If you want to lose weight, being in a caloric deficit is the key. But how to tell if you have gone too extreme when cutting your intake? These are the 5 signs your calories are too low.
We’ve all been there when it comes to losing weight. We all want to do it at some point in our lives and we resort to success stories to follow the same path hoping to achieve the same result. Let’s be clear from the beginning and tell you there is one clear way to lower your body fat: be in a caloric deficit and do more exercises, respecting your body’s recovery process.
However, sometimes people tend to go the extra mile. Although it can be difficult to exercise more, some people opt to target their eating habits to lose even more weight, or to continue losing weight, without thinking about the possible consequences it might have on their bodies.
Crash diets are not sustainable. The problem with them is that, unfortunately, they work to a certain degree. People who change their eating habits extremely from one side to the other will notice some results in the weight loss department. But since it is not sustainable, that weight will come back quite fast after returning to the normal diet. So how can you tell if you are eating way less than you should.
These 5 signs your calories are too low were shared in a video made by Mario Tomic, an entrepreneur who helps other busy working professionals get fit and build a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. Check it out.
5 Signs Your Calories Are Too Low
It is important to note that calorie intake is difficult to generalise to people. For some people, 2,000 calories are just enough to lose weight, while it could also be not enough depending on your current body mass, or too much if you are very skinny.
With that in mind, Tomic decided to share 5 signs that your calories might be set too low. “What I’d like you to do is to take these signs and honestly evaluate your current plan and see if you need to make any changes.”
The signs are:
1. Objectively getting weaker at the gym
This is not just a “one bad day at the gym” type of situation. But if you are consistently getting worse performance when training and you’re not even that lean, then you might have a problem.
This usually begins when you are doing fewer reps than before and then, eventually, you need to reduce the weight you normally lift.
2. Losing Weight Too Fast
Based on your body fat percentage, if you are losing weight too fast, this could mean that you are consuming too little calories.
Tomic’s advice is this:
- If you have 25% body fat or more, aim to lose 1% of bodyweight per week
- If you are at 20% body fat, aim to lose 0.5 to 0.7% of body weight per week
If you are losing more than that, chances are that you are losing muscle instead of fat, which is detrimental to your goals down the line. So eat more calories.
3. Consistent Cheat Days
This is customary for people who have very few calories during the week and then binge eat during the weekends. If you look at your weekly average, chances are that you are close to maintenance.
But wait, if you are close to calorie maintenance, doesn’t that mean you should eat less? Not exactly, as Mario Tomic explains that the plan set out is built for you to fail.
“You need to start eating more on those regular days so you don’t have such an urge to rebel against your diet on the weekends.”
4. Hunger Completely Out of Control
Feeling some kind of hunger while losing body fat is completely normal. As long as you are eating unprocessed food, full of protein, sleeping well, and hydrating properly, you should be ok.
The problem is when your calorie intake is so low that you feel hungry all the time. This is when meals no longer make you feel satiated and the result, probably, is you snacking away from a calorie deficit.
You’re better off planning for that hunger wave instead of going off your diet plan all the time and then dealing with the mental disappointment that comes with that.
The ultimate goal is to find a balance between effectiveness and sustainability. Aim to be consistent with your healthy eating habit for months, instead of being extremely disciplined for a few days.
5. Not Functioning Properly On a Daily Basis
The symptom here is feeling lethargic most of the time. If you can’t focus on work causing you more stress, feeling dizziness, headaches, and not being able to fall asleep – these are all symptoms that you might need to increase your calorie intake.
Many people realise that not eating enough is affecting their daily lives and this is when some decide to quit. Rather than quitting, increase your calorie intake by 10% and see how you feel.
For more info from Mario Tomic himself, click on the video below.
Weight Loss Plateaus
Weight loss plateaus occur when a person’s weight loss progress slows down or stalls despite their continued efforts to lose weight. There are several reasons why this can happen:
- Metabolic adaptation: When you lose weight, your body adapts to the lower calorie intake and can start burning fewer calories at rest. This means that as you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories to maintain your new weight, which can cause your weight loss progress to slow down.
- Changes in physical activity: If you’ve been doing the same type and amount of exercise for a while, your body may become used to it and not burn as many calories as before. Additionally, you may experience fatigue or injury, which can cause you to decrease your physical activity level.
- Calorie intake: As you lose weight, you need fewer calories to maintain your weight. If you don’t adjust your calorie intake accordingly, you may start to consume too many calories, which can slow down or stall your weight loss progress.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as fluctuations in insulin levels, can affect weight loss progress. For example, insulin resistance can make it more difficult to lose weight, especially around the midsection.
- Psychological factors: Stress, lack of sleep, and other psychological factors can affect weight loss progress. Stress can increase levels of cortisol, which can promote fat storage, while lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.
To overcome weight loss plateaus, it’s important to reassess your diet, exercise routine, and lifestyle habits to identify areas where you can make adjustments. This can include increasing physical activity, adjusting calorie intake, and managing stress and sleep. Additionally, consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide personalized recommendations to help you reach your weight loss goals.