5 Signs It's Time To Switch Up Your DietDec 16, 2021
The way we 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 perhaps), we become overly attached to those “rules” and afraid to veer away from them.
We obsess over daily perfection rather than long-term consistency. When we inevitably fail to achieve that perfection, we start to feel discouraged and sometimes even give up entirely.
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 with your diet:
1. Low energy
Perhaps you were in a calorie 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, your system may have adapted and you’re starting to notice some of the effects.
The reaction is often to reduce “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.
Again, our bodies, and metabolism, are very good at adapting over time to what we give it. This is a concept known as metabolic adaptation and it’s a normal part of the process when it comes to losing (and even gaining) weight.
2. Poor digestion
Sometimes your meal plan can seem perfectly on-point – full of whole foods, enough calories, and food you enjoy – it sounds perfect, but you're still noticing issues with digestion.
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,” may not be optimal for you specifically.
Common foods that some people 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 to avoid all of these foods, but rather to personally test them to help you determine which foods are working for you and which aren’t.
3. Hunger, and hanger
If you’re aiming for a mild caloric restriction but end up restricting too much, your body will tell you with hunger signals. 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-satiety, more processed foods. In this case, your body will respond by overeating because it’s not getting the nutrients or satiety from those foods that it requires.
Finding a macro balance and meal structure that works for you – centered around good quality protein – is the simple key to continuing to get the results you’re after. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy!
4. 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 well.
If you find yourself having trouble concentrating on your work, 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!
5. 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 meal quantity can impact your sleep, too.
Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night starving? Do you have issues falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you wake up in the morning craving that caffeine hit? Switching up your eating schedule and structuring your macros in specific ways can make a huge difference!
Sleep is a crucial part of your body actually being able to recover properly and build muscle. Eating too much, too close to bed can disrupt sleep quality for most people. However, we also want your body to have some protein available throughout the night to help with optimizing muscle growth (this is especially key if you’re training fasted the next morning).
Also, if you have issues waking up in the middle of the night, consuming some fruit in your nighttime snack can help fuel your liver throughout the night which can prevent a blood sugar drop that may be contributing to the mid-night wake-up.
Want to learn more about how to fuel your body appropriately for your specific goals? Check out the Muscle Science For Women program: A 12-week program on the theory & application of strength & muscle-building.
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