The Danger Of Eating Too Little

You might need to eat more to lose weight

For decades people have been claiming that eating less than you burn will result in fat loss. It’s the bathtub model of weight loss. If you let more water out of the bathtub than you put in, you’ll weigh less.

On a physics level, that has to be true. But in practice, our bodies are way more complicated.

A more accurate version of the bathtub model goes more like this: in the bathtub you have a layer of fluid labeled “fat” and you have a layer of fluid labeled “lean body mass.” The water you put into the tub is your food. The water leaving the tub is the calories you burn during the day.

The water you add has a huge effect on everything in the system. Depending on the foods you are eating, you’ll make the fat layer bigger or the lean body mass layer bigger. The type and quantity also affects the drain. Too little or the wrong types will turn the drain into a pinhole and let almost nothing out.

In addition, the food you add to the system affects the position of the layers. When food is scarce, the lean body mass layer sinks to the bottom closer to the drain. The fat layer stays on top because it is more valuable when you are starving. That means eating too little or the wrong foods can result in you losing bone density and muscle mass without dropping any fat.

In practice, this is a 300lb person eating 1,200 calories a day and is still not dropping weight. You’d be shocked how often this is the case. This person has literally been starving themselves and their body is holding on to everything it can. Their body wants all that fat because there is a famine and it needs to survive until food is around again. Their drain has shrunk so much that they are burning fewer than 1,200 calories per day even though they are exercising regularly.

This is a very complicated problem and my analogy is still way too simple, but it better represents what is happening. Fixing this problem will take time, but it is doable.

The primary thing that needs to change is the water being added to the system. There needs to be a lot more of it and it needs to be the right foods. For the vast majority of us, that means a substantial portion of protein, a bigger portion of vegetables, a very small portion of carbohydrates, and no sugary anything.

The idea is to let the bathtub know there is plenty of food to increase the lean body mass layer, enough to open the drain wider, and enough to put the fat layer closer to the drain and get rid of some excess it no longer needs.

This solution will not happen overnight and will probably take weeks or months to see huge results, but they will come. Your metabolism is a complicated system and every input affects an output.

If you think you might be in this situation, feel free to write me and we can discuss it further.

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