Losing weight takes hard work and dedication. It can be a game changer for your health, so naturally, even small changes will feel like a victory. You’ll feel tempted to keep going and going … but how much is too much?
Dropping pounds doesn’t always equal optimal health. This concept can be hard to grasp, especially since weight loss is put on a pedestal. And while it’s true that carrying around extra weight is linked to chronic disease, the other end of the spectrum isn’t necessarily better.
Not sure if you’ve gone too far? Keep an eye out for these physical signs that are hard to miss.
1. You’re Always Exhausted
Food is fuel. Calories and nutrients keep you going, but if you’re not getting enough, you’ll feel rundown and tired. Normal, everyday habits like walking up the stairs will feel like a drag. If you’re yawning non-stop even after a full night of sleep, don’t ignore it.
2. You’re Constantly On Edge
The effect of low-carb diets is especially strong. Carbohydrate, after all, is the brain and body’s primary source of energy. But since it isn’t stored like protein and fat, you need to replenish levels throughout the day.
Little to no intake is a sure-fire way to feel irritated and hangry! It’ll be hard to focus, even on the smallest tasks.
3. Your Period Is Abnormal
When the body is deprived of adequate nutrition, hormones get thrown for a loop. This imbalance may cause missed or whacky periods, while vitamin or mineral deficiencies can worsen PMS symptoms.
Low levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, is the reason behind abnormal menstruation. It’s normally produced by adipose cells and acts on reproductive hormones like luteinizing hormone and estradiol. But when you’re underweight, there isn’t enough for regular periods.1
You’re Shedding More Hair
It’s normal to shed hair, especially if you wear tight ponytails or brush frequently. Most of us lose 50 to 100 strands a day.2 However, shedding more than usual may point to extreme weight loss. Nutrient deficiencies are to blame, especially with low protein or iron intake.3
5. Your Skin Looks Weak
Even the skin needs vitamins and minerals to stay strong. If you’re skimping on nutrients, it’s bound to have a lower percentage of collagen. Dryness, thinning, and discoloration are likely.4
You’re Always Cold
OK, so maybe it’s actually cold outside. But what if you can’t warm up with a few layers? You’ve probably lost body fat – in other words, insulation – after losing weight.
If you continue dropping more pounds, metabolism can slow down. This can snowball into low body temperature and poor circulation.5
7. You’re Always Sick
A healthy immune system depends on adequate nutrition. It runs on vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron.6 Without enough, your immunity will weaken, leaving you vulnerable to infections and colds. Take note if you’re always sneezing or sniffling. Caught a cold, but can’t seem to fight it off? That’s a tell-tale sign, too.
|↑1||Köpp, W., W. F. Blum, S. Von Prittwitz, A. Ziegler, H. Lübbert, G. Emons, W. Herzog et al. “Low leptin levels predict amenorrhea in underweight and eating disordered females.” Molecular psychiatry 2, no. 4 (1997).|
|↑2||Hair Loss. American Dermatology Association.|
|↑3||Hair Loss: Who Gets And Causes. American Dermatology Association.|
|↑4||Leite, Saulo Nani, Jordão Júnior, Alceu Afonso, Thiago Antônio Moretti de Andrade, Daniela dos Santos Masson, and Marco Andrey Cipriani Frade. “Experimental models of malnutrition and its effect on skin trophism.” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia 86, no. 4 (2011): 681-688.|
|↑5||Metabolism. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑6||Chandra, Ranjit Kumar. “Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 66, no. 2 (1997): 460S-463S.|