Calorie deficiency forces body to conserve resources. Therefore, nutritionists don`t recommend too much to cut calorie content of your diet. Restrictive low-calorie diets cause unwanted hormonal adaptations that can result in hormonal disturbances, which can only be corrected with medical assistance.
What happens to hormonal background on low-calorie diet?
Evolutionarily, we have powerful survival mechanism. In case of hunger, body will rather slow down metabolism and disable functions that aren`t important for survival than sacrifice systems on which your life really depends. So, less important, he sees nervous, immune and reproductive systems.
Agree, dying organism isn`t interested in reproduction, it wouldn`t build muscles, but rather will hibernate, trying to spend as little energy as possible. And certainly he will try with all his might to keep existing percentage of fat, and on occasion even increase it, in order not to die of hunger or cold.
These are metaphors, but reality is that disorders of nervous system occur within a few days of diet. If you have ever lost weight on low-calorie diet, you might have noticed deterioration in mood, dulling of emotional reactions, inhibition, drowsiness, and unconscious reduction in motor activity.
The next level is reduced leptin – hormone that regulates feeling of hunger. Therefore, it`s impossible to sit on hard diets for a long time and therefore after them weight grows upwards. People cannot cope with their appetite. Dipamine (dopamine), neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure, adds fuel to fire, and its level drops after leptin. Forbidden on diet with such hormonal scenario, it seems something incredible. It becomes harder to control yourself.
How to determine hormonal imbalance?
The best way to determine state of metabolism and endocrine system is to consult with your doctor, and then pass tests for blood biochemistry and hormones. It is possible to draw conclusions about state of metabolism by subjective indicators: state of health, temperature, physiological manifestations.
If you die on diet – you want to sleep, get tired quickly, don`t experience any joy, don`t think well, feel lack of physical strength, then you are somewhere in first stage and have opportunity to stop mocking yourself before it is too late.
If body temperature has decreased by 0.5 degrees, then this indicates slowdown in metabolism by 10%. Losing weight often has temperature of 35.5 degrees, at which metabolism slows down by 20%. Temperatures below 35 degrees are fatal.
If libido level goes down, menstrual cycle is broken or menstruation has completely stopped, it`s necessary to consult doctor immediately. Lack of menstruation leads to premature menopause, infertility and other serious diseases.
What to do to save or restore hormones?
To save hormones, you don`t need to cut down your diet too much. And since body reacts to any calorie reduction, it`s necessary to take breaks in diet to restore it. Breaking weight loss into cycles is especially important for people with lots of weight. One cycle with a deficit of 10-20% is 6-8 weeks, followed by a break at supporting caloric level of 1-2 weeks.
Lack of calories in diet shouldn`t be below level of available energy. Modern nutritionists define “available energy” as difference between consumption and calorie consumption during training. These are calories that go to maintenance of biological processes.