You might count calories in a bid to see the number on the scales drop, but constant dieting can lead to emotional and physical stress. The chronic stress of yo-yo dieting can ignite flight-or-fight mode, leading to anxiety and irritability. Lacking in vital nutrients and a nutrient-deficient diet can pose a form of stress on the body. Chronic stress can impair the absorption and deplete stores of essential vitamins, potentially leading to deficiencies.
If you are not eating enough, you will have reduced levels of important nutrients and lower levels of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that your body can't function without. Their job is to carry chemical signals (“messages”) from one neuron (nerve cell) to the next target cell.
To ensure you are getting enough nutrients, fill half your plate with a variety of vegetables (peppers, spinach, broccoli), a quarter of your plate with lean protein (chicken, tofu or legumes), and the rest with complex carbohydrates (such as wholegrain rice or sweet potato), and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. This ensures you are getting a range of nutrients to sustain energy and mood without having to rely on restrictive and potentially stressful calorie counting.