There are so many factors of everyday life that can shift the way our bodies regulate hunger. Things like stress, illness, grief, and let’s not forget just the general busyness of everyday life can take a toll on our appetite.

High levels of the hormone, cortisol, can cause both an increase and decrease in hunger. The suppression of our appetite can cause havoc on our bodies through both our metabolism and hormones.

Let’s take a look at how your body may be signalling to you that it’s time to eat and ways in which you can increase your food intake with a well-rounded balanced diet.

1. Headache/Dizziness

The onset of a headache and/or dizziness is one of the first physical signs to manifest in your body when you haven’t eaten. This is because your blood sugar has taken a dive, and this will make you feel faint. Headaches can also be caused by dehydration so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

For a quick energy boost, eat a snack that consists of both carbohydrates and protein. This combination will help give you energy while increasing your blood sugar at a stable rate to ensure it doesn’t crash later on. Great snacks include things like an apple with some nut butter, veggie sticks and hummus, or some berries and nuts.

If the headaches/dizziness persist, make sure you chat to your GP to rule out other possible issues.

2. Low Energy

It’s undeniable that when we don’t eat enough, we don’t have the energy to do the things that we love. If you’re getting enough good quality sleep, it might be time to evaluate your diet and just how much you are eating. It’s important to be mindful the quality of the food you are eating and not just the quantity of the calories you are consuming.

Make sure you’re eating a good quality breakfast filled with complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats and keeping your body fuelled throughout the day. It’s also important to ensure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. For something a little different try some tea, a smoothie or infused sparkling water.

3. Hangry is a real emotion!

Hangry is REAL! If you’re not eating consistently throughout the day, your blood sugar is going to drop, and your mood is going to with it. When you’re not eating enough you (or those around you) might notice you’re in a much more irritable mood. Not only that, but you might find yourself feeling nauseated as well.

To keep hanger at bay, make sure you’re eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep you in a better mood during the day.

4. Feeling Foggy

Brain fog can be a symptom of many health issues. However, it’s also one of the key signs you’re not eating enough. By not eating a breakfast or skipping lunch to make sure you meet a deadline, delays the energy boost your body needs to keep going.

Have you ever noticed the 3:00pm slump hits you a little harder when you haven’t eaten regularly throughout the day? If so, make sure you avoid the sugary drinks and snacks to get you to the end of the day. Instead, fill up on good quality foods and nutrients like a delicious filling salad or wholegrain sandwich. By eating foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants you can boost your brain function and say bye bye to brain fog in no time.

If brain fog or cognitive issues persist, make sure you chat to your GP to rule out other possible issues.

5. Feeling Chilly

Are you always feeling cold? It could be a sign you’re not eating enough. Our bodies need a certain number of calories just to function in a rested state. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and is the amount of energy expended while at rest. So, if you’re not reaching this energy goal, not only is your body going to struggle to keep you warm, but your body isn’t going to be performing other functions that well.

If you’re feeling cold, make sure you’re eating enough daily and include some warming foods into your diet. This can include things like soups, bone broths, stews and lots of tea.

6. Brittle nails and hair loss

If you’re not getting enough nutrients, your body is going to send those which you are getting to your most important organs like your brain, heart and lungs. This is why you may notice that your skin doesn’t glow or isn’t as plump as usual, why your nails are brittle and why your hair is easily snapping and falling out. Your hair, skin and nail health are closely linked to the nutrients your body absorbs so if you notice these subtle changes, you may want to begin to nourish them from the inside out.

Some things you can do to help improve your hair, skin and nails is to eat more foods that contain the protein, keratin. This protein will help strength your hair and nails and is in foods such as spinach, oats, salmon, eggs and berries. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and mackerel as well as foods containing healthy fats like avocados, walnuts and sunflower seeds are all great food sources that can help you improve your skin.

The most important thing to take away from this article is you should start to turn in, listen and acknowledge the subtle or not so subtle clues your body might be giving you.

If you want to learn how to tune into your body, sign up for my FREE 7-Day Mindful Eating Challenge. Over the 7 days I’ll walk you through practices on how to check in with yourself, your emotions and the cues your body is giving you to ensure you’re getting enough to eat throughout the day.

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