Adapted from an article by Lisa Maximus
It’s a simple fact: most women don’t eat enough. This is why women need to eat more :
In the article “The Metabolic Vortex,” I discuss how people (most often women) do damage to their bodies over time by chronically under-eating. They suffer from the delusion that by reducing the amount of calories they eat, they will lose weight. If anything, this is the opposite of what happens. The body is smart, and when calories are reduced, it begins to hold onto them and go into a sort of starvation mode. Their bodies are not strong or fit, and they suffer from all sorts of health problems and psychological problems.
However, there is a way for women to turn things around: by eating more. Women who eat a lot of food (sometimes 3,000 calories per day or more) can actually look better, have more energy, and feel great. Stress is reduced, anxiety is reduced, and they feel healthy and happy.
Many women have fallen into this low calorie trap, and go through these issues. And as much as it may sound like a generalization, they’re typically all under-eating. They struggle with their appearance, body images, and mental wellness. As it turns out, insufficient fueling is the opposite of what they should be doing.
Helping women learn the right way to eat is challenging. Understanding why women need to eat more is challenging as well. After all, the media has been telling all of us for years to “eat less” and constantly tells us to abstain from full food groups. We are assaulted by photoshopped images which present an unrealistic view of how fit bodies should look.
Unfortunately, nutritionists don’t help much, either. Many so-called diet experts tell women to eat way too little! While yes, there are certain cases that require specific interventions, if you are reading this blog and are spending a lot of time in the gym, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably not one of them. Women who want to gain muscle and strength have dietary needs which usually are not being met.
Why share this with you? Because I want to see women feeling healthy. I have seen many women deal with this issue and the difference it makes in their lives when they improve it. And yet even with proven results, women still have a huge issue with hearing that they need to eat more.
Breakdowns are inevitable in the process: as women begin to eat more, there is an adjustment period where things get worse before they get better. They feel bloated or “fat” and become disgusted with their own bodies. Often times, this is when they abort mission and go back to the restrictive diet. They don’t know that if they just keep going their body will level out.
It can be frustrating to see women start the process of improving their bodies and lives and then lose faith and give up. It’s hard to see the emotional struggle that comes with the healing crisis of getting healthy.
However, my frustration doesn’t help people. I have compassion because I know that the process is trying and that the fear feelings that women experience have nothing to do with me or their respect for me. Unfortunately, fear can be a powerful motivator for bad behavior, and can keep people from making positive changes. So, how can I help? By asking these questions:
Has your current restrictive diet been working?
Do you think it will start working any time soon?
Is a restrictive diet making you feel good?
Are you accomplishing your fitness goals?
Are you happy and healthy?
Have you been dieting your entire life? If so, could it be time to try something new?
Wouldn’t you love to be able to eat more?
Are you willing to make a change in your approach so that you can change your life for the better?
Often, when women think about it in these terms, it begins to make sense and they become receptive to giving it a shot.
Why not be brave, yourself? Try it for a few months. Give yourself the time to try eating more for three months. Put your scale away, keep your mind busy, and make a commitment to stick with it. Notice how you’re feeling throughout the process. While you may feel bloated for a while, don’t you also start to see some positive effects? It’s likely that you’ll start to notice that you can lift more, that you have more energy, that your digestion has improved, and that you have more stamina. You may also find some unexpected effects, like improved mood, better sex drive, and more patience with your partner or kids.
Don’t let your self worth be based on your weight or how your clothes hang. For the time being, stick to looser clothing and be kind to yourself. There will be a short term period of discomfort as your body adjusts, but it is not forever. And the results will be long lasting. Within 6 months, your metabolism will level out and begin trusting that it can burn the fuel that you are giving your body. So keep your caloric intake high, and you will be on the road to long term health and fitness success. Not to mention, you’ll be a healthier, happier person.
Yes, this is a scary endeavor, but it is worth it. If you’ve been miserable on diets all your life, what have you got to lose? Things can only get better.