My weight stays stable at 154pounds, I am 5′ 10″ and age 61.

      • Once again, like Indigo pointed out, my comment about avocado was not in reference to eating a lot. I was referring to eating good fats. I said I eat healthy fats without abandon, meaning I am not concerned about eating too much fat. I gave the avocado as an example. Many people would be hesitant to eat a whole avocado every day because they are high in fat. So I was giving that as an example of how I eat a lot of healthy fat, not as an example of eating a lot in quantity. Make sense?

          • Do you seriously think an avocado is ALL I’m eating in the course of an entire day??? Geez, it seems people can’t read. Again, the avocado was an example of the fact that I eat a lot of healthy fat. Another example: my salad dressing today which was olive oil-based had 52 grams of fat. That doesn’t mean ALL I ate today was salad dressing. It means ONE of the items I ate today was a high fat salad dressing (on salad, of course).

            • Holly, I’m wondering if you take enzymes. I felt hungry all the time until I started taking enzymes. My husband used to laugh at how much I eat.

            • Well, even with salad dressing, an avocado isn’t enough food. You should be eating at least twice that much, in my opinion.

              Did you read the article? Under-eating has a lot of negative effects.

            • I totally got what you meant, Holly! It’s a shame you come in here asking for help only to be judged. You sound like you are eating pretty well to me. 😉

      • Hi Rosemary,, enjoyed your comment. What diet do you follow? Do you snack?, eat sugar foods ever? What do you have with the roast? Do you eat any bread? Appreciate your comments.

    • I am the same way, Holly. I am underweight. If I don’t eat four meals a day, I lose weight, especially in my face. I start looking skeletal within a day of not eating four meals. All of my bloodwork and everything is fine. My only health issue is migraines. My sister is also underweight. I eat until I am full, but I seem to be missing something. Maybe it is the type of food we eat?

      I am not Paleo (more WAPF, as I eat prepared grains), but I have noticed that the only thing that makes me gain weight is meat. Fat doesn’t do it, sugar doesn’t do it, grains don’t do it. That said, I have never weighed more than 112 in my life, and I am age 36, height 5’4″.

      The other thing I want to experiment with is just stuffing myself for a few days at every meal, and seeing if that makes a difference. Eating until full and overstuffing are two different things to me.

      Good luck to you in figuring out your situation.

      • I’d say, if you still getting migraines on WAPF, definitely ditch the [glutenous] grains altogether for a month or two, and see how you do. Most people I’ve heard about having migraines and then going grain-free (except rice), they got much better. This of course takes into account that you’re getting enough water and your caffeine intake is the same every day and at the same time.

        • Thanks for the advice, Eugenia. I have had another friend go off gluten and say she stopped getting migraines as well.

          I currently live in India, where the wheat hasn’t been as messed with as in the US. But it is probably worth a try at some point. I suspect the air pollution has a lot to do with my migraine frequency quadrupling since I have been here.

      • Sugar will definitely make me gain weight. But I feel like crap if I eat much sugar, so I have to abstain.

      • Like I said earlier in the conversation, I stuffed myself daily at every meal for a year trying to gain weight. Didn’t work. Just felt tired and uncomfortable. I also eat lots of healthy fats, protein and veg. I am now just starting to eat starchy foods at night to see if this will help. It has made my sleep better.

      • My lifelong migraines disappeared when I went Gluten Free, now I eat few grains, just a little cornstarch/flour or some rice occasionally. I make my bread with cornstarch, tapioca starch, banana flour and ground linseed.

    • If you think about food all day, and want food all day, then why not indulge in food? I’ve found that when I can’t get something carby out of my mind I should just go ahead and eat it. It usually solves some problem or other.

    • If you’re always thinking about food and want food – you’re hungry. I’ve been in the same situation thinking I was eating a ton yet I was always focused on food. Now I can live my life without constantly looking forward to my next meal.

  147. I have definitely been an undereater since I got sick approx. 6 yrs ago. I am back upto 8 stone but have probs with T4 conversation, body temp, energy and memory. Working with Kelsey and Laura over the past few years has helped me loads! When I stay at home all day and eat carbs in small amounts every few hours I can hit the right calorie count but as soon as I start to live normally I can’t keep it up. I recently became so desperate that I decided to invest in a Faecal Microbial Transplant, at Taymount Clinic. Ironically I head about this UK clinic on Chris’s show a few years ago (I live in the UK). I started treatment this week so only at day two (out of 10) but already my body temperature and energy levels have improved. I am hoping all my food allergies will be gone within 3 months so that I can keep my callory count at a healthy level and hope to eradicate my thyroid symptoms and poor T4 conversation issues. Just want to say a big thank you to all you guys who have helped me get to where I am.

  148. I can definitely attest to the fertility issues. This was about a decade ago, but I was amenorrheic and unable to get pregnant for about 18 months. I was on a very low fat/low cal diet and exercised about 5 days/week (mostly running). All the docs I saw said I was totally healthy and NOT underweight. (I was about 5′ 5″ and 125 lbs). Finally my ob/gyn suggested i gain 5-7 pounds. Started eating way more fat and almost immediately my period came back. Within 3 months, I was pregnant. While not underweight, I think the low fat diet really inhibited my cycle and ability to menstruate. Just wanted to share my experience, as I had such a hard time figuring it out when it was happening!

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