I get questions all the time about metabolism and how to know ‘if I’m eating enough’. I have helped women reverse diet, eat more than they ever thought possible, stress less about food and improve their metabolism after years of undereating and restriction. So I wanted to address signs that you may not even notice that tell me <as a registered dietitian> you are under eating.
In part 2 of this metabolism series, I’ll talk about ways to IMPROVE your metabolism!
- You’re listening to a calorie counter.
Did you input your height and weight into a calorie counter app (ie MyFitnessPal) and it told you to eat 1200 calories?
Yea, I’ve been there too. Calorie counters don’t know you, don’t know your daily activity, your dieting history or how much muscle you have. They are a computing software that spits out numbers. If you’re relying on them to tell you how much to eat, you may be UNDEREATING.
I know I aimed to stick to 1200 calories during college when I was marathon training, only to overeat at night/on the weekends, be super inconsistent with my intake and be HUNGRY a lot.
2. You’re thinking about food ALL THE TIME.
If you’re thinking about the next time you’re going to eat right after you finish eating OR you can’t seem to concentrate on other things between meals because you’re thinking about food, you’re probably NOT eating enough.
Tips: start with breakfast by eating ENOUGH (for me that included WAY more fats than I ever thought I could eat). I realized I didn’t think about food as often. It can be scary to increase your food alone so work with a dietitian to help you understand how to introduce foods back in or how your body responds to fat vs carbs. You can apply to my group coaching program waitlist HERE if interested in working with me.
3. You think everyone else can eat a bagel but you definitely CAN’T.
You can eat a bagel. You can eat the pasta. Sometimes you may want to try a gluten-free bagel or chickpea pasta at home and that’s fun!
But don’t let yourself miss out on eating pasta at your favorite Italian restaurant or eating a bagel in NYC. Or, if a bagel is a true fear food, eat it daily! Figure out meals that keep you satisfied with that bagel. You can eat the food, it’s just because you are stuck in a restriction/undereating cycle you think you can’t.
4. You want to build muscle but aren’t seeing any changes.
You truly can’t REPAIR muscle fibers without FOOD. You get micro-tears in your muscles every time you resistance train and you must repair them for them to build. Best ways to repair them include your post-workout meal, recovery days, and eating enough to actually support that.
Have you been lifting for 3+ months with no change? Think about if you’re fueling enough to create that change.
5. You’ve been ‘dieting’/in a calorie deficit for 6 months+.
If you’ve been ‘dieting’ for 6 months+ (truly in a calorie deficit), your metabolism may have adapted. It doesn’t mean your metabolism is changed forever. It just means you’ve been dieting for too long and your body needs some change. Work with a dietitian who will help you out of the dieting cycle and into eating enough for YOU.