When people make changes but feel worse, it is discouraging and unmotivating, ultimately leading to worse choices and worse health. Small, sustainable, consistent change is the best way to make sure you see the fruits of your labor.
People who cut out or greatly reduce carbohydrates in order to lose weight and suffer from mood swings, constipation, irritability, and fatigue. With the popularity of diets like Keto, carbohydrates have become the latest weight loss public enemy #1. However, carbs provide us with a readily available energy source, fiber, and b-vitamins. When people eliminate these, they feel deprived, tired, and experience worse mood, as b-vitamins are crucial for mood and energy. With the decrease in fiber, people could experience constipation, which further makes them feel sluggish and uncomfortable.
The solution: replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains, like whole wheat, brown rice, farro, and grain-like foods like quinoa. Aim to get a large majority of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables for even more nutrient density and fiber to keep you feeling full, energetic, and keep the bowels regular.
Another common mistake is with intermittent fasting. This is another popular diet trend and something that when done incorrectly can make people feel terrible. For one, people who practice intermittent fasting often are less strict with their food choices during the hours they are eating. After spending a large majority of the day fasting, people think they can eat whatever they want when not fasting. This leads to unstable blood sugars and lower quality nutrition, making people feel terrible. In addition, women should be cautious about fasting windows for longer than 12 hours. A woman experiences hormonal fluctuations throughout the day, week, and month. What we eat and when greatly influences this, and hormones greatly influence how we feel. With women being a large majority of "dieters" this trend can lead to hormonal imbalances and unstable mood and energy.
The solution: IF fasting windows of 12/12 can be a great choice for our health, for example, 7:30AM - 7:30PM. Many people report they sleep better when they aren't busy digesting during slumber. This type of schedule can certainly aid in weight loss and improving metabolism, without sending your body on a roller coaster. However, its important to remember, that the quality of your food matters no matter when you are eating, so changing your schedule is not the full picture. You should still aim to get a variety of whole, plant-based foods throughout the day. Eat the rainbow is a tried and true method to ensure you are getting daily doses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you feeling well.