Do you exercise regularly, eat healthy, track your macros daily, yet still feel stuck when it comes to improving your body composition? First of all, we want you to know you aren’t alone and that this is more common than you may think. But it could also mean it may be time for a total detox (if you have any of these signs or symptoms):

You exercise daily but the scale isn’t budging

If you workout consistently yet you don’t see changes in your clothes or on the scale, it could be time to take a mini vacation or detox from exercise. Believe it or not, it’s definitely possible to workout too much. Instead, we suggest you take a de-load week and focus on stretching, meditation and yoga. Try getting outside for a walk, take a warm bath or curl up on the couch with a good book (to manage anxiety and stress). Also, if you are no longer losing weight, then it may be time to take a look at your nutrition.

You often feel tired and lethargic

If you are feeling exhausted or simply don’t have enough energy to get through your day, there could be more going on than lack of sleep. If you aren’t exercising, you may want to try incorporating 30 minutes of resistance training and/or cardio to your daily routine. However, lack of energy could also mean your body is deficient in certain nutrients. Many of us turn to packaged foods, fast food and caffeinated beverages as a way to manage our busy schedules. But when we aren’t fuelling our bodies with nutritious foods, the opposite happens. We simply don’t feel good, which creates a vicious cycle. When you don’t feel good or you’re tired, you are more likely to turn to unhealthy foods to bring up your energy.

You are bloated and/or have excess belly fat

If you struggle with bloating and/or excess belly fat, you could be suffering from carb sensitivity or insulin resistance. It’s easy to consume too many carbs because they are quick to prepare and make us feel full (at least temporarily). The problem, however, is that your body stores them as fat when it doesn’t need them. You can try limiting them at night or timing them around exercise, when your body needs them the most and uses them efficiently.

(Check out our recent article on carbs and why you may need to cut them out.)

Excess bloating and belly fat may be also be a sign that you need to eliminate them — at least for now. If it seems too extreme to cut carbs completely, try switching to slow-digesting, low-glycemic, high-fibre options such as: brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, whole grain bread, beans, legumes, non-starchy vegetables and fruit. Since carbs carry water, this could be another reason why the scale goes up and/or you feel bloated. You may also be sensitive or allergic to some of the foods you are eating.

On a side note, if you aren’t having frequent bowel movements, this could be a sign you need to add more fibre, water and healthy fats to your diet.

You have unmanageable food cravings

It doesn’t matter if you crave salty or sweet — this is a sure sign your body may be deficient in something. It could also mean you have toxins that need to be released. The problem with cravings is that they tend to get out of hand and affect your ability to achieve your health and fitness goals. It’s really hard to stay on track if all you can think about are those cookies you saw at the bakery or the chips in your pantry — right?! It’s easy to say “don’t buy them”, but if you have a craving, nothing will stand in your way. The key is to stop cravings in their tracks before they get out of hand.

You are always hungry

Cravings are one sure way to sabotage your goals. But what about insatiable hunger? This is another reason why you may be struggling. And there are many reasons for this. Everything from eating too many refined carbs, to not eating enough protein to a lack of nutrients, to leaving too much time in between meals will leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. You may need a total reset to reduce your appetite, while also flooding your body with the right nutrients. Properly portioned macro-nutrients, meal timing and intermittent fasting are other strategies that help. Sometimes it’s not about hunger at all. You simply need to change your habits. For example, nighttime snacking is often a ritual, not necessarily a response to hunger.

You have problem skin, thin hair and/or brittle nails

These are some other signs that your body may not be getting what it needs (unless of course you have any underlying medical condition). Food sensitivities, allergies and deficiencies can show up in many different ways. Therefore, a great place to start is with your diet. Start by eliminating common food culprits such as gluten, dairy, wheat, corn, soy and refined sugar. You can also add in more protein, low glycemic foods, organic fruits/vegetables, grass fed meats and butter. In this study, participants who decreased the glycemic load in their diet, noticed improvements in their skin.

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