Let me just be clear from the beginning of this article, that in referring to diet, I mean your daily food program, the food you eat on a daily basis, NOT a restrictive diet plan that you follow precisely for a short to medium space of time in order to lose weight.
I don’t believe in those sorts of diets at all, because they don’t work! It is MUCH better to eat intuitively, following what your body needs at any given period of time and that includes food that is nourishing and wholesome.
That said, I know from my own experience, even when I am eating foods that I consider to be pretty healthy, there are still signs my body gives me from time to time that make me stop and think and figure out what I might need to change around or do a little differently so that I am feeling at my optimum.
It is important to recognize when your body is not performing at its peak, and to understand how the signs from your body could indicate that something is out of balance.
You have powerful cravings
There are two kinds of cravings that people experience- those that are nutritional and those that are emotional.
Emotional cravings which can often lead to binge eating and emotional eating, are those which we experience when we are feeling out of balance emotionally. These kinds of cravings are not so much to do with an imbalance in your diet, but more to do with an imbalance in your Soul Foods.
If you are cravings foods that you know are not physical cravings, then I encourage you to explore the areas of your life that are not being nourished and to work on those (forget about focussing too much on the foods you are eating at this stage!)
From my experience in working with clients, it doesn’t matter how many meal plans I give to them. If you are not clear on the emotional triggers and reasons WHY you are eating not-so-well, then it is very difficult to start eating healthier and more consciously (even with recipes at the ready!). The fact of the matter is, food + emotions = best friends, therefore, if you want to control your emotional cravings, then you need to manage your emotions first.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing physical cravings then this is due to an imbalance in what you are eating. Maybe you are eating 100% raw- this might mean you start to crave cooked and processed foods because you might not be eating enough calories, or more specifically, protein or complex carbohydrates, to allow your body to feel fulfilled.
Another example might be that you are lacking in a particular nutrient, so your body starts to crave foods that contain that nutrient. It is quite common for example, during PMS, to crave chocolate. This could be partly emotional craving but is also physical, because good quality dark chocolate contains magnesium which is a wonderful mineral to consume when you are menstruating to relieve cramps and bloating.
Maybe you are sick and you are craving oranges (for the vitamin C) or you are craving pasta (your body needs carbohydrate fuel) or you can’t stop thinking about avocado (your body wants some healthy fats).
Don’t be alarmed by these kind of cravings and instead give in to them! So long as you are eating nutrient dense food, you shouldn’t be consuming too many calories but will be increasing your vitamin and mineral intake so you are getting enough of all the essentials.
You need to really trust your intuition a bit here, because you also don’t want to go overboard and eat too much of these craving foods (even if they are healthy!) because that will then lead to another imbalance that your body will try to right again through another, different craving.
You are lacking in energy
If you find that you don’t have enough energy to get through the day, and have no motivation to move your body in any way because you are too tired, then this could mean you are not eating right.
Usually this symptom comes from not consuming enough calories to sustain you in the day, or you are eating too much of some foods and not enough of others that provide essential minerals to your body to create energy.
By eating a diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein (tempeh, tofu, beans, lentils) and complex carbohydrates (brown rice, wholegrain breads and pastas), then you should have enough energy to burn. You also need to eat some good fats (that might come from avocados and nuts, for example) but not in excess, because this can also make your system feel sluggish. It is better to fill up on fruit and veg than it is on fats.
The same goes if you are waking up and still feeling tired after a good night’s sleep. Are you eating a huge, carb-heavy meal right before you go to sleep? This causes your metabolism to become sluggish and can be a cause of the fog first thing in the morning.
Try loading up on low fat fruits and vegetables a few hours before bed, and see if that help you to wake up feeling more energized.
Your weight yo-yos
As I said earlier, there is more to a healthy lifestyle and losing weight that just the food you eat. There are lifestyle factors that come into play too. Without the right approach, it won’t matter what you are eating, your weight is going to go up and down and never really stabilize.
You really need to eat intuitively. Don’t eat too much or too little- eat mindfully and stop eating just before you reach your full point. Experiment with different food combinations and fins out what works best for you.
This is a process that will take time, and needs to happen in combination with regular movement (30 minutes of some sort of exercise every day- but make sure it is fun!), enjoying fulfilling relationships, living your life with passion and purpose, tapping into your spiritual side (maybe a ten minute meditation or some journaling every day) as well as enough self-care to stay relaxed…and then you will find your weight becomes stable and you eat effectively and with conscience, easily.
You are overwhelmed
If you are experiencing confusion and doubt over what to eat and when to eat, then this is going to affect the way you feel. This is why diets don’t work. They are not natural and don’t teach you to learn what is right for you and your unique body type and bio-individuality. You might find yourself trying something extreme that your body knows isn’t right, so it reacts negatively (in the ways I have listed above) and then you fall off the wagon (and feel guilt, even though it really isn’t your fault but that of the extreme and unnatural diet!)
If you do feel food confusion, it can be really useful to work with a coach like me to help you to learn the essentials about nutrition, and to also look at the emotional issues surrounding the food and lifestyle you choose.
With one-on-one coaching, you can get the motivation and guidance that is so often needed to make long-lasting and permanent change. When you work with me, you also get to be part of a secret Facebook group where you can connect with my other one-on-one clients (former and current), which provides you with a space to get further accountability and inspiration- things that are really important to be on the path to perfect health.
- I’d love to know what roadblocks or problems you have experienced as you go on your healthy journey and what you have experienced through changing your diet and lifestyle. Let me know in the comments below!
** I currently have 3 spaces open in my calendar for my 90 Days Soul Sessions coaching package– sign up for a complementary session with me to talk more about how I can help you and to get some a-HAS around why you might currently be feeling stuck and less-than-awesome. **