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Six Signs You May Be Overdieting

By: Julie Michelle Smith

In recent years people have become more aware of the importance of exercising and healthy eating habits.

However, even when you've successfully built your life around the desire to lose weight, there are some pitfalls you need to be aware of. These six signs indicate that you are too obsessed in your wish to lose body fat.

1. You are constantly counting calories

You're the guy or girl who spends hours in a supermarket when doing grocery shopping. Every item you pick is carefully reviewed, then put back on the shelf if it contains too many calories. When you go to a restaurant, it will take you ages to review the menu, as you wish to pick the meal that is 'the best of the worst'. And even at night in your bed, you're counting how many calories you've consumed that day.

Solution:

While it's not a bad thing to be aware of how many calories a meal contains, it obviously shouldn't be a constant worry. Before you go grocery shopping, make a list at home of the things you need. Stick to products you know and to basic products like whole-grain bread, fruit, vegetables and fish. When you're in a restaurant, pick the meal that appeals to you most, but ask for it to be served without the sauce and some extra salad or vegetables. Don't think in calories all the time: instead try to think along the lines of 'did I eat healthy today and am I satisfied?'

2. You're never satisfied about the way you look

You might have been on the heavy side when you started dieting, but you're not anymore. Still you try to get rid of that bit of fat on your thighs, or to get that size 4 in order to fit into the clothes you wore years ago. If you do bodybuilding, you always want to get extra power or to increase your muscle mass with a few percent. Looking in the mirror, you never see the person you wish to be.

Solution:

Maybe the reasons you don't feel satisfied about yourself have less to do with how you look and more about how you feel. Is there a certain emotional emptiness you want to fill? What were your reasons to lose weight in the first place, and have you succeeded to reach the goals you set for yourself when you started dieting? Take an honest look at your life and try to find out what makes you so negative about yourself. If it's because of the influence of others, it might be time to seek a different environment.

3. Your metabolism has slowed down, you feel weakened or your diet doesn't seem to have any effect anymore

Sometimes increasing your intake of carbs can help you lose weight.

These are all clear signs that you're overdieting and that your body is not happy about it. If you notice your metabolism works much at a much slower rate than it used to, it could mean your leptin and thyroid levels are declining. Leptin and thyroid are hormones that help your body to regulate your weight. If your immunity is impaired because of your diet, it will be harder for your body to hold muscle. Also, your insulin levels might be elevated, which contributes to storing body fat.

Solution:

Increase your intake of carbs. If you're used to eating slow-burning carbs (oats, beans, red potatoes) only, switch to fast-burning carbs (raisins, bagels with jam, rice cakes) once every week. This should help to preserve your muscle tissue and raise your hormone levels. Also, don't overdo cardio exercises -- four 45 minute sessions a week is the absolute maximum. A day of eating a lot more than you're used to can be helpful to kickstart your metabolism, but this shouldn't be done too often and certainly not more than once every two weeks.

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