There are a few reasons why you might not be eating enough. Maybe you’re working like crazy and literally *forget* to eat sometimes. It happens. Perhaps you just got back from vacation where you ate everything you could get your hands on, and an attempt to clean out and reset your body someone turned into eating way less than you normally do or should. Maybe you have some disordered eating issues (that we really hope you’re getting all the help and support with that you need). Whatever the reason is, let’s be super frank: The things that happen to your body when you don’t eat enough are honestly really bad.
As we’re sure you know, the goal is to seek some moderation in your diet — which is easier said than done sometimes.
HelloGiggles talked to Frida Harju, a nutritionist who works for the Swedish health and wellness app Lifesum to get a better idea about what actually goes down when you don’t eat enough. Harju told HelloGiggles, “In Sweden, we have ‘lagom’ which literally means ‘just the right amount’, so not too much and not too little. When it comes to staying fit and healthy, this is what you should aim for, without restricting yourself too much, but also without indulging in foods that could be bad for you.”
Eating enough is essential for your physical and mental health. You run the risk of disease or organ failure, but even simpler things like being cranky or not sleeping.
Here are all of the things that will happen when you’re not eating enough.
1Your organs go into overdrive.
Skipping out on foods mean missing the vitamins and nutrients that help our organs do their jobs. It also means losing out on amino acids, which leads to bone weakness. Your heart takes a toll, too. “Skipping out on fruit, vegetables and fiber in general increases the risks of heart disease and diabetes, as well as playing havoc with the digestive system,” Harju said.
2You might binge eat.
When we don’t eat or skip meals, our body gets confused. Harju told HG that eating throughout the day is “another way to keep your energy levels up without overeating at the designated meal times.” Not eating enough is no way to lose weight, if only because you’re more likely to overeat when you actually sit down to it.
3You get constipated.
Skipping out on fruits and veggies, or any food with fiber or carbs, will do a number on your digestive system. Your body will go either one of two ways: diarrhea or constipation. Neither of those is great, so if you’re experiencing either on the regular, check your diet to see what you can do to fix it.
4Your anxiety levels go way up.
Eating is all about making sure your body’s blood sugar levels are at just the right point. Your blood sugar affects pretty much everything: It can make you sleepy, too active, and even crazy stressed and cranky. Harju says, “[Not eating] destabilizes your blood sugar levels, which might leave you feeling weak, anxious and even moody.” In addition to that, it ruins your beauty sleep, causing mood swings. She says skipping meals and not eating can “also make you feel tired and destabilize your sleeping pattern.”
5You’ll feel fatigued.
When you don’t eat enough, your sugar levels go all over the place, which can lead to feeling fatigued. We often assume that cutting all fats is a good thing, but that’s not true. Harju says, “While avoiding trans fats is good for you, removing healthy fats from your diet can make you feel less energetic, reduce brain function and lower your immune system.”
You already know that eating enough is essential not just to feeling your best, but literally surviving. If you think your diet and eating habits are doing more harm than good, you should consult your doctor, a nutritionist, or a mental health professional ASAP.