Shedding pounds shouldn’t include shedding nutrition. As you change your eating and exercise habits to lose weight, you might be inadvertently cutting out essential nutrients and sabotaging your success. Deficits in vitamins and essential nutrients can lead to undesirable effects that can hinder your weight loss efforts by making it harder to stick to a healthy eating regimen.
To avoid feeling crappy and derailing your diet, here are some common signs of nutrition gaps, plus strategies for combating them so you can stay strong, motivated and healthy during your weight loss journey.
Stave off overeating and keep yourself on track by supplementing your diet with the following:
- Protein and fiber help you full longer because they take a while to get completely digested and remain in the stomach longer than other foods. This helps the body stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces cravings. Keep protein- and- fiber-rich snacks on hand, like nuts, fruit, carrots and hummus, to regulate hunger between meals.
- Water is critical for keeping your digestive system—not to mention your entire body—functioning well, and it also helps you feel full. An Institute for Public Health and Water Research study recently showed that participants who drank two cups of water before a meal ate fewer calories than people who drank no water at all. is critical for keeping your digestive system—not to mention your entire body—functioning well, and it also helps you feel full. An Institute for Public Health and Water Research study recently showed that participants who drank two cups of water before a meal ate fewer calories than people who drank no water at all.
A program of sustained exercise and healthy eating will inject new energy into your daily life. If you find yourself instead feeling lethargic or weak, you may have some diet deficiencies:
- Iron helps your body transport oxygen through the bloodstream and is an essential mineral for metabolism and energy. A lack of iron in the diet means your muscles aren’t storing and using oxygen efficiently, and may lead to anemia and feelings of extreme exhaustion. Make sure your diet includes adequate sources of iron, such as red meat, beans and dark leafy vegetables like spinach. And, if you are a woman, consider taking an iron supplement if you need an extra boost.
- B vitamins are necessary for cell metabolism and energy production—in fact, nearly every cell in the body uses them to create energy. Vitamin B-12 is particularly important to energy production and a deficiency can lead to anemia, according to the National Institutes of Health. Since your body does not make vitamin B-12 on its own, you need to consume it regularly. You can get B-12 from animal-based foods like fish, lean meat, poultry or eggs, as well as from supplements.
Changing your lifestyle also can change your mood and emotional outlook. If you’re feeling frustrated, angry or generally not in control of your emotions, adjusting your sleep habits can help you regain balance:
- Sleep is crucial, especially when it comes to weight management. Recent research suggests chronic sleep deprivation may increase the likelihood of weight gain, not to mention leave you feeling irritable and stressed. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed women who slept 5 hours or fewer per night had a 15 percent higher risk of becoming obese. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or maintaining a regular sleep schedule, consider trying a product like melatonin, which supplements the melatonin your body produces naturally to help maintain your internal clock and sleep cycle.