"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

How can I eat consciously to maintain a healthy weight when I am underweight?

Lisa Cutforth - Saturday, April 10, 2010

Your question answered:

How can I eat consciously to maintain a healthy weight when I am underweight?

If you are underweight it is important that you eat regularly and that you eat enough to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. If you are living a very active lifestyle and battle to get in enough nutrients you may need to supplement your diet.     

If one of the reasons you are underweight is because you enjoy being slim or "skinny", it is still important that you eat consciously and provide your body with enough nutrients to sustain health.  If your body becomes malnourished you may start to experience undesirable symptoms like dull hair, low energy, muscle wasting, disrupted hormones, broken nails, unusual hair growth, hair loss, skin outbreaks, cracks and sores, gum disease, bowel discomfort, body odour. 

Eating consciously involves listening to your body and nuturing it.  Here are some tips:

  • Eat nutrient dense foods like: fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, eggs, fish, cold pressed vegetable oils
  • Eat regularly: around every 4 hours to prevent your body entering "fasting" or "starvation" state where it will burn even more of your reserves.
  • Eat when you feel hungry: you don't have to eat a lot, but eat something
  • Remember to eat, don't skip meals, it will make you lose muscle and upset your blood sugar, leaving you feeling tired, vulnerable, and irritable and compromise your metabolism
  • If you have a small appetite don't drink fluids with meals, it will full you up and you may be inclined to not eat enough proper food.
  • Make sure you eat enough carbohydrate to preserve your protein for muscle building and tissue repair and other functional activities (not a fuel source).  Eat some carbohdrate at each meal (3 - 7 serves a day). (Fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals all count as carbohydrates).
  • Eat protein daily (1 -2 serves) (Beans, eggs, fish, meat, chicken, soya, nuts, seeds, quinoa are examples of protein foods)
  • Consider taking a multivitamin and mineral (Usana probably provides the best all round multi vitamin, mineral and antioxidant complex)
  • Eat responsibly. Be conscious of not over indulging in "junk food" and unhealthy food just because you can and "it doesn't affect your weight", too many empty calories and many of the additives in these foods will put extra stress and strain on your body which may have lasting repurcussions. 
  • Find ways to manage stress, particularly if stress negetively affects your appetite and makes you lose your desire to eat.
  • Limit stimulants, if you are already underweight it is best to avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar

If you are underweight and you feel you are eating enough it might be worth seeing someone to investigate what is going on for your body:  sometimes "wasting" can exist alongside diseases like cancer, or parasite infections or extreme stress or metabolic disturbances, psychological imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and thyroid problems.

Please contact me for any further information.

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