How Do You Know If You Are Over-Exercising Or Under-Eating?

Chances are that you have heard people saying that you can never have too much of a good thing. However, the truth is that this saying only applies to a few things such as beach swimming, holidays, vacations, and even love.

On the other hand, there are other things that can be taken to the extreme such as healthy eating and exercise. We have one body, and we must take care of them. However, sometimes, people tend to go overboard all in the name of exercising or eating healthy. In the long run, they end up doing more harm than good.

What Happens To The Body When One Over-exercises?

It is wise to know what happens in the body when you exercise or eat healthily. This also applies to when you abuse exercising (over-exercising).

How Do You Know If You Are Over-Exercising

Therefore, what happens to the body when you exercise? According to the massage therapist Virginia Mealing, over-exercising does not allow your body to recover properly. She explains that “as such, doing this only increases the chances of experiencing muscle injuries, which may also affect your ability to exercise as well.” 

Remember, pushing yourself over the limit will only end up hurting you, and putting you out of action for weeks, months, and even years. Exercises go hand in hand with rest days. 

Over-exercising Also Affects Stress Levels Negatively (Both Physically And Mentally)

What many do not know is that exercises do help in relieving stress, both physically and mentally. However, when a person goes over the limit, they will not relieve stress but add more stress to the body and mind. 

Emotional health counsellor and hypnotherapist Ilona Nichterlein explains that mental stress and brain fog can create unrealistic expectations, which often causes a person to feel crappy about themselves. “Such a person might often self-talk themselves into thinking that if they are not working out, they are a failure.”

Physical stress comes from putting your body in constant pressure.  For example, assuming the body is already stressed, but still pushing it through exercises (either through HIC or HITT), will begin to send levels of stress, which only leads to the generation of stress hormones. 

Both mental and physical stresses lead to burnout. It also slows metabolism.

When this happens, your chances of getting sick increases. That is because the immune system will be affected, rendering it useless. Let’s not forget the fact that metabolism is also affected. According to the acupuncture expert Sally Austin, having a poor immune system will cause many long term issues as you age. “You may not notice at first, but with time, you may start experiencing chronic symptoms like a sore stomach, bloating, and even IBS symptoms from burnout.”

How To Know If You Are Over-exercising? 

With this in mind, the million-dollar question is; how do you know that you are over-exercising? Well, if you are not a professional athlete, but you are working out more than once a day; that is a good clue that you are overdoing it. In fact, experts do not recommend working out for more than 1 hour and 30 minutes. This should be the maximum time and simply not the goal to achieve every day (assuming you have included rest days in your training regiment).

Remember, when working out, it is wise to combine high-intensity exercises such as running or HITT, with low-intensity exercises such as walking or yoga. Find a balance! If by any chance you are training for a specific purpose or event like big ocean swimming, marathon, or sports, then your exercises will exceed these boundaries. For this reason, you are highly recommended to seek the services of a medical support team that includes a sports physio and dietitian.

Other Signs Of Under Eating Or Over-exercising

  • Frequent injuries
  • Constant feeling of exhaust or soreness
  • Not being able to complete workouts
  • Unable to proceed with weights at the gym
  • Low immunity
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Losing your period 
  • Thinking of exercises all the time
  • Feeling like you have no time for other things such as work, socialisation, or friends
  • Stomach upsets such as cramps, bloating, and constipation
  • Relationship breakups
  • Constantly missing social arrangements simply because you are at the gym

What Happens To The Body When One Under Eats?

Research has proven that being underweight is more harmful compared to being overweight. If you do not have enough energy providing food than you are using; you are starving yourself. For this reason, if you severely limit your food intake or eat less, body functions begin to shut down. With time, a person will eventually develop serious health complications. 

It is a well-known fact that no one can live their fullest life on an empty stomach. Everyone can achieve great things, but no one can achieve them when all they think of is food. The fact is that being overly obsessed with eating healthy can be harmful. As such, if you have been on a specific diet that involves limiting a specific key food groups like carbs; the chances are your body is lacking a key nutrient. 

Avoiding specific types of food groups may lead to vitamin deficiencies, which often causes a person to feel tired, moody, and lazy. To such a person, doing simple tasks will look like a huge effort. Therefore, if you are under-eating simply to change your body composition, it is paramount to note that it may backfire on greatly. 

On the other hand, if you are not eating enough carbohydrates and proteins, then it will be nearly impossible to gain muscles. Remember, just like over-exercising, eating less may slow metabolism rate and even increase cortisol levels. It does also affect body immunity, stomach health and energy production. 

NOTE: do not forget about the damage food restriction has to social life and mental health. Lack of proper food may lead to negative self-talk, obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and guilt when it comes to meals. 

How Do You Know You Are Under Eating Or Obsessed With Healthy Eating?

In a nutshell, anything below 1000 calories is considered a starvation diet. With such a meal, it is not healthy or fun. Other signs that prove you are under-eating or simply obsessed with healthy meals (orthorexia) include:

  • Bad mood
  • Low energy levels
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling guilty when around meals
  • Rapid loss of weight
  • Obsessive thoughts about food (this simply involves what you can and cannot eat)
  • Losing your period
  • Social isolation
  • Poor sleep quality 
  • Difficult to focus 
  • Increased body hair or hair falling (this will depend on the person)

What Should You Do If You Are Over-exercising or Under Eating? 

Now because you have known that you are over-exercising and under-eating, the next question is, what should you do? Well, below are a few simple techniques that will help you bring balance to your life:

  1. Search And Consult A GP 

GPs are people who are highly skilled at what they do. They will help point you in the right direction in achieving a balance in your life. If you do not love your current doctor, worry not! There are many ways to look for a friendlier GP. One best way to achieve this is by asking a friend or loved one. It is paramount that you find someone supportive, companionate. They are people who get you.

  1. Do An Overall Assessment On Those Who You Follow On Social Media

The truth is that we allow social media or those who we follow on social media influence our lives. For this reason, it is wise to conduct an overall assessment of those who influence you. In other words, are those who you follow influence you positively? Are they leading you in the right path? These are just but a few questions you should ask yourself.  

  1. Involve Those Close To You

Research shows that over-exercising and under-eating are activities that happen in secret because many hide it fearing judgement. However, you should know that those close to you will support you and help you find a balance, as long as you open up. 

If you are not ready to share your experience and secrets to those close to you, it is wise to find a psychologist. Speaking to someone is beneficial and kind of like a gym but for the brain. 

  1. Channel All Your Energy Into Becoming Someone Comfortable With Who You Are

It does not make sense to compromise your well-being simply because of the way you look or what you think about how others perceive you. Starving yourself or spending time at the gym will not help you eliminate your worries. In fact, it will only make you miss out in life. To others, it does not matter how much you try; they simply do not care. 

It does not make sense to try to reach a goal that will only put your life in danger. Even though it is important to stay healthy and exercise, you are worthy just the way you are. All that you have to do is find a balance. This is something that applies in all aspects of life. 

Learn to be healthy the right way, and do not let yourself be obsessed with it.

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Article Author Details

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a self-motivated freelance writer with a passion for creating content. Always on the lookout for new words to learn, he's in love with language, and it's a romance with no finish line in sight.