Healthy Nutrition Means Eating a Healthy Amount of Food, Are You Eating Enough?

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When you start paying attention to your nutrition, it is often because you want to lose weight. The problem is many people think that to lose weight, you need to eat less than you actually do. This can not only be extremely unhealthy, but also unsustainable. Even though large calorie reductions can help with weight loss in the short term, they can be very hard to maintain in the long run.

There are numerous trends on the internet that claim to help people lose weight in short periods of time or say that people need to eat a specific diet to lose weight. However, what they don't say is that although these trends can help you lose a few pounds quickly, they are too restrictive to maintain long-term weight loss and very damaging to your health. This often results in people gaining back all the weight they lost, plus more in some cases. 

Getting enough calories

Our bodies need a minimum level of calories to stay alive. This minimum level of calories is determined by your basal metabolic rate or BMR. The basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your organs need to keep working without any activity. If you were to lay in one position all day without moving a muscle, you would still burn calories because you're breathing and your blood is pumping.

Therefore, when you significantly drop your calories in order to lose weight, your body's natural response is to slow down your metabolism in order to conserve energy and keep your body alive. In the long run, a slow metabolism can stop weight loss and actually lead to weight gain.

Health risks of not eating enough

It is important to eat enough food to keep your body healthy. Without a sufficient amount of food, you risk four general impacts on your overall health.

1) Low energy - Food gives your body fuel to move and make it through the day. When you don't give your body enough food, it slows its processes to conserve energy. This can lead to fatigue, and make completing daily tasks a challenge.

2) Slow Metabolism - A reduced metabolism can make losing weight much more difficult because your body does not burn as many calories while resting. Additionally, it can cause high blood sugar, digestive issues and weaken the immune system.

3) Reproductive Issues - A lack of adequate food suppresses sex hormones and lowers libido in both men and women. It may also lead to other reproductive issues, such as menstrual dysfunction in women and lower testosterone in men.

4) Lack of Performance - With less energy due to a lack of food, recovery time and performance measures, such as strength, endurance, speed, coordination, and concentration, are negatively affected. This makes your workouts less effective, which makes it difficult to see any progress and stay motivated in your fitness journey.

How much should you be eating?

Determining how many calories is the right amount for you to be eating can be difficult. 

In order to find out how much you should be eating, factors such as gender, age, height, weight, and activity level are all taken into consideration. To get started, you can use a simple calorie calculator, such as the one on, to help you determine how many calories your body needs to maintain your weight. There are also food tracking apps, such as MyFitnessPal, that can help you track how many calories you are eating each day and make it easier to stay consistent with your nutritional goals.

Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, you can then slightly alter the number of calories you're taking in to meet your specific goals. As long as you're tracking your calorie intake, and monitoring any changes you're making with a tracker or a food journal, you can make sure you're staying within healthy limits and adapt as you need to if you find you aren't.

Final thoughts

When it comes to nutrition, it is important to remind yourself that there are no bad foods, just foods prepared in good or bad ways. Labeling food as good or bad can hurt your relationship with food and become extremely detrimental to your mental health. Instead, focus on eating enough, and having a healthy relationship with your food. This means striking a balance between what and how often you eat, portion sizes, and keeping good habits with what you're eating.

You should be able to eat the foods you enjoy without feeling guilty or like you have lost all your progress. Ideally, you should consume real, whole foods as often as possible to give your body plenty of nutrients and improve your overall health, but don't forget to treat yourself every now and then! Food fuels our bodies and enables us to do incredible things, so make sure you are eating enough to stay healthy and keep your body functioning properly.