When entering a fat loss phase, we pretty much expect to start feeling a little “hangry” or cranky at times, or having to fit in a bit more cardio.
But we don’t always connect the dots to realise just how much being in a calorie deficit can influence other areas of life.
While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is definitely a sex and relationship booster in the long run - when dieting, your libido levels may very well take a dive.
The hows and whys
See, sexual desire in women is closely tied to the levels of sex hormones (both androgens and estrogens). Of course, there are many variables in this - such as how attractive you find your partner, what are your current stress levels, how well you are sleeping, and much more.
But being in a calorie deficit, especially if it’s quite aggressive, affects the production of these hormones, making you much less inclined to pursue sexual activity.
If you look at it from your body’s perspective, this is really no surprise. When the energy supply is limited, all available resources need to be allocated to bodily functions essential for survival - and while sex is fun, needless to say it’s not on the priority list here.
Additionally, while humans have learned to enjoy intimacy for pure pleasure, our bodies still perceive this as baby making business...and if there is not much food to go around, there is not much point trying to get it on.
Balancing sex life and dieting
This is all and well, and may not even be a massive issue if you are not currently pursuing a relationship. But understandably, for those coupled up or are simply enjoying romantic adventures, reduced libido may be very frustrating.
However, it is also true that remaining in a calorie deficit may be necessary for your specific goal - so here are some tips on mastering your balancing act:
- Have an open conversation with your partner. Explain why your goals are important to you, and that this is just a temporary phase! If you don’t chat about this, they may feel rejected, assume there is something wrong with them, or take the frustration out on other issues. Remember - they don’t know what they don’t know!
- Take care of yourself - Try to reduce stress levels and ensure you have a great sleep routine. As mentioned above, other lifestyle factors can be major contributors too.
- Ensure your diet is balanced. Just because you’re in a calorie deficit, doesn’t mean that you can’t put well-rounded meals on your plate. Get most of your calories from whole foods, and eat plenty of veggies to get those micros in! Poor diet can be a downright mood killer on its own.
- Stay active. Regular exercise is a known sex drive booster - thanks to the endorphin rush and reduced stress levels!
- If you’re constantly very hungry, it may be time to bump up your calories. A calorie deficit that’s too severe for your body composition and goals can lead to quite serious health consequences, with lower sex drive being just one of the symptoms. If your periods have stopped, or you’re constantly feeling depleted and lethargic, it’s definitely time to review your regime.
We hope these insights and tips will help you to understand your body better and find a happy medium when working towards your health goals.