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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 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!”


      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.

  7. 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!

    • Yes it’s possible. Or you might need more carbs on workout days. Have you had a full thyroid panel?

      What is your body fat %? 94 – 128 lbs might not be a good target for you.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. 🙂


    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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………

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. I need some advice! I have no appetite and some days only eat 1 food a day most days! Thanks for your advice!

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