Following a low carb diet can lead some dieters to restrict calories without realizing it, especially over time. This may sound contrary to the popular misconception that you can eat all the fat and protein you want and not gain weight and that people on low carbohydrate diets eat enormous amounts of calories, but as low carbers wean out carbs, they also tend to reduce the number of calories they eat.
Long-term, low carb dieting can be boring. The more you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, the fewer food choices you have. Eating nothing but meat and nuts can lose its luster quickly and if you do not enjoy cooking, you may find it challenging to to eat a realistic number of calories each day.
Restricting Too Many Calories Can Trigger An Eating Disorder
A pitfall of any diet is an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. If you become too focused and regimented with food, you may become overly zealous about what not to eat. Anytime you begin to fear any food group, or, in this case, foods that contain carbohydrates, you may begin to restrict them beyond what is healthy or reasonable.
The organization, Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders (ANRED), identifies factors that off contribute to the development of eating disorders. Of the 18 items listed on the ANRED website four of the items on their list are directly related to diets as a contributor or trigger for a developing an eating disorder:
- A history of dieting;
- A mother who diets and is concerned about her appearance;
- Siblings who diet and are concerned about their appearance;
- Peers who diet and are concerned about their appearance.
What To Do
If your diet is stalled, consider the number of calories each day you are consuming. If you eat fewer calories than your body needs, it could slow down your metabolism, or, you may no longer have enough energy to stay active.
Find a nutritionist who can help you better understand what you are doing right and what you can do better. If you cannot afford one, keep a daily food journal for at least a week. Be sure to calculate the number of calories you are eating each day and not just the number of carbohydrates.
You may be meeting your low carb diet goals in terms of eating less than a certain number of carbohydrates each day, but if you are living off lettuce and baked chicken, you may be sabotaging your diet without even realizing by eating too few calories.
Free Online Resource
Chart your progress with Calorie Count, About.com’s free diet tool. Log food, exercise, weight progress, and find support in their forums.