These Photos Are Proof That Under-Eating Will Only Sabotage Your Fitness Goals

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It’s almost common sense in our minds: When trying to lose weight, you should eat less, not more. Australian fitness blogger Madalin Frodsham thought the same, so after deciding that 2016 was going to be her year to finally get fit and achieve her goals, she started Kayla Itsines’ high-intensity workout plan and started eating lower-calorie meals, logging in at less than 1,000 calories eaten per day. After months of not seeing the results she wanted, she decided to visit a nutritionist—turns out, she wasn’t eating enough calories or macronutrients, and as a result, her weight loss remained stagnant. The advice she received was priceless, changed her life and goes to show that less isn’t always better.

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“When I was eating 800 calories a day, I thought I was healthy,” Frodsham recently shared with her readers in an Instagram post, assuring them that she ate until she felt full. “After a while though…I simply wasn’t seeing the results I had anticipated. So I got in touch with a [personal trainer] and nutritional coach and got my macro[nutrient]s sorted.” (“Macronutrients” is a blanket term for dietary components including carbohydrates, proteins and fats that our bodies need to perform at their best.) After reviewing her diet, Frodsham’s nutritionist told her that she needed to significantly increase her caloric intake and that she should ensure that 50 percent of this intake comes from healthy carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

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Let's just preface this by saying no, I did not have an ED. When I was eating 800 calories a day, I thought I was healthy. I was eating healthy food, but hardly any macronutrients. I was curious to find out what my macros were like before I actually started counting my macros, so I entered my old foods into @myfitnesspal to find out. I was quiet astonished to see how little protein and carbs I was eating. 800 calories seems absurdly low as now I need minimum 1500 calories to be full, but at the time 800 calories was keeping me full because that's what my body was used to. After a while though, salad simply wasn't cutting it, and for all the restrictions I was placing on my diet, I simply wasn't seeing the results I had anticipated. So I got in touch with a PT and nutritional coach and got my macros sorted. When he first told me to eat 50% carbs I nearly died! I was eating about 10% carbs before and could not fathom how 50% carbs would not make me fat. I also freaked out at all the calories. I've been keeping an excel spreadsheet and in the first week of being on macros my average calories for the week was a little over 1000. I remember how hard I struggled to actually eat the size of my meals. I would just put my lunch next to my desk and eat it over the course of 3 hours as I couldn't eat it in one sitting! Now my stomach can take way more and is much happier! In the second week I was averaging 1600 calories a day! It didn't take long for my body to catch up. A part of me may always have that mindset that relates not eating with weight loss and "being good today". Sometimes I may forget to eat lunch just because I got busy and for a second I will revert back to old thinking, and think "ohh, I've done really well today and haven't eaten much at all." That's why I love tracking my macros. It will tell me "Maddy, you need to eat more. Go eat 3 potatoes". And I'll pat myself on the back for being healthy and doing really good today! If you're under feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, don't do what I did for so long. Don't waste your time eating salad when you could be eating sweet potatoes and banana pancakes. Eat more and get fit. It actually works 🙌🏽

A post shared by Madalin Giorgetta (she/her) (@madalingiorgetta) on

“When he first told me to eat 50 percent carbs I nearly died,” the blogger wrote. “I was eating about 10 percent carbs before and could not fathom how 50 percent carbs would not make me fat.” But, like her nutritionist and trainer ensured her, she didn’t gain any weight—instead, what she gained were visible abs, defined muscles and heightened energy. While it was tough for her to first get accustomed to the new size of her meals every day, Frodsham says that her body adjusted to the new caloric intake relatively quickly and that her body can easily the portions.

However, celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson says that an “all for one” approach—or caloric restriction alone—will not deliver long-lasting results or significantly noticeable results. “When looking to change body composition, it involves much more than just dieting,” she explains, adding that it’s important to match your personal health goal, energy requirements and activity intensity with the type of foods you consume for the best results. In other words, just because this diet and these numbers worked for Frodsham, doesn’t mean these exact requirements and restrictions will work for you. It’s crucial to remember that diets should be personalized and tailored to your own body. The lesson that under-eating is sure to backfire on you, however, is universal. Frodsham says it best: “If you’re under-feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, don’t do what I did for so long. Don’t waste your time eating salad when you could be eating sweet potatoes and banana pancakes. Eat more and get fit. It actually works.”

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