Weight loss occurs when we consume fewer calories than our body is using, but eating too few calories can weight gain and/or an inability to lose weight. Deny your body the fuel it needs, and it will turn to your muscles instead of stored fat to find energy. This causes weight loss but it is loss of muscle, not fat.
If you are not eating enough calories to fuel your body, it will switch into “starvation mode” where it is trying to preserve everything you are eating. You may notice an increased appetite and an inability to feel full or you may experience intense sugar cravings and uncontrollable eating.
Your body needs approximately 1200 calories per day just to stay alive. Consuming fewer than 1200 calories will inhibit weight loss, and is considered unsafe. This level of calorie consumption can lead to serious health risks and complications.
To lose weight and keep it off, it is best to talk with a nutritionist who can advise you how many calories you should consume for weight loss. (I have found that for most women to lose weight they typically need to consume at least 1400-1600 calories, more if they are exercising. Men need about 1800 calories and more if they are exercising). Once you know how many calories you need, you should plan your meals and snacks so that you are eating every 3 hours. Start every day with a healthy breakfast and then eat small frequent meals every 3 hours. You also want to drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated and prevent sugar cravings.
Tip: If you are consuming too few calories, gradually increase your caloric intake until you are at a healthy level. Ideally every snack and meal should be composed of a protein and carbohydrate source. This combination will help you feel full longer as your body absorbs the food at a slower rate. This translates to you eating less calories and losing weight!