KAWARTHA LAKES-Do you ever notice how you feel after a big heavy meal? Or a week of vacation? Or even the crash a few hours after having a sugary drink or snack?
Food greatly affects our mood!
In fact, food and feelings are so deeply connected that it can be extremely hard to separate the two. When we feel sad, we often reach for something sweet to pick up our mood; when we feel angry, we might want to chomp down on something crunchy; or when you are deeply concentrated on something or you are having too much fun, you might even forget to eat all together!
On the flip side, eating something very heavy or something very sweet can also affect our moods. Sugary foods spike our insulin, which later will cause a crash (chronic low energy, anyone?), fatty foods might make you feel very weighted down and sleepy; and healthy, fresh food might make you feel more energized.
In my newest health coaching program, the 21 Day Lifestyle Reboot, we discuss strategies to get to the bottom of how you relate to food, how the food you eat affects your own mood, and take a deeper dive into what emotional triggers might cause you to eat certain foods, thus sabotaging your health and fitness results.
Here are some common food and mood connections and how you can become more a more mindful eater to look and feel your absolute best!
1.) Chronic Low Energy from Mismanaged Blood Sugars
If you find you have a lot of mood swings or you just can’t seem to find your energy, maybe you are using sugar as a stimulant rather than gaining your energy from food. One of the top health concerns I see is managing one’s blood sugar. When your blood sugar is out of whack, you will have constant energy spikes and crashes. What I often suggest is to keep a food journal for a few days and see where you are using sugar as a pick-me-up rather than as an act of actual hunger. This can help you to identify your patterns and habits and get you closer to solving them. Eating balanced, whole food meals can really help to give you that slow burning energy without any crashes so make sure you make and take a healthy lunch, prepare healthy dinners and have plenty of healthy snacks, just in case hunger strikes.
2.) Self Sabotage at the End of a Stressful Day
Your driving home, you had a terrible day, and the drive through is calling your name. It’ll be fast, easy, and you deserve it after that horrible day, right?
You’ll feel a lot better in the long run if you find non-food ways to cope with your stress. It might be difficult to break that habit at first, but lifestyle habits changes do take time. When you change your lifestyle, you change your life and see results you never thought possible.
Some great non-food ways to cope after a stressful day? Self care, a long walk, call a friend, sit in silence, do yoga or gentle stretching, get some exercise, read a book, journal.
Your mood will be elevated long term!
3.) The “All or Nothing” Mentality
If you’ve ever been on a diet before, you know, your either on it or off it. That’s why although my health coaching programs do offer a meal plan, it’s not a rigid diet you can “fall off” of. You can’t fall off a lifestyle, you can simply move forward.
If you indulged in the office birthday cake or pizza lunch today, you can always have a healthy, nutrient dense dinner that night. You don’t have to say “oh well” I’ll start again next week.
The all-or-Nothing mentality leads us to believe that we can either be healthy or not, rather than understanding that all foods are just food and can be enjoyed in moderation for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Becky Sheehey is a Holistic Health Coach, and a Pilates and Movement Expert with a background in Kinesiology. She lives in Lindsay.