Anytime you begin a diet, always keep in mind some ways to know if your diet is healthy or not. These are the best “benchmarks” as I say, for knowing if something is working, and worth maintaining. There are a few things about diets that can generally work for most people, but I don’t believe everything can work for everyone. That being said, keep these ways to know if your diet is healthy in mind, so you stay healthy, and confident that what you’re doing is worth the effort.
1. Your Blood Sugar
The very first tip for finding ways to know if your diet is healthy, is to take a look at your blood sugar. How often are you hungry in between meals? Does your blood sugar rise and fall pretty quickly? Do you crave sweets and carbs a good bit? Do you drink a lot of caffeine? If so, all these are signs your blood sugar isn’t healthy. You are either eating too many simple sugars, simple carbs, drinking too much caffeine, or not eating enough protein at meals. Each of these things can cause your blood sugar to get out of control. Ideally, it should remain even for at least 3 hours after you eat, and to keep it that way, be sure you do eat every three hours, and eat enough protein, produce, and complex carbs, not simple sugars or starches.
2. Your Cravings
After two weeks eating a new way, your cravings should start to diminish. If they haven’t, you could still be eating too much sugar, which causes cravings, or you’re not eating enough. If you’re depriving your body of all carbs, or all fat, no wonder you’re having cravings! You can’t deprive the body of macronutrients like fat, protein, or carbs for long. It will rebel. You need to be sure to take in all three sources of macronutrients from the best sources possible, then cravings are less likely to happen.
3. Your Energy
Another thing to do when measuring your diet, is to check your energy levels. How do you feel? Energetic, or always tired? If you’re still in the first two weeks of a diet, fatigue is normal, but do be sure you’re getting at least 1200 calories at a very minimum to keep from going into starvation mode, which will definitely make you tired. After a maximum of one month, your energy levels should be great if a diet is the right way to eat for you.
4. Your Sleep
Another way to measure how healthy your diet is, is by your sleep levels. Are you sleeping well? Tossing and turning a good bit? You might be going hungry, or not eating the right foods before bed. All of these things can cause sleep issues. Generally, if you have a small meal before bed that consists of protein, healthy carbs, and produce, your sleep should be sound. If you’re still hungry, have a calcium rich snack of around 100 or less calories, such as nonfat Greek yogurt, or a glass of unsweetened almond milk with some stevia to sweeten, chia seeds and cinnamon. These are both calcium rich sources that will help you sleep soundly. They also contain magnesium, which will help you sleep as well.
5. Your Mood
Are you always ill and moody? Not getting enough fat from healthy sources like nuts, seeds and avocados, or healthy carbs from vegetables, complex carbs like oats or quinoa, sweet potatoes and squash, will all make you moody. If you’re not getting enough calcium from sources like almonds, almond milk, fat free yogurt or kefir,or leafy greens, this will also make you moody. These nutrients are all needed for a calm mood, and a happy mood. Also be sure you’re eating enough magnesium rich foods such as almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nonfat Greek yogurt ( unsweetened is best), fish, cocoa, leafy greens, oats, and quinoa. These foods all help promote a good mood and a sense of well being. Never just eat one or two things each day or neglect a lot of foods. Doing so means you’re less likely to get a wide array of nutrients.
6. Your Libido
Alright ladies, how’s your libido on this new diet? Bad? Good? Believe it or not, you can ruin your libido on certain diets, especially ones with almost not fat or carbs. Eat enough of both so you don’t lose your sex drive, or even possibly your menstrual cycle from nutritional deficiencies.
7. Your Weight
Most importantly, how’s your weight? How do you look? Too thin, healthy, or still overweight? Your weight and your appearance will tell you how healthy your diet is. It’s why you’re dieting to begin with right? Remember, a healthy diet creates a healthy body. If something is working, your body will show you. If weight loss is stalling, this can be normal, but never losing weight, or losing too much too fast, are both bad signs of a poor diet.
8. Your Hair
Another way to tell if your diet is healthy is your hair. Hair that is healthy shows a body that most likely is. Long, lustrous growing hair that shines and that doesn’t break or look dry, are signs of a good diet. B vitamins, protein, and enough fats all make your hair look great. Get enough of these so your hair won’t suffer from your new diet. If you start to notice hair falling out, or notice it begins to thin, dry out, or look dull, make adjustments as needed.
9. Your Nails
Your nails are almost identical to your hair in telling you how heatlhy your diet is. Be sure you’re getting enough protein, B vitamins, zinc, and iron, which make for good nail health. If your nails are breaking and refuse to grow, this is a sign your diet isn’t working.
10. Your Skin
Another way to see if your diet is healthy is to look in the mirror at your skin. Always broken out? Dry? Is it dull in complexion, or do you have lifeless skin? These are all signs your adrenals are depleted, your liver is clogged, and your diet is void of the nutrients it needs. Eat a whole foods diet rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, and that doesn’t deplete one single source of macronutrients. A basic clean eating lifestyle is the best way to eat for clear skin.
11. Your Restrictions
The last point of reference I’d give anyone about how to tell if your diet is healthy, is the restrictions you face. If you can go out to a restaurant, pick at least one or two things off the menu, or don’t have to visit more than 2 grocery stores to find what you need, most likely you’re okay. However, if you face so many restrictions you have a hard time finding anything you can eat, then it might be time to make some changes.
Be sure first and foremost you’re eating enough, and every few hours. Avoid sugar, refined carbs, processed fats and processed foods for the most part. Drink water, not too much caffeine, and take a multivitamin. Besides those most basic things, a few of the points above can help you see if your diet is a good one to proceed with, or quit altogether and make changes for a new one. If you’re on a diet, what’s a way that you find shows you it’s working for you?