It‘s no secret that we live in an age that is increasingly health-focused. While cutting back on certain food groups might initially lead to the weight loss results you‘re looking for, oftentimes, a dedication to eating ‘right‘ can cause your diet to become too exclusive, and cross the line into unhealthy habits. But how do you distinguish a ‘good‘ diet from a ‘bad‘ one? For starters, constant hunger pangs are not the only indication that you‘re headed for dangerous territory. Below are 7 unmistakable warning signs that your diet is too extreme.
You’re falling asleep by lunch time
If you’re low on energy and find yourself constantly reaching for a cup of coffee or barely able to keep your eyes open to make it through a working day, this is could be a sign you’re not eating enough or that your diet is not supplying you with adequate nutrients. Consuming too-few calories per day will not only cause you to be sluggish and lower your concentration levels, but it will also inhibit you from having the energy to incorporate other healthy habits into your day, like exercise. Low energy levels are especially prevalent among those whose diets are too low in carbs, iron or fiber.
You have constant mood swings
We all know the dangers of being hangry. But even if your appetite is in check for the time being, restricting calories over the long term can affect your brain chemicals, which will cause you to feel depressed or anxious, and even trigger food cravings. Eating regularly and nutritiously will keep your blood sugar and serotonin levels in check. So if you do find yourself increasingly getting snappy with friends and family members, remember it might be down to that breakfast or lunch you’ve been skipping in a bid to lose weight.
You can‘t sleep
We all know that late-night snacking should be avoided at all costs, but this doesn’t mean you should go to bed on an empty stomach. While you may think it‘s just your growling stomach keeping you up, hunger actually makes your brain more active and alert, so you‘ll have a harder time drifting off. Worst of all, when you don‘t get enough sleep, your metabolism slows down and levels of the the hormone Ghrelin increase, which stimulates appetite and causes you to wake up and eat more. Our advice: eat a healthy, balanced dinner that satisfies you without overeating 2-3 hours before bed.
You‘re always hungry
Newsflash: if you‘re constantly hungry, your diet isn‘t working for you. While it may be tempting to restrict calories to see fast results, the truth of the matter is if you cut down too much, you‘ll just end up overeating later.
You‘ve got food on the brain
Do you constantly keep track of how many calories you‘ve consumed, or spend more than enough time planning out your next meal? This could be a sign that you‘re unhealthily obsessed. While a diet should make you more mindful of what you eat, it shouldn‘t be something you devote a lot of mental energy to.
You‘ve cut out an entire food group
It‘s understandable why you might think that cutting a whole category of food could help you reach your weight loss goals. Sure, you could lose some weight initially, but each food group serves a distinct purpose, which is why it‘s important to maintain a balanced diet. When you eliminate certain food groups, you‘re also ditching critical nutrients, like complex carbs for energy and B vitamins to keep your mood in check. Without them, your overall health suffers.
Your social life has taken a hit
A healthy weight loss plan is something that is sustainable, and that you can stick to in almost any circumstance, whether you‘re at home or at a restaurant. Avoiding social activities that involve eating out is an indication that your diet is too extreme. If your diet is so restrictive that you can‘t indulge occasionally or find anything on the menu, it‘s going to be hard to stick to in the long term, and is bound to fail eventually.
Restrictive eating isn‘t sustainable. Period. Rather than cutting out food groups and counting calories, focus instead on taking the time to get to know what your body needs in the long run. It might seem hard to believe, but it‘s absolutely possible to achieve a balance. You just need to work for it. A sustainable lifestyle is an enjoyable one.