People think they need to deal with the negative side effects of their diet to reach their better-body goals—but that’s far from the case. If long-term success is what you’re after (and it should be), then it’s time to snap out of it and take a discerning look at your approach to weight loss. If you’ve chosen to follow the wrong diet for your body type, it could end up making you sick and even cause weight gain. Not sure if your diet is a winner? There are many warning signs your body is telling you that the diet you’re following isn’t the right choice—and it may even be making you sick.
1. You Have Digestive Issues
Digestive discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea can all be signs that your fiber intake is out of whack. If you’ve been eating a lot of processed foods or recently cut back on carbs (but didn’t up your intake of fibrous produce), you’re likely not eating the recommended 28 grams of daily fiber. On the other hand, if you’ve recently started eating whole grains, beans and produce, you may have increased your intake too quickly, which can also cause discomfort. To counteract your belly issues, wean yourself onto higher fiber foods, starting with small portions.
2. You Get Bad Headaches
While getting headaches from time to time is normal, having them every day after changing up your diet plan may be a sign you’ve taken things too far. “When you don’t eat enough carbs or food in general, blood sugar levels can dip and cause headaches,” says Smith. To keep the pounds coming off and head-pounding pain at bay, incorporate some carb-rich, produce like apples (one of the Best Fruits for Weight Loss), pears, and carrots into your daily diet.
3. You’re Irritable And Hangry
No one knows the meaning of “hangry” quite like someone on a diet. When people first cut back on calories and carbs it can make them crabby—mostly because their blood sugar levels are low, explains Smith. To counteract your irritability, try adding more carbs to your plate. The nutrient is essential to the body’s production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that’s produced in the brain.
4. You Have Major Skin Issues
If you’ve recently started to break out or develop wrinkles, it may be a sign that your diet isn’t healthy. “Skin issues are frequently a result of inflammation, which can occur if someone is following a diet that’s low in fat and high in carbohydrates,” says registered dietitian Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. “Once in the body, all carbohydrates turn to sugar, a nutrient that causes inflammation.” Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and consuming too few fatty acids can also wreak havoc on your skin.
5. Your Cuts Don’t Heal
“Whether you’ve cut yourself while shaving or nicked your finger while chopping veggies, eating a healthful diet can optimize the amount of time needed to heal your wound,” says Palumbo. Protein and vitamin C both play vital roles in wound healing, so it’s important to consume sources of each nutrient daily. “Good sources of vitamin C include red bell pepper, papaya, green bell pepper, broccoli, strawberries, tomato juice, cantaloupe mango, cabbage and even potatoes,” says registered dietitian Christine Palumbo, MBA, RDN.
6. Every Day Is A Bad Hair Day
“While the biggest predictor of lush, beautiful hair is heredity and age, diet plays a role, too,” says Palumbo. “A poorly planned diet that’s low in calories, protein, iron or fat can result in thinning, brittle or dull looking hair.” The goods news is that it’s totally possible to undo the damage. To boost your hair’s luster, Palumbo suggests enjoying plant oils and oily fish like tuna and wild salmon.
7. You Can’t Stop Shivering
Despite the fact that your thermostat reads 70°F, your teeth are chattering. Unless you have a fever, it’s likely a sign that something with your diet is off. “Low-carb dieters are at risk of developing a low thyroid function, which can make it difficult to regular internal body temperature,” says Bjork. Don’t just ignore your cold fingers and throw on a sweater—head to the kitchen and make yourself a delicious bowl of oatmeal. After you’ve added more carbs back into your diet, the constant chill and chattering teeth should subside.
8. You’re Always Sick
Sure, protein helps your abs and glutes look lean and ripped, but more importantly, the nutrient helps us remain healthy. “Protein is needed to keep our immune system running,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN. “If you don’t get enough protein from your diet, the proteins in your body that fight off invaders like bacteria and viruses will be broken down and used for fuel. This makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections so you might find that you experience more frequent colds and illnesses.”