1

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Undereating! Should I increase calories? (EDIT)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 08, 2012 at 11:20 PM

EDIT: So I've tried to increase calories this past week, but I really feel full on my current amount of food. I've also been tracking nutrients, and according to Cron-O-Meter I'm hitting about 80% of my requirements, with mild deficits in vitamins B1, E, calcium, iron, and potassium. Should I still be trying to increase my food intake? Or is this where my body wants to be?

Thanks, guys! I appreciate the help.

I've been paleo (always been on a low-carb, gluten and dairy free diet, but recently took out corn and fructose) since August of this year.

I have a history of undereating and obsessing about calories, but I thought I'd been doing better. Since August I dropped about 10 lbs after cutting out fructose that I hadn't been able to with severe caloric restriction, and am mostly happy with where my body is now.

Recently, however, I've been feeling really tired. I logged my daily menus into Cron-O-Meter, and lo and behold, I've been eating about 800 calories per day. I'm a 5'1, 109 lb female, but that's much too low, isn't it?

I eat to satiation, entirely meat and vegetables, and don't feel as bad as 800 calories per day sounds like it would be. I'm a lightly active college student- I have a standing desk and walk everywhere. Seems my BMR is 1200-1400 calories without adding in exercise.

Should I increase my calories? Has anyone else gone through this?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate having a community like this.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

That's what I thought! Keeping in mind that people usually way underestimate what they're eating, I've tried to add in a "buffer" by rounding up all my portions.

874ff271ca3379984344d5f9f760fec3

(471)

on December 16, 2012
at 12:12 PM

Too much protein, too little healthy fats. This usually results in high blood sugar (causes fatigue) and malnutrition causing excess gluconeogenesis. Study Dr. Rosedale's research. -Add MCT oil and avocado to your AM diet.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 09, 2012
at 01:56 PM

Wow, that makes me feel much better. Congrats on your success, by the way!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on December 09, 2012
at 03:59 AM

I was able to move up in calories, actually doubling my calories over the course of a few months with no weight gain, and I actually leaned out a bit, so I think I gained muscle. I think my body adjusted as I increased calories, and my metabolism increased as well. I never went crazy with binges or anything, but just gradually increased it by adding more fats and sugary things like fruit.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:47 PM

How are you figuring your calorie intake? Estimating portions? If you're not wiped all the time, you're not eating 800 calories out of BMR of 1400. you're likely under-estimating portions and are closer to BMR than you think you are.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:45 PM

You may gain weight initially, but don't be scared if this happens. Your body is resilient and will bounce back...when your metabolism comes back, make sure you layer because you'll suddenly feel warm randomly! That means your body is getting back in gear. Liquid calories digest faster, so you won't have that distended/bloated feeling you get from "re-feeding" a lot of the time.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Thanks for the reply!! I am losing, I believe, but at a very slow pace. I'd like to get my BMR back to normal without gaining weight, if at all possible. Liquid calories is a great idea!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Thanks for the reply!! I am losing, I believe, but at a very slow pace. I'd like to get my BMR back to normal without gaining weight, if at all possible. Liquid calories is a great idea! Thanks again!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thanks for the sweet reply! I've cut out all sweet things- I specified fructose because I didn't eat any added sweeteners before going paleo. I'd like to lose a little more weight if possible, but I feel like my metabolism has adapted too much to how little I've been eating. I think my body loves fructose too much, so I'm trying to stay away from fruit for now. When you upped your calories and carbs, was it hard to keep your weight under control? Or did your body just adapt easily? Thanks again!

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6 Answers

3
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on December 08, 2012
at 11:30 PM

Your metabolism is probably low right now to be on that number of calories and maintaining (or are you losing?). I'm sure you'll be getting comments about how your weight is "fine" but it is not just about the numbers. You're feeling run down, you're eating around 800 calories.

I do think you should increase your calories. I think spacing out your meals will help you get your metabolism running again, and maybe you'll start to feel more energy after you eat small meals across the day with more calories. Liquid calories (bone broth, smoothies) might make it easier for your stomach to handle extra volume after restricting.

For people with disordered eating (not the same as an eating disorder), "eat when hungry/stop when full" is too simple of an answer. If you have a history of undereating, your body's hunger signals may be off/difficult to decipher.

I am so glad you are listening to your body. I hope you find your way to health!!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:45 PM

You may gain weight initially, but don't be scared if this happens. Your body is resilient and will bounce back...when your metabolism comes back, make sure you layer because you'll suddenly feel warm randomly! That means your body is getting back in gear. Liquid calories digest faster, so you won't have that distended/bloated feeling you get from "re-feeding" a lot of the time.

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Thanks for the reply!! I am losing, I believe, but at a very slow pace. I'd like to get my BMR back to normal without gaining weight, if at all possible. Liquid calories is a great idea!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Thanks for the reply!! I am losing, I believe, but at a very slow pace. I'd like to get my BMR back to normal without gaining weight, if at all possible. Liquid calories is a great idea! Thanks again!

2
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:29 PM

By cutting out fructose do you mean that you're cutting out added fructose, or fruit? Your weight seems fine for your height, but the low energy would be a concern for me, plus getting enough nutrients in 800 calories a day seems like it could be a challenge. Do you sleep enough? Would you be willing to add in more sugary roots like carrots or beets, or perhaps more fruit? It might help give you more energy. I've had trouble eating enough when I am very low carb/keto, I just get disinterested in food, and can have ok energy for a while but eventually, it feels like it catches up on me. Also, going too low cal for too long put threw off my thyroid from being normal to having elevated TSH and being slightly hypothyroid. Adding calories and carbs helped me get out of that, plus I had much more energy. I hope you find something that works for you!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 08, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Thanks for the sweet reply! I've cut out all sweet things- I specified fructose because I didn't eat any added sweeteners before going paleo. I'd like to lose a little more weight if possible, but I feel like my metabolism has adapted too much to how little I've been eating. I think my body loves fructose too much, so I'm trying to stay away from fruit for now. When you upped your calories and carbs, was it hard to keep your weight under control? Or did your body just adapt easily? Thanks again!

46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 09, 2012
at 01:56 PM

Wow, that makes me feel much better. Congrats on your success, by the way!

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on December 09, 2012
at 03:59 AM

I was able to move up in calories, actually doubling my calories over the course of a few months with no weight gain, and I actually leaned out a bit, so I think I gained muscle. I think my body adjusted as I increased calories, and my metabolism increased as well. I never went crazy with binges or anything, but just gradually increased it by adding more fats and sugary things like fruit.

1
103a639b040a17bb579084287f2a5307

on December 13, 2012
at 01:30 AM

If you are slowly losing weight and are tired all the time you need to eat more. To increase your appetite, try increasing your carb intake.

And in my humble opinion, you need to get AT LEAST 100% of your RDI. I have this theory that micro nutrient deficiency is one of the major causes of chronic disease.

1
2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc

(1974)

on December 09, 2012
at 02:41 AM

This is what has helped my matabolism and weight... After restricting calories and losing weight, I upped my calories While also increasing excercise quite a bit. My body did not store the extra calories because it was suddenly using so much more to build muscle and all.

0
874ff271ca3379984344d5f9f760fec3

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I suspect high serum glucose. Test Blood sugar. Without the presence of carbs, coconut oil is a great way to add calories. (and depending on your genetics, could improve your lipid profile). I could not stop losing weight until I added coconut oil.

874ff271ca3379984344d5f9f760fec3

(471)

on December 16, 2012
at 12:12 PM

Too much protein, too little healthy fats. This usually results in high blood sugar (causes fatigue) and malnutrition causing excess gluconeogenesis. Study Dr. Rosedale's research. -Add MCT oil and avocado to your AM diet.

0
46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on December 13, 2012
at 01:18 AM

EDIT: So I've tried to increase calories this past week, but I really feel full on my current amount of food. I've also been tracking nutrients, and according to Cron-O-Meter I'm hitting about 80% of my requirements, with mild deficits in vitamins B1, E, calcium, iron, and potassium. Should I still be trying to increase my food intake? Or is this where my body wants to be?

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