Side Effects Of A Low Body Fat Percentage

How lean can I get? This is a very common question to occur in the fitness world. Why? Because as humans we are obsessed with how we look, and the more progress we see (in anything we do) the more we are determined to make it happen. Unfortunately, being lean comes with a lot more negatives than positives. Shocker?

It may not just mean a low body weight causing your side effects, but how lean you are plays a major role as well. 

Back in grade seven, that is when my story began. I had always kept quiet about how poor my body image of myself was. I had no idea what I was doing in order to improve it. I cut out almost all carbohydrates, limited my fats and ate high amounts of protein. Basically I was eating one entire meal a day (and that basically only was my small portion of dinner each night). My day was an apple with 1T peanut butter, a single serve yogurt cup and vegetables with a dip container that I only used ¼ of – plus dinner.

The more ‘muscles’ I saw, the more I obsessed I became with my body, my weight and how lean I got. It was never my ‘muscles’ showing, it was my body decaying into nothing but bones. I believe my anxiety was rooted as an outcome of this. The leaner I got the more my mood and energy changed. I napped a lot, I freaked out at small things and I was cold, even on the warmest days of the summer.

You would think not much could possibly go wrong. Or you’ve just convinced yourself everything will be okay and your body will adapt to your new small frame. Well, no. So, what is the major extreme that can occur from being so lean, tiny and frail? I lost my period twice. The first time was only three months until I was able to get it back. The second time? Let’s just say it has been three years, I think, since my last one. What does that mean? My future is affected. A woman needs her period in order for her reproductive system to work. Do you want kids when you are older? Not to mention, my bone density in my pelvic region is toast as of now. It was BELOW what the lowest minimum is. Who knows, I could fall on my hip and suddenly break every bone, it may not even need that hard of an impact to do the job. I remember one night as I was laying in bed. I felt a little discomfort in my low back, as I sat up, I kid you not, I felt my bones brush another and move in a grotesque way I can’t even explain. I lost my breath and immediately sat there for a few minutes scared to move. What am I doing to myself?

The leaner you become the slower your nervous system becomes as well. I began to be easily sidetracked during conversations, my response time was slowed, my naps were infinite and my heart beat went below 45 beats per minute. Heck! I had to wear a heart monitor for a few days and when I felt off I would press a button and mark it down on a little chart sheet I was given from the hospital. Even doing school work or reading a book became so hard. I would begin to read a page and suddenly just stare at it, my mind would go blank and everything written would look like a big black blur. My eyes would wander aimlessly across the entire page and stop on random words.

A final situation, which no girl probably wants to experience, is growing extra body hair. EVERYWHERE. Your back, chest and stomach develop small thin hairs that your body grows when it kicks into survival mode. Your face begins to develop these hairs and even your chin as your face continues to sink deeper under your bones. Your frail, gaunt and covered in small fine hair. Does this sound beautiful to you?

Ask yourself RIGHT now: Is obsessing over how you look worth all this? Is your definition of beauty skin and bones? Is weighing your banana, so that you don’t eat too much at once, important for your survival? Is being treated like a child for the rest of your life want you actually want?