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7 ways to know if your nutrition plan is working


1. You feel satisfied after meals


Does it ever feel like you’re hungry all the time?


As we digest our food, the gut sends signals to the brain about how much energy we’ve consumed to trigger satiation (the feeling of fullness) so we know when we’ve had enough.


For most people, the junk food never runs out, so you’re left eating and eating and eating with zero satiation (and almost zero actual nutrition).


What progress looks like:


With your new nutrition plan, you’re eating slowly. Choosing fresh foods. Leaving less room in your diet for processed foods that rev the appetite and never seem to fill you up.


Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, beans, and legumes are taking up new space in your body, nourishing you, helping you feel satisfied. They signal to your gut and brain that It’s OK. We are OK. We are safe and comfortable and fed. We can stop now.


Your gut and brain are calm. No panic. No restless pacing to the pantry. You’re just… done. Without any worry.


Yep, this is all possible. In fact, this is what you’ll start to experience once your nutrition (and exercise) plan is on track. It’s an early sign of progress you can sense even before you lose any weight.


2. You have more energy


Maybe you can’t remember a time when you didn’t feel exhausted.


Maybe your brain and body are getting too much processed food and too much sugar; maybe you’re borrowing energy from the future with stimulants.


Maybe you’re not getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Even small deficiencies in certain nutrients—which are much more common than you think—can drain your energy and fog up your focus.


What progress looks like:


One day, you wake up one minute before your alarm. Your eyes are actually open. You even feel… kind of… happy?


A good nutrition plan gives you energy—constant, steady, all-day energy rather than a brief buzz and a crash. If you get it right, you’ll start experiencing this over time. Sometimes even before the scale needle starts to move.


3. You’re sleeping better


There can be many reasons for poor sleep: stress, aging, hormonal changes, being a new parent, getting too much light late at night, jet lag, and so on.


Nutrition and exercise can play a role. For instance, if you diet too stringently, over-train (or under-recover), amp yourself up with tough workouts, or over-eat heavy meals late at night, you may not sleep well.


You may drink too much alcohol and caffeine. You may not get enough protein (to make the right neurotransmitters), nor enough vitamins and minerals (ditto).


What progress looks like:


Now, with your nutrition plan, you’re getting enough good stuff to make the brain chemicals you need.


Your body is no longer in an always-on-battle-stations-go state of chemical panic.


All of a sudden, you seem to wind down an hour before bedtime without a problem. You follow your sleep ritual and conk out easier than ever.


4. Your clothes feel just a little looser (or tighter)


You know, the one that almost never fits unless you’re massively dehydrated,  It fits. Not just suck-it-in-and-suffer fits. But, like, really fits.


The one that normally drapes over you like an oversized beach towel over a coat hanger. It doesn’t fit. And that’s great. Because your chest and arms and shoulders and back are now too muscular for it.


What progress looks like:


Muscle and bone are denser than body fat. When we build this lean mass, we often get heavier but smaller (at least in certain areas).


If you’re male, you may find your shoulders broadening, chest filling out, back wings fluttering, and a new case of “hockey ass” from muscular glutes… but your waist shrinking.


If you’re female, you may find that your scale weight goes up but your clothing size goes down (and you ace your bone density scan!).


5. You’re in a better mood


You may also not be your best self when you’re deprived of the nutrients your brain needs to keep you sailing on an even emotional keel, without crashing into the rocks.


What progress looks like:


Improving our mental and emotional outlook with good nutrition can show up in surprising ways. Here are some of the things people discovered after consistently improving their nutrition habits.

“I feel…

“More confident.”  “Like change is possible.” “Better about my choices.” “More knowledgeable.” “Clearer about my goals, and the path to get to them.” “Like I walk tall now.” “Mentally more ‘on’, clearer-headed and less ‘fuzzy’.” “Happier and more positive.” “More open to trying new things.” “Motivated!”


In part, these changes come from the experience of changing habits. 


These changes also come from the nutrition itself: Our brains and bodies have the nutrients and chemical tools they need to do their jobs—to regulate our emotions, to make our “happy neurotransmitters”, and to send those cheery and calming signals where they should go.


6. You’re stronger and have more endurance


Around the time you first start your nutrition overhaul, workouts might feel like a slog. Maybe you feel weak, uncoordinated and slow. Maybe you pick your dumbbells off the small end of the rack. And boy are you sore afterwards.

And then, gradually, you’re less sore.


What progress looks like:

  • You’re using the same weight with more range of motion.
  • Your muscles aren’t as sore.
  • You can do more work overall.
  • You’re fresher and recover better.
7. It feels more like a lifestyle than a “diet”


“Diets” are a chore. They’re another to-do that you superimpose over your busy life, and another boring, strict, overly complicated task you can’t wait to quit.


When we do quit—because of course we do, it’s temporary, right?—we’re back where we started. Back “off the diet”. Back to processed foods, never-ending hunger, frustration, and weight gain.


What progress looks like:


Progress here happens when you’re just… living. You’re in a nice, natural, normal-day rhythm that doesn’t feel like being “on” or “off” anything.


Eating well stops being A Thing and just starts being your daily life.


  • You naturally gravitate toward whole foods.
  • You have a plan. You look for challenges and develop strategies for staying on track.


Yep, this is also possible. It’s a natural and normal consequence of eating and exercising in a sensible and sane way. And it’s a sign of progress, regardless of what the scale is doing.

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