By: Julia Solimine
It’s 2017 and for some reason people still assume that 1200 is some sort of magical number when it comes to calories. We have somehow been convinced that if we want to lose weight, regardless of our body shape, height, age or any other medical and personal factors that may have an effect on our weight, eating 1200 calories a day will get us there. Following this extreme diet is dangerous for both our physical and mental well-being.
A popular belief surrounding undereating is the whole mentality of “if I eat less, I’ll lose weight faster”. Although this may seem truthful in the sense that we know a calorie deficit leads to weight loss, consistent under eating over a long period of time results in a decrease in your overall resting metabolic rate. Your body begins to burn less calories on a daily basis in effort to hold onto whatever fat it has left. It’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between cutting calories to lose weight and severely under eating to the point where our physical and mental well-being is at stake.
When you under eat you put your mental well-being at stake, since the nutrients we eat effects our brain activity and determine our mood. Common psychological symptoms of undereating include:
- Mood swings
- Obsessive behaviours
- Being easily irritated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty formulating thoughts
All of these symptoms are a result of undereating since our brains are not receiving the proper nutrients that it should. When we fail to nourish our bodies, they cannot perform the way they are supposed to. The nutrients in our food helps to balance the chemicals in our brains, which in turn affects our psychological state by determining our brain function and activity.
The toll that under eating takes on our physical health is also extremely scary. Our bodies are like machines—each one of our organs has a specific task it needs to complete in order for the machine to continue working as it should. Our organs need food to carry out their required tasks, and depriving our bodies of proper nutrition limits the ability for your organs to do this. Common physical symptoms of undereating are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Decrease in bone density
- Brittle hair and nails
This seems like an appropriate time to use the classic saying “you are what you eat”. Fueling your body with whole, nutritious foods will help to optimize your overall health and enhance your athletic performance. Depriving your body of it’s well deserved nourishment will only result in complications that are a threat to your overall health and well-being.
We have become so quick to assume that weight loss is always a healthy component of someone’s life. In reality, this is not always the case. Undereating is a serious medical issue that requires professional medical attention. It is not something to look past, even if it may not seem like a big deal at first glance. It’s dangerous to both your mental and physical well-being, and its long list of psychological and physical effects prove how serious it really is.
It’s time that we stop glamourizing unhealthy eating habits and acknowledge how dangerous they really are. Food is fuel, fuel that we all require to survive and deserve to enjoy. Deprivation is not beautiful, it is not something to envy, but it is also not something to sweep under the rug.
If you believe that yourself or anyone you know may be suffering due to undereating, I encourage you to seek professional help. Our bodies work day in and day out just to keep us alive and healthy, why would we neglect to nourish them in return?
Food is fuel, nourishment is well-deserved, and nutrients are the building blocks that help us grow.