While overeating is a common problem there are also many times when we don't eat enough and that can be a problem too.
Food is our fuel and when the tank is on empty, it affects our metabolism and hinders our physical and mental performance.
I find that there are generally two main reasons why some people don't eat enough. The first reason is because of "weight loss" intentions and the other reason is because of "being too busy to eat". The "weight loss" reason stems from an intentional effort of restricting calories with the idea that this will help lose weight quickly. The "too busy" reason happens when life is going faster than the speed of light and food falls to the wayside.
Let's dive into how both of those reasons play out and some tips on how to overcome both so that you can fuel your body the right way.
Do you remember being a kid and having the ability to improvise with whatever situation you were in? If you were stuck on a long car trip, you would think up a game to play. Or if the weather was bad and you couldn’t go outside, you would invent something fun to do. Or during a power outage, you pretended you were living in ancient times.
As an only child growing up, I was in that situation countless times. Boredom didn’t defeat me; it challenged me to be creative and productive in the moment. There were no limits on what I could think up, imagine, or do. I was fabulous at putting on dance shows for imaginary audiences, creating enough artwork to fill a museum, and pretending that roller skating in my grandmother’s basement was an Olympic sport.
As we get older sometimes we forget what that is like because we get caught up with all the stresses and worries of an overscheduled busy life. And sometimes use those stresses as excuses for not bothering to keep up with healthy intentions. When things don’t go as expected, it is easy to get off track and get flustered.
Being healthy is not only about eating right and exercising (although those things are super important).
In addition to eating well, it is also important to nourish your life with good self-care. Good self-care includes making sure you get adequate sleep! You can eat all the dark leafy greens in the world, and still not be the healthiest best version of you, if you are not getting enough sleep.
When you are stressed, you want to eat junk food, yes?
Drown your sorrows in a pint of ice-cream. Wolf down a bacon double cheeseburger. Eat a big plate of fries.
This might seem comforting in the moment but it is the worst thing you can do.
When you are under stress, your body takes much longer to clear saturated fats from your bloodstream. Stress also slows down the speed of how food is moving through your digestive system, which leads to weight gain and increased inflammation. Increased inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, by the way.
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Megan Ántoni Placa, MS, CNS