Has it ever occurred to you that you may not be eating enough food? The average American is under eating, which is a result of frequent dieting, fear of overeating, and busy schedules. This seems a bit bizarre, considering the average American is also overweight. Is there a correlation?

I believe there is a direct correlation and there are other experts and research that backs this up. When you under eat, your body doesn’t get enough calories to fuel its energy requirements. To manage this imbalance your body has to adapt by lowering your metabolic rate. It does this to survive what is perceived as a food shortage, and when your body is in this state it also begins to hoard fat. The more often your body is in a food shortage mode, the more the body anticipates future food shortages and becomes a fat storing machine, ensuring that when you do get enough food some of it gets stored as fat. Do you think that has happened to you?

Unfortunately, the body is quick to store fat, but reluctant to use it – unless it experiences an extended food shortage or famine (usually an extreme diet). And then the body is even quicker to rebuild its fat stores after the food shortage is over, in case it is needed for an even longer famine. This is why frequent dieters have less success and more weight gain with each successive diet. I hear this all the time from people that don’t understand why it was once so easy to lose weight on a diet, and now they can’t seem to lose anything on a diet and are hitting their all-time high weight levels. They feel like they are failing at dieting. They aren’t failing. The diet is failing them. Diets are one of the primary causes of obesity; because they put the body into a starvation mode and ultimately accelerate fat-storing that is difficult to stop once the metabolic rate has been lowered.

When you do not eat enough food you may also experience exhaustion, weakness, lack of motivation, headaches, lack of concentration, irritability, or possibly depression or moodiness. Food is fuel for the cells in our body, and the brain is particularly affected when it doesn’t get enough carbohydrates – its only source of fuel. So if you aren’t feeling that well, maybe you aren’t eating enough food or enough carbohydrates balanced with protein and fat. Many people who did the Atkins diet found that they didn’t think as clearly and got easily fatigued when on the diet, and that is because they weren’t getting enough carbohydrates – the body’s primary source of fuel. If you did a low carb diet, did you notice any change in your moods, concentration or energy levels?

Another indicator that you might not be getting enough food is if you’ve been sick a lot, become prone to injuries or stress fractures, or even missed menstrual cycles. Again, food is what fuels our cells and gives us the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. When we don’t get enough, it affects our internal functions, immune system and even bone density, because the body will start to break down muscle, bone and tissue to get any fuel that is stored in these places to survive.

There is a reason food is called energy or fuel, and that is because every cell in our body needs that fuel as energy to function properly. We are an amazing physical machine that burns energy efficiently to keep us both healthy and alive. But when we don’t give our body enough fuel, it doesn’t work as well.

One of the things that can happen when you deprive yourself of food is an uncontrollable urge to overeat. This is called the deprivation backlash and it can drive you to eat more than you want or need. What is interesting is most people are driven to overeat carbohydrates when they don’t eat enough, and it actually makes sense. When you don’t get enough food, you have both a physical and emotional response. Physically, the body gets desperate for more fuel and carbohydrates (particularly simple carbs) is the fastest way to get it, and emotionally, if you’ve been deprived of carbs you will become more obsessed with them. When was the last time you experienced this?

So this week pay attention to whether you are getting enough to eat. Notice if you are skipping meals and then overeating later, or if you are in a diet mentality and limiting how much you feed yourself. It is best to eat when you are hungry and stop before you are full, letting your body signal you on how much is enough. Try listening to your hunger signals to govern how much food is right for you.

Author's Bio: 

Alice Greene, Lifestyle fitness and inspirations coach, founder of Fit Beyond 40, creator of Help Yourself Today, Living Free Diabetes and radio show host. www.fitbeyond40.com, www.helpyourselftoday.com, www.livingyourpersonalbest.com, www.livingfreediabetes.com