Updated: Sep 13, 2021
When do you know you need to grab a snack? How many times a day do you eat? These are questions that are answered differently, strongly depending on the person and their lifestyle.
While obesity and being overweight are usually the top concerns when we talk about things like diet and exercise, the desire to shed fat at all costs has caused a spike in the number of individuals engaging in equally unhealthy restrictive eating habits and behaviors. These destructive behaviors, are also known as disordered eating and they can negatively affect health and interfere with how our body continues to function.
According to a SELF survey (Karras, 2008) which obtained responses from 4,000 American women between the ages 25 - 45 and found that most disordered eaters fall into one, or more, of six general categories:
Calorie prisoners: these eaters are terrified of gaining weight. This creates the tendency to see food as good or bad, with no grey area for moderation. This can cause people to feel extremely guilty if they indulge in a food or foods they consider to be “forbidden.”
Secret eaters: They tend to binge on junk food wherever they will not be found out. The feelings of shame can cause people to isolate themselves to hide their eating habits.
Career dieters: Most of us can relate this category to fad dieters. They may not know what to eat without a plan to follow; they are more likely than other types to be overweight or obese due to the fluctuation of diets, imbalances, and lack of understand on what their body needs.
Purgers: Are most commonly associated with bulimia, but can be anyone who is obsessed with ridding the body of unwanted calories and bloat. Some even start using things like laxatives, diuretics or occasional vomiting.
Food addicts: eat to soothe stress, deal with anger, even celebrate a happy event; they think about food nearly all the time.
Extreme Exercisers: work out excessively, despite illness, injury, or exhaustion.
The catch-22 of these disordered eating patterns is that they do not actually help us lose or maintain weight at all, and can instead increase the risk for hormonal imbalances and weight gain.
Why would restricting calories make us gain weight?
Steve, an average-ish young adult male, wakes up and decides today is the day he is going to start dieting! A website he read online says the average male should eat 2,500 calories a day.* He wants to lose 5-10lbs of body fat he gained recently, so he decides he is going to limit to 2000 calories a day. In his mind, this is only a drop of a measly 500 calories!
- Steve begins to feels hungrier because restricted caloric intake is stimulating his appetite. All of our bodies need a certain amount of calories just to perform basic functions. The amount needed goes up depending on your lifestyle and activity level.
- His neurotransmitters will fall, causing mood swings or symptoms of depression. I think we all can relate to Steve's "Hangry" feeling that comes along with an empty stomach!
- As well, Steve's level of thyroid hormone begins to drops, causing a slowdown in his metabolism. This means your body is slowing the calorie burning process.
- The stress hormone Cortisol begins to increase if Steve starts skipping meals, reduced food intake or having insufficient carbohydrate intake. Cortisol can wreak havoc on many parts of our bodies if we are exposed to it for a long period of time.
-Growth hormones' & functions such as cell regeneration and tissue repair are impaired and the body begins to suffer negative implications.
Other Reason's Calorie Restriction Can Hurt Us:
Reduces the variety of foods we are eating, putting us at a risk of being vitamin and mineral deficiency!
People have a tendency of cutting carbohydrates, which are your bodies main energy source. Without a proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates our bodies start to work improperly and can result in a number of unwanted health conditions.
Skipping meals can lead to blood sugar problems and put you at risk for Diabetes.
Want to find out more reasons calorie restriction can hurt us? Or if you find yourself falling into one of these six categories: REACH OUT! Let's take control of what "diet" means to you and switch you over to a healthy, choice-based mentality that will give you lasting healthy results!
Your Coach in Health & Fitness