Ask the Dietitian – Eating Enough?

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Question:  One of the members in my class is not eating all the food on the Live It Plan.  Is this okay?

Answer:  Not eating all of the food on the plan can affect metabolism, especially if the person has made it a long-term habit to eat less than 1000 calories.  God has made our bodies so that they “adjust” to a famine-type situation, lowering the calories we need to function when food is scarce. Therefore, the person has trained their body to get better “gas mileage”, so to speak!  There are a couple of results from this.  Some body processes are hindered/slowed-down so all of our organs are not supplied with nutrients as well as they would be otherwise.  Also, if they aren’t eating the full 1300-1400 calories with the correct amounts from each food group, they are more than likely not getting enough nutrients in the food they ARE eating to optimize their health.  Example: cutting back on milk can affect bone health, cutting back on fruits/vegetables can affect eyes/skin/hair health with lack of Vitamins, and cutting back on grains can affect energy levels/digestive health with fewer whole grains, etc.  If the person has eaten very low calorie amounts for a long time and they start eating the full 1300-1400, they may show an initial weight gain while the metabolism adjusts back.  However, eventually (a few weeks) it usually reverses.  Eating this level of calories, especially spread throughout the day, begins to “kick start” their metabolism and they actually start burning more calories!  To minimize the gain and begin the reversal more quickly, it becomes especially important to assure that the person gets adequate exercise (cardio and strength), which also boosts metabolism.