4 Myths Of Under Eating*

Thursday, 24 November 2016, By Matt Aston

4 Myths of Under Eating.


If you believe under eating to be the solution to fat loss, that under eating is what is causing your weight loss to stall, you may have fallen victim to the myths of under eating. As a health and fitness professional, I am constantly on the lookout for the clients who believe excessive under eating is the solution to fat loss - and on the lookout for fat loss plateaus where clients believe it is their damaged metabolisms causing this from extended periods of under eating. Through keeping an eye out for these processes, I offer the top 4 myths and their truths surrounding under eating, metabolisms and fat loss.

Myth 1: I'm dieting, my metabolism has slowed down, and I'm not losing the same amount of weight I was losing before. I've done something wrong!

Everyone should know that in fact to diet to lose weight we actually in fact HAVE to under eat. You must be eating less than what your body need to strip the unwanted fat. There is nothing wrong with this - it's necessary.

However, what most people don't realise is, when under eating our metabolisms too in fact drop by 10-25%. The fact that your metabolism has slowed doesn't mean you've damaged your metabolism; this process is a naturally occurring response by our body.

Myth 2: My weight won't budge. I must have damaged my metabolism from under eating.

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is responsible for 70 percent of all the energy your body burns in a day regardless of how much or how little you eat. This is the energy burned, by definition, when you are literally doing nothing - totally at rest. The only time your metabolism is stopped or killed is when you are dead. In an under eaten state your RMR clicks along, 10-25 percent slower than when you are maintaining, no matter how little you exercise or how little you eat. Under eating is not the cause of your weight stall.

Myth 3: I can never consume fewer than 1,200 calories or my body will go into starvation mode and weight loss will stop.

Did you know your body goes into starvation mode the minute you begin to under eat? Sure, there is a difference from missing a snack, to halving your days' food - however as soon as your body is in an under eaten state you are going to be working with a depressed RMR.

There is no health-robbing, weight stalling boogey man, who lives in the land you only see when you are dieting for fat loss.

Is there a point where eating too few calories can be harmful to health? Sure. Very-low-calorie-diets (VLCD) are diets where the person sets out to eat less than 800 calories per day. These days can be incorporated into a healthy fat loss program - however should not be done for long periods at a time. VLCDs are still not the cause of these weight plateaus, or the cause of the damaged metabolism.

Myth 4: I'm eating less than my required amount of food per day and I'm not losing any weight. I need to eat less!

You do not need to eat less. You do however have to eat more - volume. Foods that are high in fibre such as leafy greens, and fibrous, watery vegetables will provide a lot of bulk and volume. High-water, high-volume foods, especially when in combination with lean protein and some healthy fats are the most nutritious and best for maximising satiety.

You need to eat more REAL food. I define real foods as foods where there is one ingredient such as fruits, vegetables, along with lean proteins, and some nuts and seeds. Exceptions can be some packaged goods as tuna, some condiments, and spices.

You MAY need to eat less... But, first you need to properly record what you are ACTUALLY eating. FOR REAL! What happens for most people is they don't accurately record what they really eat. They allow for the memory to record their food, which usually looks like the chicken breast salad you had for lunch 3 days ago. What is often left out is the handfuls of nuts, chips, or lollies, bites from the kids food, extra coffees when you're feeling a little tired, or the 100g of intended rice that ended up being whatever was served to you, and so on.

You cannot legitimately claim you are under eating, if you are not meticulously recording what you eat consistently, and just eyeballing your measure, or if you're using the trendy palm and fist method of portion control.

If you're overweight and your weight is stuck it's not because you are under eating and you haven't damaged your metabolism. The average woman eating 1,200 calories of real food per day and the average man eating 1,500 calories of real food per day will achieve a healthy weight unless a metabolic condition such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) exists. Very rarely is obesity caused by an underlying medical condition. 

Overeating is a much more serious problem than under eating. Get detailed with food measuring and recording as you strive to understand why your weight may be misbehaving. Contrary to popular, widespread misinformation, you haven't damaged your metabolism, even if you've under eaten. Your metabolism is resilient and so are you.


Matt Aston

Manager Vision Personal Training Bangor

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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