What’s on your plate? 10 signs you need to change your diet
No diet is ultimate and forever. One of the core principles of food, lifestyle, and dietary choices is that nothing is permanent. Your health is a journey.
It is not this perfect destination that you arrive at one day. Your body and mind can be influenced by several things outside of it, and your dietary requirements might need change with time.
You might find yourself needing a change based on age, season, symptoms and stressors.
What are the ten telltale signs?
You may be well aware of the connection between food and mood when it comes to an instant reaction. For example, you may be aware that excessive ice cream can trigger a headache.
But what about long term signs that the diet you are following overall is not working for you? I’ve seen several people who are quite health conscious following a diet that has made them lose a lot of weight.
They think that the diet has worked, and they also start advising others. Is weight loss the only measure of success of dietary choices?
Let’s look at those ten signs that your diet actually needs a change.
1. Your sleep is less than optimal
One of the biggest signs that your diet is not working for you is the quality of your sleep. It is not how much you sleep, but how rested you feel when you awaken that matters. If you find yourself walking up several times during the night quite frequently, something is not right.
You do not need to wake up even to use the restroom as your body releases an antidiuretic hormone to prevent your need to urinate at night.
2. You have one or several signs of digestive distress
A big way that a diet troubles you is if it triggers some form of digestive distress.
This can show up as heartburn, gas, bloating, undigested food with elimination or constipation.
Each of these can show different aspects of what is happening within your digestive system, and they can each be triggered by specific diets that do not work for you.
One example of this is a ketogenic diet triggering heartburn when your body does not have the resources to digest that level of fats. It can also show up as perpetual gas and bloating from suddenly increasing lentils on a plant-based diet.
3. You have acne
Your skin is truly the indicator of what is happening within your physiology. If the diet that you are following has some food that is inflammatory to you personally, or if it is deficient in certain nutrients that are required for skin health, you will see it show up as frequent acne.
I’ve often heard people talking about themselves having acne-prone skin and relying on frequent antibiotics and expensive topical treatments. This is never true. The only reason that you have acne-prone skin is if your diet is not working for you.
4. You have headaches
This is more common than you might even think. I see several people who have lost a lot of weight with a diet, but they have headaches very frequently.
If headaches are common for you, and you take some form of pain medication for it, and if you think this is nothing to worry about, think again.
Headaches point towards poor blood sugar balance, nutrient deficiencies, and inflammation, all of which are signs that your dietary choices, the timing of your meals, and habits are not working for you.
5. You have bad breath
Bad breath might be the butt of ridicule but if you struggle with it, you know how frustrating it can be. Bad breath is a sign of toxic overload and poor liver health.
If you have liver challenges, you need a diet that is supportive. Some diets can trigger poor liver health because they can just be too much for your body to manage.
Bad breath points to poor detoxification and that is a big sign that you need to change something.
6. Low resilience to stress
Stress might be different for each person. Resilience to stress can also be different. If you are on a diet and swear by it because you have lost a lot of weight, ask yourself if you are more content, relaxed, and calm, or more angry, jealous, and frustrated.
A diet that might make you lose weight can still be harmful for you, if you are unable to deal with what is going on outside. If you find yourself blaming everyone for every reason why you are angry, your diet needs a change.
7. You crave something
One of the most common signs that your diet is not working for you is craving salt or sweet. Often, people follow a diet because someone has suggested it or because it looks to be ideally perfect.
If you find yourself craving something beyond your balanced meals, you need a change.
Whether you eat jaggery based sweets or pastries, all cravings point to imbalanced meals.
If your diet was truly balanced and stabilised your blood sugar, you would not have cravings.
8. You fall sick frequently
You might have lost a ton of weight with a diet. But if you find yourself catching a cold, cough or viral as often as every few months, there is something that is not working within your body.
Your diet could be triggering low-level inflammation and stressing your immune system. One of the things that I tell everyone is that falling sick is not normal.
If you get a fever or cold more often than perhaps once a year, something needs careful attention.
9. Your hair looks like dry and coarse
If you need to resort to frequent hair treatments for extra conditioning, you are probably low on several nutrients.
Taking one supplement that promises instant change is never going to be the answer.
Poor hair can be a sign of poor detoxification and a low level of nutrients. Just like your skin, your hair is an indicator of what is happening within your body.
10. You struggle with anxiety
I might have saved the best for the last. I talk about anxiety all the time. Anxiety is not solved by a pill. Anxiety points towards poor gut health, challenges with the liver, poor hormonal balance, adrenal dysfunction and much more.
If your anxiety is not settling down, rather than popping a pill, completely overhaul your diet. Anxiety is probably a big sign that you need dramatic change
You might not have all these signs, but I would say that if you have even four or five of them, you might want to consider looking deeper at your diet and wondering about where you might want to change something.
Weight loss is never the single indicator of a diet that is working for you. Sadly though, many people have made weight loss the only thing to consider in the efficacy of a diet.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)