As common as it is to be concerned about whether you’re eating too much, it’s also common to question whether you’re eating enough. The truth is unless you have a real reason or signs to suggest you may not be fuelling yourself adequately then the chances are you likely are. Your body will let you know when it’s struggling or feeling as though it could do with some more nutrient dense foods. We all require a different amount of food so comparing your intake to someone else’s isn’t particularly helpful, you’re much better off to take signs from your own body.
On that note, it’s important to know what the common signs are which may suggest you need to up the fuel….
- Hunger – The obvious one is that if you’re not consuming enough energy your body will let you know by ramping up your appetite in order to compensate. This is one of the key reasons why eating in response to your appetite is important as not eating enough can cause a whole host of other issues. E.g. Not having enough micronutrients to support the physiological demands of your body, reduced energy for training and impaired hormone production to name just a few.
- Feeling Cold – feeling cold all the time is a common sign that you’re likely not eating enough, your body requires energy to create heat and maintain a constant body temperature. Therefore, the drop in energy intake means there isn’t adequate energy to allow for the body to generate heat. This may be a sign which appears over time too. If you were never a cold person beforehand it’s definitely something to take note of.
- Restlessness/ Impaired Sleep – inadequate energy intake can stimulate restlessness and night time awakenings as the lack of energy put’s the body under increased stress which in turn increases cortisol (the stress hormone). The excess cortisol secretion at night can cause you to wake up feeling restless or anxious. This may also occur as a result of over exercising too.
- Blood Sugar Rollercoaster – A lack of food intake can cause blood sugar levels to fall, when blood sugar levels fall you’re more likely to feel dizzy, fatigued and irritable. High protein foods and eating regularly can help to prevent blood sugar dips.
- Impaired Mood – Reduced energy intake may impair the production of serotonin, low levels of serotonin along with the blood sugar rollercoaster and lethargy can increase impatience and anger.
- Low Energy Levels – Needless to say that when your body feels threatened that it won’t be provided with enough energy it works hard to turn down many mechanisms in order to save energy. As a result you’re likely to feel tired and fatigued and along with the impaired sleep this doesn’t make for a good combination.
There you have some of the most common signs to look out for. Remember don’t stress yourself looking for these symptoms, if you have them you’ll likely know!