As anyone who has ever been on a diet knows, cutting back on calories can leave you feeling a little irritable, to say the least. As you get used to your new restrictions you should eventually get to be a bit more even keel, but this really depends on the type of diet you’re using. And you may find that you fluctuate between emotional extremes. For example, you may feel a sort of euphoria right after eating that is replaced in short order by fatigue and irritability as you start to get hungry again. You might be really happy about the weight you’ve lost, but upset about your constant state of hunger. Fortunately, there are ways to manage or even prevent these mood swings when you diet, and many will help you to feel better physically, as well. Here are a few strategies you may want to try.
- Choose a healthy diet. Deprivation (or fad) diets are the most likely to cause you emotional distress because they often leave you feeling like you’re missing out, in addition to severely limiting your intake of certain (and often necessary) food groups. Now, you will drop weight fast with these diets, but they’re not sustainable. And as soon as you go back to your regular eating habits you’re likely to regain what you’ve lost and then some. Developing healthy eating habits for life, including proper nutrition and portion sizes, is no easy feat, and it will take more time to lose weight by this method. But you’ll feel good throughout and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping the weight off for good.
- Use a program. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you should be eating and how much, you might think about joining a program that can give you the 411 on healthy eating. Perhaps the best program out there is Weight Watchers, which helps you to understand how you can eat in order to remain satisfied throughout the day while still losing weight. It turns out that certain foods offer far more nutritional value and long-term satisfaction than others. If you eat more of these foods and less of the ones that are high in fats, sugars, and calories, you’re going to lose weight and feel full all day. By joining the program you’ll learn how to make good decisions and create a healthy and sustainable diet for weight loss, and later, for maintaining your weight.
- Add exercise. If you want to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume; it’s as simple as that. And adding exercise to your daily routine helps you to burn calories. If you’re having trouble cutting back on the calories you consume, this is a good way to offset additional caloric intake so that you can continue your weight loss journey. Also, muscle burns more calories than fat, so while you might gain a bit initially when you start working out, you’ll actually lose faster in the long run if you keep it up.
- Use daily supplements. If you suffer from mood swings when you diet, one likely culprit is a lack of essential nutrients, and taking a daily supplement can help you to get all the vitamins and minerals you’re missing out on when you truncate your food intake.
- Get your zees. Rest is an essential part of the dieting process since a lack of sleep can alter the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body, hormones that control hunger and satiety, respectively. When you don’t get adequate sleep, you’re likely to feel hungry more often, and it will also take you longer to feel full, both of which can derail your progress. So in addition to planning healthy weight loss meals, it’s imperative to get your beauty rest. A full eight hours will also improve your cognitive abilities and help to stabilize your moods.