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View Full Version : If I'm eating healthier but less calories, will my hair suffer?



lole18
January 3rd, 2014, 11:49 AM
I heard that dieting can cause shedding.. I'm going on a low calorie diet (1200 while i actually need 1800) but i used to eat junk food and hardly any fruits\vegetables but it was high in protein.. Now i'm going for a healthier diet with more fruits\veggies less grains and less protein that what i used to eat and working out more.. Does this mean my hair will shed more or less? Since i'm eating better but the protein\grains\calories are less? (I've always taken hair vitamins) also what's a good protein amount to eat for hair growth\health in general? I've heard of the 0.5-1 per pound of body weight and some people say it should be per kilo of body weight? I'm really considering not losing the weight because i'm scared that my hair would shed more! I do have a lot to lose so :( Help?

Aingeal
January 3rd, 2014, 11:52 AM
I think where you will see negative effects is if you eat less calories, but still eat a lot of empty calories. If you are eating high protein foods with fresh veggies and fruits, I think you will be fine. I would also advise that if you are counting calories, don't drink any of your calories. Stick with water.

jeanniet
January 3rd, 2014, 12:20 PM
I would work on improving your diet first, if you want to keep the weight off. Learn to eat and enjoy healthy food. Adding plenty of fresh veggies to your diet fills you up anyway, so you're likely to eat less. Eat good food for at least six months, if not a year, until you get used to it and start to enjoy it more than your old eating patterns. Then cut back slightly if you need to in order to lose (200-300 calories). 1200 calories a day is not very much, and makes it less likely that you'll be successful in the long run. You can lose by cutting back less, especially if you're more active. 1800 sounds like your basal metabolic rate, and not actually the amount you need to maintain (figuring in daily activity), which for most women is in the 2000-2200 (tel:2000-2200) range. It's much, much better to lose very slowly, although not nearly as satisfying in the short term.

ETA: And improving your diet can only be beneficial to your hair! Much better than vitamins.

DweamGoiL
January 3rd, 2014, 01:12 PM
Eating 1200 cals/day is the minimum amount of calories your body needs to survive. Frankly, cutting that many cals to start is a sure fire recipe for failure. Yes, at first, you will lose rather quickly, but you will also plateau rather quickly and then you have no more cals to cut. It is better to go down to say 1600 to start and increase your physical activity. Take up something you really like to do walking, dancing, etc. anything you can do almost every day for at least 45 mins. As you plateau, you can always up the intensity of the exercise or you can cut a few more cals. This will keep your body healthy and your body won't go into shock and the shedding should be minimal as your body adjusts. Exercise will also increase blood flow, which will help you hair grow more and so will clean eating.

Good luck!

Maktub
January 3rd, 2014, 01:48 PM
While I totally understand your reasons for thinking a 1200 cal diet is a good thing for you (I took the same decision years ago), I strongly think it's a very bad idea.

I don't believe in diet and could write a long post about that, but to keep it short, I HIGHLY recommend :

- Eating slowly when starting to be hungry (don't wait !)
- Stopping eating when feeling satisfied
- Being patient with yourself until you understand your body signals
- Focusing on being as healthy as you can be - not on weight, calories, etc.
- Learning to cook from raw / basic ingredients, choosing quality ingredients and enjoying the process of it, if that is possible for you.
- Don't cut fat out of your diet. EMBRACE fat and caloric foods, but good quality fats. Organic eggs, nuts, avocados, fish, full organic yogurt, etc.
- Don't eat "low fat", "no sugar" and other "diet alternatives". Look rather for quality products that taste amazing, are organic if possible, and that you understand ALL listed ingredients.
- When possible, buy the good ingredients and make it yourself.
- Don't count calories at all. Try not to until your brain actually stops even thinking about it (it will happen)
- Find ways to enjoy life at it's fullest, whatever that means for you. Get into something you are passionate about and that makes you feel GOOD at the end of the day, and give it priority.
- Have tasty healthy foods you like and enjoy at hand.
- Diversity is key!

Diets/privation gets you to loose weight quickly, yes, but it's MADE to get you to take it back on sooner or later. It's a simple fact of biology.


I think a few years down the road you would be grateful of making such changes in perspective, and that your body, hair and psychological mood would thank you for it ! It's a peace of mind everyone should have.



From someone who did it all, from strict diet, to anorexia, to bulimia, and that "felt fat" for so long, obsessed about calorie counting, etc. ... until I adopted theses principles. I'm now at a stable quite thin weight for over 6 years. No idea how much I weigh exactly (probably somewhere between 106-120 lb), NEVER weight myself, absolutely no idea how much calories I eat in a day and NEVER restrict my intake. If I feel I ate too much, I wait until I simply feel hungry again and not stress about it. All I know is that I finaly FEEL thin, healthy, strong, and so much more beautiful at 31 than I ever did before in my life. I wish you the same !


... and short answer : yes, I think hair quality does suffer on any restriction diet.

jeanniet
January 3rd, 2014, 02:22 PM
While I totally understand your reasons for thinking a 1200 cal diet is a good thing for you (I took the same decision years ago), I strongly think it's a very bad idea.

I don't believe in diet and could write a long post about that, but to keep it short, I HIGHLY recommend :

- Eating slowly when starting to be hungry (don't wait !)
- Stopping eating when feeling satisfied
- Being patient with yourself until you understand your body signals
- Focusing on being as healthy as you can be - not on weight, calories, etc.
- Learning to cook from raw / basic ingredients, choosing quality ingredients and enjoying the process of it, if that is possible for you.
- Don't cut fat out of your diet. EMBRACE fat and caloric foods, but good quality fats. Organic eggs, nuts, avocados, fish, full organic yogurt, etc.
- Don't eat "low fat", "no sugar" and other "diet alternatives". Look rather for quality products that taste amazing, are organic if possible, and that you understand ALL listed ingredients.
- When possible, buy the good ingredients and make it yourself.
- Don't count calories at all. Try not to until your brain actually stops even thinking about it (it will happen)
- Find ways to enjoy life at it's fullest, whatever that means for you. Get into something you are passionate about and that makes you feel GOOD at the end of the day, and give it priority.
- Have tasty healthy foods you like and enjoy at hand.
- Diversity is key!

Diets/privation gets you to loose weight quickly, yes, but it's MADE to get you to take it back on sooner or later. It's a simple fact of biology.


I think a few years down the road you would be grateful of making such changes in perspective, and that your body, hair and psychological mood would thank you for it ! It's a peace of mind everyone should have.



From someone who did it all, from strict diet, to anorexia, to bulimia, and that "felt fat" for so long, obsessed about calorie counting, etc. ... until I adopted theses principles. I'm now at a stable quite thin weight for over 6 years. No idea how much I weigh exactly (probably somewhere between 106-120 lb), NEVER weight myself, absolutely no idea how much calories I eat in a day and NEVER restrict my intake. If I feel I ate too much, I wait until I simply feel hungry again and not stress about it. All I know is that I finaly FEEL thin, healthy, strong, and so much more beautiful at 31 than I ever did before in my life. I wish you the same !


... and short answer : yes, I think hair quality does suffer on any restriction diet.

Excellent post. I was trying to answer from a dieter's perspective, to give her some things to think about, but you laid it all out very well and much better than I did! Mental and physical health are the two most important things in life.

DweamGoiL
January 3rd, 2014, 02:39 PM
While I totally understand your reasons for thinking a 1200 cal diet is a good thing for you (I took the same decision years ago), I strongly think it's a very bad idea.

I don't believe in diet and could write a long post about that, but to keep it short, I HIGHLY recommend :

- Eating slowly when starting to be hungry (don't wait !)
- Stopping eating when feeling satisfied
- Being patient with yourself until you understand your body signals
- Focusing on being as healthy as you can be - not on weight, calories, etc.
- Learning to cook from raw / basic ingredients, choosing quality ingredients and enjoying the process of it, if that is possible for you.
- Don't cut fat out of your diet. EMBRACE fat and caloric foods, but good quality fats. Organic eggs, nuts, avocados, fish, full organic yogurt, etc.
- Don't eat "low fat", "no sugar" and other "diet alternatives". Look rather for quality products that taste amazing, are organic if possible, and that you understand ALL listed ingredients.
- When possible, buy the good ingredients and make it yourself.
- Don't count calories at all. Try not to until your brain actually stops even thinking about it (it will happen)
- Find ways to enjoy life at it's fullest, whatever that means for you. Get into something you are passionate about and that makes you feel GOOD at the end of the day, and give it priority.
- Have tasty healthy foods you like and enjoy at hand.
- Diversity is key!

Diets/privation gets you to loose weight quickly, yes, but it's MADE to get you to take it back on sooner or later. It's a simple fact of biology.


I think a few years down the road you would be grateful of making such changes in perspective, and that your body, hair and psychological mood would thank you for it ! It's a peace of mind everyone should have.



From someone who did it all, from strict diet, to anorexia, to bulimia, and that "felt fat" for so long, obsessed about calorie counting, etc. ... until I adopted theses principles. I'm now at a stable quite thin weight for over 6 years. No idea how much I weigh exactly (probably somewhere between 106-120 lb), NEVER weight myself, absolutely no idea how much calories I eat in a day and NEVER restrict my intake. If I feel I ate too much, I wait until I simply feel hungry again and not stress about it. All I know is that I finaly FEEL thin, healthy, strong, and so much more beautiful at 31 than I ever did before in my life. I wish you the same !


... and short answer : yes, I think hair quality does suffer on any restriction diet.

I agree...great post!

Mya
January 3rd, 2014, 02:55 PM
- Learning to cook from raw / basic ingredients, choosing quality ingredients and enjoying the process of it, if that is possible for you.

Definitely. Healthy foods may look untasty and sad to a newbie, because they're (wrongly!) linked to diet and privation, but if you know how to cook them they are delicious. In particular, learning to use spices is a life changer and can make a super quick and delicious dish out of the lightest and most boring food.

I recommend these sites: "Cooking with dog" (Youtube channel of Japanese recipes), "Helen's recipes" (Youtube channel of Vietnamese recipes), "Zesty and spicy" (website of healthy recipes).

Thank you for your post, Maktub. Glad to see a person with such a positive attitude!

HintOfMint
January 3rd, 2014, 03:14 PM
For those who say 1200 is too low, I'm just going to chime in that it really depends on activity levels, height, and existing weight. For a five foot tall person weighing 105 pounds and with a relatively sedentary lifestyle (long hours at a desk job, for instance), 1200 is probably her maintenance caloric intake. We don't know the starting point of the OP and what her height and frame is. As far as straight calories go, exercise does not burn that much. You can build up your lean muscle mass to increase your metabolism and burn more calories at a resting point that way, but running miles doesn't burn nearly as much as people think it does. There are plenty of overweight women who are athletically accomplished and can smoke anybody in a mile, but they aren't losing weight.

I agree that the focus needs to be on eating vegetables, protein, and healthy fat, and shunning low-fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates. I don't think calorie counting makes for sustainable weight loss. But as long as we're talking about calories, it may not be the case for everyone that 1200 is borderline starvation.

Crumpet
January 3rd, 2014, 03:45 PM
I agree with Maktub. My mother is a nutritionist and so I know that this straightforward advice is the best. Its actually easier than other diets and its sustainable. Most of us want healthy bodies, hair and skin. The 'ideal' of a super-skinny body doesn't work for all of us. Move yourself into a healthy eating habit alongside a healthy exercise regime and you will find yourself at your own personal healthy weight. It might be a slower process but it will work better long term and keep you looking beautiful.

Maktub
January 3rd, 2014, 04:08 PM
The following is really my personal point of view, and Hintofmint, it's not only a response to your post but more a general reflection. (OP does mention that she "needs 1800 cals" though)

The main problem I find with counting calories is that the focus is completely besides the point ... and it leads to inevitable feeling of privation (even if the person was to eat much more than necessary). And this, usually leads to more weight and less health.

When you think : "oh, I am allowed ONLY one piece of this" "only X number of calories per day", etc. ... the thought pattern is negative, stressful and of course it is ! It also tends to make people crave things they would never crave otherwise. It gives so much power to foods, and so little to ourselves.

Don't get me wrong, at first in CAN feel empowering and that it gives us control ! "I have a plan !" "if I stick to it I will be just like I dream to be !" etc. But it doesn't last.

The POWER rests in numbers and following numbers, mathematics, a formula outside of ourselves. A magic symbolic number. Any mistake to follow the rule is seen as a failure, a mistake, and even more negative. Impacts self-worth, feeling of empowerment, etc. It is devastating - very often devastating - on so many levels wayy beyond the famous yoyo effect.


Personnally, I really don't care if the person is small and "needs only 1200 cals" or very active and needing 2500... I'm simply outside the box, outside this thinking scheme.

I strongly believe that when we trust OURSELVES, our bodies, rather than numbers, we take the power and the control back to be who we are -now - and who want to become. Getting healthy becomes a happy pursuit we are motivated to follow, rather than an obligation we eventually feel emprisonned in.

It's not "because I have to", nor "because I should"
but rather "because I want to", "because it feels so good to!"

Of course, I think that understanding the basic principles of nutrition, health, how our human bodies work, how health gets out of sinc and can get back in equilibrium, etc are important knowledge on that road.

Understanding the basics of how energy in food becomes fuel for the body, the logics behind it, is of course important and most of all quite interesting. But it's no where more important than the rest ! Understanding that the life cycles of products from seed or birth to stomach, freshness, how and where food comes from and what difference it makes on our bodies, the environment, for work conditions of migrants working for (ex.) Del Monte and the consequences for them, how labels work, how chemicals, pesticides, etc. are regulated, the difference between monoculture, horticulture, traditional methods (etc.), how marketing works, food security and international powers, when the big money and big industry is, lobbys etc etc ... all quite important knowledge too. So is the importance of good sleep, movement, etc. etc.

(and see, the list goes on forever)

Calories are only numbers. They were invented by humans as a way to measure energy. An orange is not a caloric number. All oranges are not the same. All oranges don't smell, taste the same. All oranges are not produced the same way, they are not all subject to the same norms, etc. Getting to understand - and most of all feel, taste, smell, touch, choose, etc. - those differences become, through time, real empowerment.

Taking that small moment to look at it. Smell it. Anticipate it. Taste it. Observe. Feel. Not a rule to "always" do this, but, you know, something fun to do when possible.
Be an orange or chocolate ! I think we too often forget to make the experience of eating meaningfull and guilt-free. In fact, we too often forget to do it for ALL life experiences. Feeling the warm water on our skin during a shower, paying attention to the crisp of the snow under our boots, being really really in the present during love making with a long term partner, etc.


I think it's important to tune ourselves to understand what it means to be feeling genuinely hungry, thirsty, anxious or tired or bored, feeling like eating because it's morning and it's routine, feeling full, feeling satisfied and belly-happy, feeling we went a little overboard on one tasteful dish, those are real clues accessible only for the person. ONLY for YOU at a specific moment. It's developing realtionship of trust, appreciation, respect and loyalty to ourselves.

Sure, it's a road of patience, just like growing hair and embracing our natural hair texture and hair needs. Going beyond the stereotypes ("moms should have short hair", "I have to be thin to feel good"), the usual destructive common practices ("you should use this ceramic iron with heat protectant!" "you should go on this fad diet"), etc..

It's also a road of critical thinking and refusal of some very mainstream dogma and huge pressures out there.

And, to me, it's also somewhat an act of faith. Trusting that listening to my natural body cues is the main thing I got to pay attention too. Trusting that I don't feel nauseated, bloated, happy, light, strong, frail, sleepy, dizzy, foggy, sad, etc. without VERY good reasons. The fun part is discovering how we work, experimenting, just like I did when trying to understand what my crazy 3a hair wanted after all these years of rejection and hate.


Trusting that sometimes it is so much more important to FEEL and using my instincts rather than my racing-and-conditionned-to-be-scared brain.


But I find it's so worth it and... So much easier to actually implement than it can seem at first... because I think that is what we we meant to do. Of course, that's just my personal experience.

Maktub
January 3rd, 2014, 04:27 PM
oops, sorry for the flooding ! :oops: I always tend to be carried away on this subject (as you see :lol: )

BlueMajorelle
January 3rd, 2014, 04:37 PM
Cutting calories that low is the worst you could do, because then when you go OFF your diet your body is deprived and you'll suck calories in like a sponge and gain it all back if not more. Stick with the correct amount of of calories for your current size and activity level. I have a very high activity level (and run ever day) but I am also very tiny, so I have to consume around 1,800 to keep my weight where it is.

Also make sure that all of your calories count. I have no qualms consuming a high-calorie meal as long as it's full of yummy vitamins in minerals. Pizza, french fries, and soda or beer is the worst things you can do because they are high in calories but offer little else. Things like fish, avocado, or almonds are foods high in fat but also have lots of other vitamins too.

If you are serious about losing weight, an easy way to cut empty calories is in what you drink. Soda, alcohol, juice, they have a crap ton of sugar and will put a bunch of extra calories in your body that don't really help you. It's okay to indulge once and awhile (definitely a lush here!) but it's best to stick to good ol' fashioned water.

jeanniet
January 3rd, 2014, 04:46 PM
oops, sorry for the flooding ! :oops: I always tend to be carried away on this subject (as you see :lol: )

No, what you've written is marvelous and true. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating for many, many years (and finally turning it around by completely changing my thinking), it's all spot-on advice and something I wish someone had told me a long time ago. Unfortunately, modern culture and especially the media is obsessed with the quick fix, and heaven forbid we should try to pay attention to our bodies.

WoolSweater
January 3rd, 2014, 06:01 PM
I'm trying to find the articles, but the whole "calories" and how scientists test to see how many calories are in foods is pretty much debunked. It's much more healthy and beneficial to not go by caloric intake, as low carb foods are usually supplemented with fillers and empty foods, whereas more nutrient dense food wouldn't be allowed in your diet because they are "high calories". Instead, go by portions, and colors, and simple ingredients. Better to eat a handful of walnuts and an apple than a 100 calorie pack of crackers which have been processed and altered, even the natural stuff. My hair grows quicker and healthier when I increase my good fats intake. If you were to look at the calorie content of those good fats, you'd hit 1200 calories real quick. Better to go by nutrient and energy content rather than numbers; your hair will thank you. Good luck!

GoddesJourney
January 3rd, 2014, 07:27 PM
Unless you are very very tiny and completely sedentary, I would never suggest that 1200 calorie diets are a good idea. It simply isn't enough. Your body will adjust by slowing your metabolism and give you more long term weight gain problems. Adjusting what you eat is a good start, as is increasing your physical activity. You will see results from this. As you start to plateau, then maybe you can adjust your calorie intake unless you are currently really overeating. If 1800 calories is about right for you, keep to it. Undereating will not only slow your metabolism but give you other side effects you don't want, like unhealthy skin, hair and teeth. Along with that you have general fatigue to look forward to and possibly and increase in body hair, while the hair on your head gets brittle and sheds out. It's important to lose weight at a comfortable pace while staying healthy. Give your skin a chance to adjust (so avoid the hanging skin thing) and give your body a chance to get used to its new forms as you lose the weight. Don't skip any meals, just keep them under 500 calories and have a light snack or two during the day. Don't waste any calories (or money) on junk food. This should help you avoid any issues with your hair or skin as you're losing weight.

Side note: Weight is a weird thing. It fluctuates like the stock market and varies depending on water retention and body fat composure. You may be better off hiding the scale and instead pulling out a measuring tape the look at inches along your waistline or something like that. This should give you a more accurate reading on your progress toward leaning out your body.

Good luck.

leslissocool
January 3rd, 2014, 08:21 PM
I wanted to chime and say I lost over 80 lbs while growing my hair. No, weight loss won't make you shed if it's done right. For me that meant over 1200 calories ( my BMR is 1300 sedentary so I ate 1300 to 1500, I'm short and small) and started to eat fruit and veggies and ate low GI ( I have insulin issues and eat like a diabetic). I try to eat 80 to 160 grams of protein a day since I work out a lot and do weights. I was eating too little protein and having issues with staying awake, feeling lethargic and awful and once I went head on to lose weight I learned to eat better, my hard to grow hair became fast growing and thicker, it made all the difference. I don't eat low fat but I don't eat high fat.

So, my pony circumference is way more than when I joined.

TheVegan6
January 3rd, 2014, 08:36 PM
I agree with most of the people here; if you're eating empty calories and not taking in in enough nutrients, then your hair might suffer. But if you eat many nice, plant-based foods with a high nutrient content, like kale, beans, and fresh fruits, then I'm sure you will be fine!:)
Oh, and make sure to get enough protein!
PS You might want to go some higher than 1200, because that number is really low. You might want to try 1800 or something like that. I'm sure that that will be safer. And if you are eating mostly healthy, plant-based foods, I'm sure that you will succeed at getting healthier.

Flor
January 4th, 2014, 02:13 AM
i used to eat junk food and hardly any fruits\vegetables but it was high in protein.. Now i'm going for a healthier diet with more fruits\veggies less grains and less protein that what i used to eat and working out more

Consider a diet with same or higher amounts of protein as your previous "junk food" way of eating, but prepared in a healthier way (grilled or steamed, for example) and consumed with a lot of green veggies. Fruit is overrated, it's very high on sugar, so you might want to focus on getting more meat and veggies in your diet instead. That should balance up the protein somewhat for you. Beans and nuts are a must too, if you worry for hair.

Lyv
January 4th, 2014, 02:25 AM
I'm sure you can still grow hair I don't think cutting down to such a low amount of calories is a good idea. I'm 4'11 and 102 lbs and that's not enough for me even when I don't work out. I think it would be better to focus on what you're eating (veggies, protein, fruits etc) and getting exercise if you want to lose weight, it's not about how many calories you eat it's about what kind of calories you eat and how your body processes it.

Allychan
January 4th, 2014, 03:59 AM
Choosing to eat nutrient dense food over empty calories is always the best choice. I agree with most of what the other 'posters' have responded with. I love juicing vege/fruits, they are easy to digest and nutrient rich, and best of all great for hair growth