Is Food Affecting Your Mood?
As a health coach one of the things I find to be a vital component of my work is educating individuals and groups on the ways your nutrition can impact your mood. Many people can identify with emotional eating, feeling addicted to certain foods, and experiencing sensitivities to specific foods, however, many of these individuals do not realize just how much food is affecting their mental and psychological functioning. As with any type of substance you consume, food has a direct impact on how your body functions. If you think of your body like a car, when you eat a clean whole foods diet, you are fueling your body with optimal gasoline to keep it running right. Now if you are fueling your body with processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt, sugar, and other additives, then you can expect your body will not run as effectively. If your body is not fueled right, it will begin to experience some residual effects, just as a car would, if you were trying to run it on a mixture of gasoline, water, and other unidentifiable substances.
So when it comes to specific foods affecting our mood, those containing high levels of sugar are some of the worst offenders, yet these “food like” items are the ones taking up the majority of the space in your local grocery store. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with knowing what to eat! You may have noticed I stated “food like” when referring to much of what is available at the store these day, and this is because much of the food that exists in the grocery store today is not REAL food, but rather man-made (with far too long of a shelf life to be things we should be consuming).
Now I do not want to get too technical here on the exact ways in which sugar and other potential toxins affect your mind and body because I realize many of us can get lost in the sea of knowledge and information overload that is already out there. What I will say though, is that sugar entering the body lights up your brain like a Christmas tree, specifically the pleasure center area of the brain, driving the desire to seek it out and making it nearly impossible to resist, even when it’s not serving you or your health. So when it comes to truly making shifts in your mood, ditching sugary foods is key! And yes I know a sugar habit can seem like an impossible thing to break! How do I? I am an ex-sugar addict; I used to consume some of the worst offenders when it comes to sugary filled foods! I used to be addicted to soda, chips, candy—you name it! I’m sure you can imagine on that kind of diet my mood was all over the place inevitably leading to a severe case of adrenal dysfunction, anxiety, and depression.
Something I want you to know that I did not know when i started my journey is this: it is not your fault that you have fallen to what I call the sugar trap, as your body is biologically designed to seek out things like sugar when it’s under stress, exhausted, and nutritionally depleted. The diet industry is good at placing a lot of blame and shame on individuals who are battling various health issues. You may not have made the best nutritional choices in the past and you may not be making great ones now, but that does not mean you cannot begin making better ones today!
As a health coach, it is my role to walk alongside people who are battling various health challenges. I am not here to tell you exactly how to eat or give you a perfect recipe that will CURE all your cravings. What I am here to do is educate you and assist you with working past the lies you’ve been told about food. I am here to help clients conquer the emotional battles that come along with making lifestyle changes, and I am here to keep you accountable to your goals while I guide you to finding what food is best for you. There is no perfect way of eating, however, there is a way of eating that is right for you, and will improve your overall mental and physical well being. Working together we will make food your fuel and not your crutch.