5 signs it may be time to switch up your diet
The way you eat is an evolving, ever-changing thing – from year to year and even day to day, our nutrition requirements are different depending on a number of factors. Often when we find a plan that works (low carb, maybe, or a rigid bodybuilding diet) we become overly attached to those rules, and afraid to veer away from them. We obsess over daily perfection rather than long-term consistency, and when we inevitably fail to achieve that perfection, we can feel discouraged and sometimes even give up entirely. But it’s important to know that human beings are incredibly adaptable, and part of an “ideal” nutrition plan is the ability to respond to our bodies’ ever-changing needs.
Here are some signs your body may be telling you it’s time to switch things up:
- Low energy. Perhaps you were on a caloric deficit to change your body composition, and it worked for a few months – that’s great! But our bodies adapt quickly, and after the initial fat loss, our systems may be working under the idea that we are, in essence, starving ourselves. The reaction is often to hold on to whatever body fat we may still have, and reduce our “extraneous” functions to protect our survival. What you’ll see is a plateau in your fat loss, reduced performance in the gym or your sport of choice, and low energy, even if you haven’t changed your diet or workouts at all.
- Poor digestion: Sometimes your meal plan can seem perfectly on-point, but still be causing you problems: full of whole foods, enough calories, and food you enjoy – it sounds perfect, but your digestion is off. Maybe you’re constipated, or the opposite; maybe you get bloated or gassy after meals; maybe you’re noticing other symptoms like rashes or hives. These can all be related to food choices that, while not necessarily “bad,” are not optimal for you specifically. Common foods folks experience digestive issues with include beans and legumes, nightshades, onions and garlic, dairy, and even high histamine foods like avocado and bone broth. The answer here is not in avoiding all of these foods, but in testing them to help you determine which foods are working for you and which aren’t. We can help you with this.
- Hunger, and hanger. If you are aiming for a mild caloric restriction but end up restricting too much, your body will tell you with hunger symptoms. Or perhaps you’re eating enough calories, but not the most nutrient-dense ones – instead of protein, healthy fats, and whole-food carb sources, maybe you’re eating low-fat, more processed foods. In this case, your body will respond by overeating because it’s not getting the nutrients from those foods it requires. Finding a macro balance that works for you –centered around good quality protein – is the simple key to muscle growth, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy!
- Poor cognitive performance and mood. Many factors can play into this, like not eating enough, eating too much sugar, and eating foods that your body doesn’t tolerate. If you find yourself having trouble concentrating on your work, or you feel fuzzy even after a decent sleep, or you’re moody or irritable and don’t know why, your diet may be the culprit – or at least, an improvement in your diet could help.
- Poor sleep. Everyone knows sleep is important to health, but it’s less common knowledge that the foods you eat can have a dramatic impact on your sleep quality. Sure, avoiding booze and caffeine later in the day are big factors, but meal timing and amount can impact your sleep, too. Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night starving? Switching up your day time eating schedule can help, and we can help you figure it out.
Want to learn more about fueling for strength and muscle-building? Sign up for our Muscle Science For Women program, starting January 10. Space is limited so join now!