Undereating…a conversation I have on a daily basis. It is an easy mistake to make and a very common mistake to I see in many people I interact with regularly.
Everyone knows to lose weight they have to be in a caloric deficit. The bigger the deficit, the more I am going to lose, right? WRONG! This fact is true for a period of time, but that is a very short period. Once your body realizes you are restricting it from the calories it needs to function, it will go into a preservation state. This is when you begin to plateau with your weight loss and the frustration sets in.
Here’s the deal. Every body needs a certain amount of calories just to function. This is the amount of calories you would burn if all you did all day was sat or laid in one place and did not move. Most often, this is not the life that people live.
As you move throughout your day, doing the basic tasks of walking around your house, around your workplace, doing normal daily tasks, etc, you are burning calories. Add exercise into the mix and you have more calories burned there. Before you know it, your body is in a 1000 calorie deficit from what it needs to function. And this is a problem!
How does this undereating happen in the first place?
It ends up being a combination of eating healthy foods that are low in calorie combined with portion control. And then we add to that the fear of eating healthy fats.
As an example, a 5 oz container of greens has between 24-70 calories in it TOTAL, amount varying based on what types of greens you are eating…spinach, kale, chard, mixed power greens, etc. That is a large amount of food with very little calories. And most likely, you are only eating a small portion of that in each salad. Add some of the normal salad vegetables to it, such as tomatoes, onion, and cucumber, plus some lean meat, and you may have a 300-400 calorie meal there…maybe! Salad dressing will add some calories as well and that calories will vary based on what you are using and amount used, but my guess is if you are doing what you can to eat healthy, you are limiting that as well.
Don’t get me wrong! Eating healthy foods is a great thing. Portion control is a great thing. But when it causes such a large caloric deficit, that is when it becomes a not-so-great thing.
Your body can survive there for the short term. This is when you notice huge progress with your weight loss and are thrilled to see the pounds dropping. And then disaster strikes as that pounds no longer fall off and you don’t know what to do about it.
Solution…EAT MORE! Eat more of those healthy foods and add in some healthy fats. The majority of the time, when I increase a clients food intake the pounds drop quickly. Yes, I know it can be a scary thing to eat more when you want to lose weight, but it is what your body needs.
So what does this “eating more” look like?
It can be as simple as adding 1 Tbsp olive oil or ½ an avocado to your salad, sautéing your vegetables in 1-2 Tbsp of oil (olive, avocado, or coconut are some healthy ones), adding an extra cup of some denser vegetables to your meal, or adding 1-2 more ounces of protein to your meal.
These changes do not have to be anything drastic to be effective.
Does this all sound like you?
If this sounds like you and you want to do something different, start with the basics…add in a little more food to your meal as stated above.
Want more help? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how I can help you through my nutrition coaching program.
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