In our Indian culture, ‘eating until satisfied and not full’ is generally the norm. No wonder, the obesity levels are high and are set to triple between 2010 and 2040, as per a study published on the USA’s National Institute Of Health (NIH). Being overweight or obese makes us prone to several health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, mental health issues, arthritis, etc. Many are taking it upon themselves to shed that flab around their body, not just to look and feel better but to prevent the host of diseases obesity makes us prone to. Eating less is one of the strategies that is largely adopted. However, some take this too far and adopt highly restrictive diets. But is it good for weight loss? More importantly, is it good for the body?
To get the answer to these questions, Onlymyhealth spoke to Sreemathy Venkatraman, who is a clinical dietitian & wellness nutritionist and the founder of ‘Mithaahara - Eat to live’. “Portioning or eating less is the key to weight loss,” said Sreemathy. It leads to better digestion, doesn’t cause lethargy and brain fog, and helps with weight management. For those seeking quick results, eating too little might seem like an attractive option. But it does more harm than good.
Impact Of Eating Too Less On The Body
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This is how following a fad, or restrictive diet, affects the body and impacts weight loss goals:
- Eating too little, skipping meals, or following fad diets, such as soup or juice diets, leads to nutritional deficiencies.
- It affects the functioning of the body and compromises immunity.
- Prolonged starvation or yo-yo dieting in teenage girls can cause hormonal imbalances, which in turn leads to irregular periods.
- The nutritional deficiency can lead to muscle wasting, dullness in the skin and hair loss.
- It causes weakness.
How Does Eating Too Little Affect Weight Loss?
Your metabolism slows down when your body doesn’t get enough nutrition. This in turn makes it more difficult to lose weight. Also, when food deficient, you crave the wrong foods. For example, you might follow a healthy meal pattern till about 4-5 pm and then craving hits for either sweet or fried foods, such as namkeen or samosas. This is a scenario we can all relate to. It’s important to understand that “food and mood are intrinsically connected,” Sreemathy said. “It is important to eat right.”
Diet Tips To Keep In Mind When Trying To Lose Weight
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Nutrition is extremely crucial, if not more than exercise when it comes to losing weight. Here are the things you should keep in mind:
- An ideal weight-loss diet should be a balanced one, which includes all food groups, such as unpolished grains, dairy products, lean meat like fish, eggs, and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, good sources of fats for healthy skin, shining hair, and vitality, and energy to get you through the day. Such a balanced diet will ensure you get all the macro and micro-nutrients, along with vitamins and minerals.
- The source of calories is important. For example, when hungry, go for an apple or a seasonal fruit like guava or orange, which are good sources of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. The chewing and eating will keep you satisfied for a longer time, On the other hand, eating a bag of chips or a packet of biscuits will just give you empty calories, too much fat and you’ll get hungry sooner.
- Do not go after just one nutrient. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of vitamin C. However, do not go after just one nutrient, rather have a balanced diet. Consume at least 400 gm of local vegetables and seasonal fruits every day, which will give you all the vitamins and minerals, along with better gut health and a stronger immune system.
- Personalise your diet as per your work routine, your cravings and see what works for you.
- Remember that most diets fail because they are restrictive and unrealistic.
- Exercise is crucial for weight loss. Even a 10-minute workout will give you a good start.
Lastly, motivation and consistency are the keys when it comes to weight loss. Make the right decision for better health and life.
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