Embarking on a healthy lifestyle is no easy feat. You’re going to have challenges and setbacks, and that is perfectly okay. In fact, it’s normal.
When you begin to incorporate more fresh healthy foods into your diet, you may notice some unpleasant symptoms. Why would eating healthier cause you to feel worse? Your body is simply taking the time to get rid of the bad and adapt to the good. It’s letting go of toxins, many of which are stored in the fat cells that you’re in the process of shrinking. Here are a few common symptoms and tips to get you through those first few weeks of adaptation.
Possible reasons for your symptoms and tips to get you through
Everyone’s digestive system is a little different. You may notice digestion occurring faster than usual, or you may experience constipation. When you up your fiber intake from fruits and vegetables, there may be a period of adjustment. Cooked vegetables are easier to digest, while raw tend to be more difficult. They also contain more water, which can be an adjustment if you’re not used to additional fiber and water during your day. Ease into healthy eating with equal amounts of cooked and raw vegetables. Experiment to see what works best for you, and give you body 2-3 weeks to adjust.
The best thing you can do is get adequate rest. If you’re going from a high sugar diet with regular caffeine consumption, you will most likely experience some fatigue in the beginning. Once you’ve gotten those out of your system, your body has a chance to thrive on whole foods. You will likely develop healthy patterns of energy and rest. Cortisol levels may improve, and you are likely to feel more well-rested and ready for your workouts. Exercise also helps improve sleep, so the combination of your diet and workout program will begin to work together for your benefit. If you are still feeling fatigued after the first 2-3 weeks, be sure you are eating enough for your activity level.
Food scientists are smart. They know that when the body gets sugar, salt and fat, especially all three together, it wants more and more! That’s why people have a hard time eating small amounts of chips, sweets and other foods that are best had in moderation only. They are truly addicting, and it takes time to break your cravings. The best thing you can do is stick to your plan. Be sure you are eating enough, and be sure you are eating well-rounded meals and snacks that include protein, carbohydrates and fats. Nutritious carbohydrates like apples, berries, winter squash and sweet potatoes can help calm sugar cravings. Make sure you have nuts, avocados and healthy cooking oils on hand so your body is not deprived of healthy fats. Incorporate healthy fish like salmon, and meats like bison and chicken breast.
Make sure you’re getting enough rest and water. Since you’ll be working out regularly, you need to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Water also helps eliminate toxins from the body. Carry a water bottle with you. Go to bed when you’re tired and take care of yourself. You may find that yoga, meditation and stretching in the early morning or evening also helps.
Mood swings, crashes and more
If you are working on eliminating caffeine from your diet, I recommend you do so slowly in order to minimize the problems you may experience. If you’ve been using caffeine to rev your body up during the times it’s actually trying to rest (like that afternoon slump), you will probably experience some mood swings and energy crashes the first few weeks. As you begin to take in more good and crowd out the bad, you’ll start to realize how much better a healthy afternoon snack makes you feel. You’ll sleep better, have more energy for workouts, and realize just how much trouble caffeine was causing you.
Remember that your body doesn’t have an on and off switch. It works with what you give it and will adapt and change to better serve you over time. Always be good to yourself. Check in and make gradual changes that you can commit to for life.