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8 Signs and Symptoms That You’re Not Eating Enough and How to Come up with a Good Calorie Intake Plan

by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD

Last updated on

Reviewed by Tracey Long, MPH, RDN

If you’re not eating enough, an inadequate calorie intake could be the root cause of your health problems. Find out how to recognize the signs of under-eating.

not eating enough
Not eating enough has its own set of consequences, including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. iStock.com/Tero Vesalainen

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.

This problem is chronic under-eating.

Are you an under-eater? Learn the most common signs and symptoms of a too-low calorie intake. #calorieintake #undereating #optimalonutrition

Why Under-Eating Is so Common

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 are 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 do so after realizing they weren’t eating enough and increasing their food intake. Quite the opposite of the “calories-in-calories-out” mentality!

Why is under-eating so common? It can happen for a number of reasons:

  • A restricted diet
  • Above average activity levels
  • Stress
  • Fear of certain foods and food groups
  • Busyness
  • Chronic dieting
  • Pregnancy/breastfeeding

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?

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Signs and Symptoms of Under-eating

Below are the top eight 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.

1. 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 rarely worked with a weight loss client who was blatantly overeating. In fact, many of my clients come to me on extremely low-calorie diets (around 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day) combined with six to seven 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 to 30 pounds no matter how little they eat. Why is this?

While a short-term, moderate caloric deficit can lead to sustainable weight loss (think 300 to 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.

These changes include 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.

2. 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 client 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.

3. 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 of hypoglycemia include:

  • Hunger
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Changes in mood

Severe 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.

4. Your Mood Is Totally Unpredictable

Have you ever heard the term “hangry” before?

It 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, lack of 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) Your ability to exert self-control allows you to:

  • Focus your attention
  • Regulate your emotions
  • Cope with stress
  • Resist impulsivity
  • 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, make sure that you’re not severely under-eating before making any other significant changes to your diet and supplement or medication routine.

5. 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, 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. In this case, 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 potentially including a carb- and fat-dense bedtime snack one to two hours before going to sleep can help keep your blood sugar stable overnight, leading to more restful, uninterrupted sleep.

Some of my favorite examples of balanced snacks are:

  • An apple and 1 to 2 TB of nut butter
  • Half a sweet potato and 1 TB of butter or ghee
  • Berries and coconut milk
  • A banana and 1 ounce of macadamia nuts
  • Full-fat yogurt with a drizzle of honey

6. 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 downregulation 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 thyroid-stimulating hormone and T4 are often normal. In this condition, 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. 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 having a bowel movement only every couple of days, check your caloric intake and make sure you’re not under-eating.

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7. You’re Always Cold

Caloric restriction is known to cause a drop in body temperature. (13) 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 life span, 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. (14)

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

Not Eating Enough
Not eating enough can sometimes lead to hair loss. iStock/Doucefleur

8. 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. (15, 16) Hair loss is another common symptom of hypothyroidism, which, as you’ve learned, can develop from long-term calorie restriction.

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.

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How Do You Stop Under-Eating and Improve Calorie Intake?

Determining exactly how many calories you need to eat 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 eat—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 1,250 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 to 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 1,550 calories per day, assuming she doesn’t do any other exercise that day.

Different workouts burn different amounts of calories. A CrossFit WOD can burn 12 to 20 calories per minute on average, so a WOD that takes 20 minutes could burn 240 to 400 calories. (17) If you’re aiming for a high step count, 10,000 steps burns around 300 to 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 is 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. (18) 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 to 500 calories via exercise per day, so I try not to eat below 1,800 calories, especially on heavier training days, where I may eat more like 2,000 to 2,200 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.

Alternatively, you can use this calculator to estimate your daily calorie needs based on your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.

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.

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!

Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD
Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD

Laura Schoenfeld, MPH, RD, is a licensed registered dietitian and women’s health expert trained in Functional Medical nutrition therapy. She assisted in the creation of educational materials for both the ADAPT practitioner and health coach training programs.

Her passion is empowering women to nourish their bodies, develop true strength, and ultimately use their improved health to pursue their purpose. Laura guides her clients in identifying and implementing diet and lifestyle changes that allow them to live a healthy, fit, symptom-free life without being consumed by thoughts of food and exercise. She draws from a variety of sources to form her philosophy on nutrition, including ancestral diets, principles of biochemistry, current research, and clinical experience. Her areas of expertise include women’s hormones and fertility, gut health, autoimmune disease, athletic performance, stress management, skin health, and weight loss. Recognizing that health goes far beyond just diet and exercise, Laura teaches her clients how to focus on and implement life-changing mental and spiritual health habits as well, including changing their thoughts and beliefs to ones that drive health-supporting decision-making around food, fitness, and life in general.

Her greatest mission is to help health-conscious women realize that, while their health is priceless, they are so much more than a body. When she’s not educating and serving her coaching clients and community, Laura loves traveling with her husband, Sundays with her church family, hikes with her dog, beach trips, live music, and strength training.

Professional website: lauraschoenfeldrd.com

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Join the conversation

  1. 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?

  2. 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”:


  3. 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?

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

      • Thanks so much! I didn’t realize you responded until I checked today . Much appreciated!

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. I am on a low fodmap and AIP diet…i cant figure out what snack to eat or shake

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

      • Would fresh berries with coconut butter or grass-fed whole fat (no sugar) greek yogurt be okay? What about if you have to follow an AIP diet? Thanks!

      • rice? i thought we couldnt have any white rice? how about wild rice like from minnesota?

  19. 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.

      • Wish I had your problem but you probably get tired of hearing that. Have you ever done a parasite cleanse? Often times those buggers can be the culprit in underweight individuals.

    • Wish I had your problem but you probably get tired of hearing that. Have you ever done a parasite cleanse? Often times those buggers can be the culprit in underweight individuals.

    • 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.