Most nutrition marketing I see about weight loss is about eating less calories. However, it may surprise you that many people I coach aren’t eating enough calories. Because the people I work with are active, lift weights, play sports, or all of the above, they need to fuel their bodies with more calories to sustain muscle growth and promote fat loss. If they eat a more plant-based diet, they may need to eat even more on the days they exercise because plant-based food is high in nutrients but low in calories.
What I find most alarming is that if I can’t meet my body’s energy demands with adequate calories, my body may break down all that hard-earned muscle (muscle catabolism). Imagine going to the gym and completing a great workout, only to lose all the benefits due to inadequate nutrition.
Here are some possible outcomes of eating too little calories:
- Muscle Loss (rude)
- Weight Loss (may include muscle)
- Nutrient Deficiency
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Impaired Immune Function
- Digestive Issues
- Bone Health Issues
- Cardiovascular Complications
- Mood Changes
I’m not saying this happens instantly, or the occasional shortage will be catastrophic, but be mindful and do what you can to fuel your body to meet the demands of your lifestyle. This is also not a free pass to eat more.
I recommend you check that you’re eating enough for your goals by doing a 3-day or 7-day food log using Cronometer (free). Make sure you factor in your level of activity, too.