That's when it becomes daunting. Seeing results can mitigate some of that dread and encourage you to continue along the path to better nutrition — and you don't have to wait months to see noticeable effects. While some benefits take longer to appear than others, you'll notice certain benefits almost immediately.
You may feel better within the first few days after making a healthy diet change, and the improvements continue as long as you continue your new eating style.
The Immediate Changes
When you begin eating healthy, you'll feel certain changes immediately. Giving up high-calorie, fat-laden foods will make you feel less heavy and bloated after a meal, and you may experience fewer incidences of indigestion when you eat smaller portions.
Choosing whole grains over refined carbs will help keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, so you may experience less of a mid-afternoon slump. Because you'll be feeding your body usable nutrients instead of empty calories, you may notice an increase in energy and alertness.
Over the Next Few Weeks
Within a few days to a few weeks, you may notice a decrease in water retention and bloating as the high water and fiber content of a healthy diet kicks in. You may notice a small drop in weight, and your energy levels will increase as your vitamin supply becomes fully stocked.
Choosing and preparing the right foods will become easier, and you may find yourself enjoying and even craving healthy foods. Your junk food cravings may fade. Your new lighter feeling and increased energy levels may increase your desire to move, and you'll find yourself looking forward to a daily workout.
Over the Next Few Months
After a few months, your weight may be noticeably lower, and extra pounds may continue to drop at a slow but steady rate. High blood pressure may decrease, and cholesterol levels may drop.
Your skin will look better from the constant influx of vitamins, minerals and water, and you may notice a decrease in appetite. Food can go from being a focal point in your life to just a way to fuel your body. You may notice less joint pain as your reduced weight requires less effort to move around. Healthy eating goes from being a diet to being a way of life.
Life-Enhancing Benefits of Eating Health
If you keep at it, you'll notice what a pleasure it is to use your muscles. Lean protein feeds your muscle fibers without weighing you down with excess fat, so simple tasks like carrying groceries won't be as difficult. Your new lower weight remains steady because you are only giving your body what it needs and no more.
Your higher energy levels and nourished body make exercise a stress-reducing escape rather than a chore, and improved alertness and mental clarity allow you to be more productive because you can finally focus on the task at hand. Your risk of chronic disease is lowered, and you may begin to look, move and feel younger than you are.
- MayoClinic.com; Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet; July 21, 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet; Nov. 19, 2009
- United States Department of Agriculture: Vegetables - Why Is It Important to Eat Vegetables?
- United States Department of Agriculture: Fruits - Why Is It Important to Eat Fruit?