Can healthy food make you sick? I once spoke to a woman who suffered from a wheat allergy for twelve long years. After cutting out gluten, she discovered she couldn’t eat dairy, stock, starchy vegetables, grains or coconut. Finally, she cut down her diet until she was eating nothing but eggs for breakfast and chicken salad for lunch. She tracked her meals religiously, yet she found it made no difference. She complained that she was already overweight, and eating salads actually made her gain more weight. She like millions of others wondered, “Why wasn’t anything working?”

There are many theories out there. Maybe the thyroid isn’t working. Maybe they’re not doing enough. Maybe they need to change their diet or exercise more. Yet none of these explain why people who put in the effort remain stuck. Many people struggle even though they do watch their meals and go to the gym. For some reason, their healthy lifestyle triggers allergies or weight gain.

You are more than your physical body.

As a society, people have grown detached from their own emotions. They quickly dismiss signs of depression and anxiety. Yet they don’t realize how much feelings are connected to health. Most people think a healthy diet is about deprivation. They focus on everything they’re not allowed to do. They count calories and start eating less. They tell themselves, “Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that.” All the while their body resists their efforts.

True change can only occur when everything is aligned within. Your body also stores the weight of your emotions. When you’re burdened by grief or trauma, this creates internal blocks. That’s why eating healthy must come from a place of self-love. Your focus turns to eating more of the good rather than eating less of the bad. When that happens, you start feeling nurtured instead of feeling deprived.

Your body may know things you’re not aware of.

Have you ever tried checking the labels? What do those ingredients really mean? Even fresh produce may contain things you don’t know about. For example, kale is one of the most nutrient-rich leafy greens, but it’s also been sprayed with pesticides. By the time fruits and vegetables arrive at the local grocery store, it’s been exposed to other pollutants. Yet the body knows when something is wrong. It reacts to warn you that something is off. That’s why it’s always important to heed these signals. If you’re reacting to the produce, maybe you’re sensitive to other chemicals. Try switching to locally grown organic food. Better yet, start your own garden of fresh herbs and vegetables.

Your body is bringing attention to a hidden issue.

Things like hormonal imbalances can go unnoticed for a long time. Just because it’s not visible doesn’t mean it’s not happening. In fact, it may not even be about an illness. It could be a bad habit you’re unaware of. It can be equally hard to spot something you’ve grown used to. Nevertheless, it’s an issue the body notices. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you watch your stress levels? All those little things can add up in the long run.

Yet the body does communicate all the time. Ignoring the underlying problem is like filling a bucket full of holes. No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work. You’re just going to wear yourself out.

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, you’re more than what you eat. While diet certainly plays a part, there are other key factors. The more you listen to what your body is saying, the more you understand what it truly needs.