Good food, good mood
I'm sure you've heard the saying "you are what you eat". I believe there is so much truth in this, since food can directly affect your mood. There is growing interest in research on dietary changes and how they can affect the mood. A poor diet can be strongly linked to feelings of anxiety and depression. So, improving your diet may help to significantly improve these conditions.
Speaking from personal experience with my own clients, positive changes in diet have helped improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Even after a six-week period, my clients gain more energy and motivation when following a balanced eating plan. Specifically, their balanced eating plan focuses on a diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts and the reduction of sugary, processed foods. This kind of balanced diet is proven to help my clients adopt a positive mindset.
But, it's not always that simple! Emotional hunger often gets in the way of good eating patterns. The relationship between food and mood is complex.
Emotional hunger is not the same as real hunger. It's a psychological drive to eat food that occurs without hunger, and triggers both a negative cycle and mindset of bad eating habits. Potential triggers can be a number of everyday emotions; stress at work, anxiety, tiredness, boredom and emotional upsets.
Implementing a healthy food plan, which helps improve physical and mental wellbeing, is the way to begin this positive cycle and to adopt a positive mindset.
Here are some useful tips to kick off your positive eating habits!
- Clean out your pantry and stock up on healthy food and snacks, to minimise temptation and encourage healthier choices.
- Make a list of non-food related activities to practice when stressed. For example, go for a walk, have a bath, take up relaxation techniques, or call a friend.
- Think of food for enjoyment and nourishment not as self-medication. The pleasure from indulgent foods is short term; it's usually followed by feelings of regret, which only leads to a further drop in mood.
- When you have a strong craving for unhealthy foods, stop and pause. A thought is only given power if you act on it. Stick to healthy choices and focus on the long-term benefits, which will be more rewarding.
- Avoid 'all or nothing' mentality. There is no need to ban treats completely, choosing to have a treat now and then is okay. On the other hand, keep in mind that eating unhealthy foods when you're feeling low and out of control, can encourage the negative cycle.
- A positive mindset takes time and practice. Often, a support system will further help you to reach your long-term health goals and stick with them. Be patient, find support and commit to your healthy food plan.