How do you know when you should bulk vs. when you should cut?
Are you a healthy body weight? What are your long term goals? Are you training for an event, or gene...
| June 28, 2021
Read time: 3 min.
What’s the best diet to follow? Is keto diet healthy? Paleo? Vegan?
While I wish I could give a simple answer, the truth is that there is no single perfect diet to follow. The answer will be different for everyone. So what do you look for instead? Here are the top 5 things I monitor for, to ensure that someone’s diet is working for them.
The most obvious factor to monitor is your energy. If you’re relying on ample amounts of caffeine to get you through your day, your diet is sub optimal. You shouldn’t need a lot of caffeine to function. Anything above 100-200mg of caffeine daily can be an indication that your diet could use an evaluation.
This feeds off of the energy factor. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it can be diet related. If you’re not eating enough, your sleep will be affected. Everyone has a different ‘set point,’ or body fat percentage that they best thrive at, and sometimes getting too lean can be unsustainable for a person. Who cares what you look like if you’re perpetually exhausted? How will you truly enjoy the life you’re living if all you’re looking forward to is Netflix and some quality time on your couch. There’s a time and a place for these things, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you have energy to do in your downtime.
If you’re constantly hungry despite just eating an hour ago, I would check out your diet. Are you getting enough fibre? Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating enough fats? These two macros are really important for staying full in between meals. Chronic undereating will also impact your hunger, and won’t subside no matter how much you play with your macro split. There are very real biofeedback hormones that kick in when you’re not eating enough and there’s no real way to turn them off besides consistently eating more. This one is really common in people who are chronically dieting. It’s important to not live in a caloric deficit. Get in, and get out of dieting phases quickly. Don’t live there.
There are many factors that can impact your mood, food is just one of them. If your blood sugars aren’t balanced, you’ll likely experience getting ‘hangry.’ Irritability in between meals is common in those with blood sugar regulation issues. Make sure you’re getting enough protein with meals, space your meals out in a way that makes sense for your life, and pay attention to days your mood is seemingly off for no reason.
While bloating is common, it is not normal. If you’re frequently bloated, your diet is not working for you. If you have 4 or more rapid bowel movements daily, your diet is not working for you. Other signs to watch for include: frequent burping, smelly flatulence, blood in stool, heartburn, or pain in your abdomen.
There is no magic formula to the perfect diet, but it should leave you feeling energized, enjoying high quality sleep, regulated appetite, stable mood, and excellent digestion. If one or more of these checkpoints are off, evaluate what the cause might be. In addition, things can change. Your diet could be working for you for years and seemingly change out of nowhere. Pay attention to your own biofeedback changes, and you’ll be well ahead of the game in terms of longevity, health, and aging gracefully. Happy eating.
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