7 Signs Your Health Is Improving (Even If It Doesn't Feel Like It)
Making changes to your health can feel impossible. Then it feels even more impossible when you don't feel any better. Measuring your success can be hard when you are constantly playing the comparison game with others on social media (no shame, it happens) and when you have Dr. Google at your fingertips. Even worse, how do you know if you’re doing more harm than good?
One of the things that I make sure to do when I'm working with clients is to bring their attention to the specific areas of their life and health that shows them that things ARE actually improving. It may not be the 10 pounds of weight they wanted (that will come later), but there are other ways to measure health that we often forget about or don’t realize matter.
7 Signs Your Health Is Improving
Your Energy is Better
Having more energy is an excellent indicator that your body has the fuel it needs to function. It also means that your thyroid is likely functioning relatively well. Sometimes this is obvious and happens within a few days of making changes, but more often than not though, it's a slow improvement that can be hard to miss. So maybe one day you realize (and this has happened to me) that you haven't taken an afternoon nap in almost a week. You might not necessarily feel like you are bursting with energy, but there are little clues that indicate you have more energy overall.
The health of your skin is tied very closely to the health of your gut. Your digestion typically improves as you focus on your overall health and nutrition. As this happens, you may notice that your skin looks and feels better too. Even if you aren't prone to breakouts, you might notice brighter, more even skin tone, less dryness, and a decrease in dark circles under your eyes. All of these things might not feel like a big deal, but they are a direct, outer reflection of what’s happening on the inside.
Blood sugar fluctuations can mess up your sleep. Not having stable blood sugar can cause you to feel to amped up at night to sleep (tired but wired anyone?) or wake you up in the middle of the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep. I've been struggling with this on and off for years and often attributed it to stress. But in reality, it's more likely that when my nutrition starts to slip away from what I know makes me feel good, I start to have more 3am wake-ups. A solid nutrition plan should support stable blood sugar through the day and overnight.
Better moods and less stress
If you are used to waking up and feeling moody or stressed, this is a good indicator that something isn’t right. Illnesses cause stress and can contribute to depression and other mood disorders. As you fix your nutrition and focus on your overall wellness, these things should start to slowly decrease. Again, this can be hard to notice because it doesn't often happen that one day you wake up and feel amazing. It's more common for people around you to notice small changes or for you to notice that you reacted to a certain situation in a different way than you would have previously.
Gas, bloating, burping, and other digestive discomfort should not be a part of your daily life. Your gut health has a huge and direct impact on your mood which can make improving digestion one of the most important things you can do for your body. While a lot of healing from chronic illness is actually focused on gut health, you may not realize that your digestion was not optimal until it improves. I had no idea that I was getting frequent stomachaches after meals until they went away and then came back again. It may take some careful observation to notice this improvement (like you no longer feel like you are 6 months pregnant after meals or that you haven't lost weight but suddenly your pants are loose).
less pMS and more regular cycles
If you are female, a regular menstrual cycle is an excellent indicator of overall health status. A lot of things need to be functioning optimally with your hormones in order for this to happen, so if it does, chances are you have a decent level of health. If you notice fewer PMS symptoms or that you cycles are becoming more regular and less painful, chances are your health is improving more quickly than you may realize. I recently had a patient who thought she was getting ready to hit menopause (in her mid-40s) because her cycle became so irregular and spaced out. She made a few diet changes due to a chronic health issue and her cycles returned and became regular again.
This one is at the bottom of the list because it's actually an added side benefit. I know that a lot of people have weight loss goals, but the truth is that in order for you to lose weight and keep it off, you need to address other health issues first. Your body will tend to lose (or gain if that's what you need) weight as things come back into balance. If you have other health issues that you haven't addressed, weight loss should not be your primary goal, because it won't happen until you address the other things. This isn't what most people want to hear, but I know that it's the truth both from my own health journey as well as working with clients.
Diet changes can often be the first step to improving your overall health. But that doesn’t meant restrictive dieting or doing all the things that worked for everyone else. We are all unique and have unique needs. But truly, food could be THE thing that’s holding your back from meeting your goals and living your most vibrant life. Check out the Find Your Perfect Diet course so you can learn how to find a diet that is 100% customized to YOU and YOUR body’s needs!
What are some of the ways you’ve noticed your health improve that may not be obvious? Is there anything on this list that was a lightbulb moment for you?