Your diet and mental health go hand in hand. This is something I had to learn and experience for myself to truly believe this.
Eating Habits Change
I didn’t come from a healthy eating family. OH sure wasn’t. (Anyone raising their hands too!?) Throughout my entire life my parents stressed the importance of: protein protein protein! Still to this day I can recite it in my head like a religious chant. It was kind of our mantra.
Sure I was the healthiest I’d been in my life because I was actively involved in sports and young (hello fast metabolism)!
But fast forward until now…
…when social life became centered around something involving alcohol and my metabolism was SHOT, I realized something needed to change pronto. And what was that? My eating habits and my education around food. Help me please!
Mental Health Changes
Another huge factor for me was my mental health. Not only was my body changing, but also my mind.
Being young with no worries in life and having a great family is a recipe for perfect happiness. And I was, the most happy and hyper girl rocking tiaras and feathery boas in Target while my mom shopped.
But fast-forward to college…going from constant fun to a job where you’re back at the bottom of the food chain, well sucked.
So my mental health was not doing so great.
Workin’ 9-5, Baby
A new full-time job was a HUGE life transition. Adding coworkers, projects, deadlines, presentations, and working your brain 9/10 hours straight every single day–talk about exhausting and HARD. That’s a big transition from class a couple of times a week and your weekend starting Thursday.
You never see your friends because everyone you know is going through the exact same thing as you. And who wants to hang after work?
(not many people whatsoever)
So you instinctively fall in bed, snack on chips, pour a glass of wine, and turn on a reality TV show you claim is your “guilty pleasure”. Heck, that’s what I did! Why? Because it gives you short-term and instant satisfaction. Then you wake up and start your day all over again.
My diet and mental health needed some help.
Well I needed more. I needed to FEEL better and happier. I needed a change. I found myself going down the rabbit hole a little and losing myself. Anyone else have this happen?
Get You Nowhere
Turns out, those bad habits do nothing for your body it also does nothing for your brain.
They are connected my ladies!!
My mental health was a struggle and getting worse by the minute. It’s hard to be naturally happy when your life flips, you have stresses you’ve never experienced before, and your unhealthy habits stay the same.
Mine really started getting to me. I was putting on pounds. When you’re sitting all day at a desk job AND eating unhealthy it equals a recipe for disaster. I had to make some quick and easy changes fast.
Eating healthy has done wonders for my self-esteem.
Even if I’m not exactly where I want to be in my fitness goals, just knowing I’m putting good things into my body is enough to keep me happy and have a killer self-esteem. When you’re authentically happy it shines!
Your self-esteem comes from having a happy heart and mind that others can physically see from your attitude and the way you hold yourself.
When I pick eating a salad with grilled chicken over wings (love me some wings), just that one small decision boosts my self-esteem like no other!
You are your choices and decisions and they affect your behavior and mood tremendously. By staying aware throughout the day of what you’re putting in your body you’ll stay on track.
A day where I’m eating whole foods that are great for my body vs. a day that I have junk and fried food has drastic effects to my mood and confidence.
Try it! Test it out and let me know.
When you feel good on the inside, you’ll feel good on the outside. It’s all about having a positive body image. It’s hard to have negative feelings towards how you look when you’re making healthy food choices.
Tips For Healthy Choices
What I try and do is each meal, make one healthy choice that I usually wouldn’t. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as: every single meal is kale (ain’t nobody wanna live like that)! But each meal, I’ll do a side salad instead of fries or I’ll use veggies to dip in salsa instead of chips.
I also try and have something green every meal. Small challenges and things that are realistic for YOU to handle is what you need to determine.
Do this and watch your self-esteem soar.
# 2 Increased Energy
As you get older, the more responsibility you have and the more you have on your plate-ugh, I know right it’s true!
The more and more I’ve been taking on the more energy I need, but with how I was eating beforehand I was not having enough.
I’d feel drained and bleh halfway through the day which made me rely on coffee like it was a drug.
For me, I hate having to need or rely on something in order to get things done.
I had to find another way.
When I started having a more balanced diet and keeping my snacks healthy, my energy skyrocketed!
Us women are always on the go and we need all the energy to keep us moving in a healthy way. This is only possible if you focus on implementing all sources of nutrition into your diet. I personally incorporate protein, veggies, and grains for each meal.
After lunch, I used to always feel like napping. I’d feel extremely sluggish and it would be hard to focus on the tasks at hand that I needed to accomplish.
But now, I’m ready for anything when I give my body what it needs to perform at a high level.
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# 3 Feel Happier
Your brain immediately responds to what you’re putting in your body.
It’s as simple as that.
It needs certain vitamins and minerals to function well. When I used to look at healthy foods I would be grossed out or have no appetite towards them whatsoever.
But now, I see it in a different light.
I know that’s the cause to get me feeling how I need and want to feel. Sure, there’s great vitamins and supplements on the market, but nothing can replace eating spinach or snacking on dates.
I’ve seen a dramatic increase in my mood due to what I eat.
Lack of vitamin B12, iron, and calcium is often what is causing someone to have a poor mood.
Try this yummy strawberry oral B12 spray. I use it every morning. It’s so good and so easy!
If you aren’t giving your mind and body what it needs then it will react. Listen to what it’s saying and how you’re feeling. It all means something.
#4 Save Money
Yas, it’s true that eating healthy will save you money.
I eat out a lot less than I used to because at restaurants you have no idea how much salt or oil they are using.
Some restaurants are great at being transparent with where they source their produce and meats, but most are not.
By cooking your own meals it’s the only way you can be 100% sure of what is going in your body.
Plan Your Meals
I used to never have a plan.
Me beforehand would never know what I was going to eat the next day.
It would go something like this: I’d wake up, be hungry, then go pickup something (that for sure was not good for me).
Having your meals planned for the week takes away so much stress and anxiety! It was like night and day with me. This is also an amazing way to save money.
By not eating out you’re saving SO much cost that you can put elsewhere. Veggies are cheap too!
Tips For Shopping
Don’t shop when you’re hungry, ever! You will end up buying so much more than you need.
Also, most of that food will end up being unhealthy because when you’re starving, you’d take a frozen pizza any day over a salad.
Don’t do it.
Buy whole foods and generic brands. Whole foods are a lot cheaper than processed ones. Sure, they don’t last as long, but that’s because they are chemical free!
Generic brands are the exact same thing, but just cheaper. Put that pride away girl and get that generic.
It really all comes down to: if you buy it you will eat it. I don’t even buy junk food and candy because I know I lack self-control when something is in front of me.
I also use a grocery list app so I don’t miss out on buying something I need. It’s so easy! I make my list before I shop and check off items while I get it. It’s great because I never under or over shop.
I hope this advice helps and you can add it to your own life.
Your diet and mental health should be your #1 focus.
It is the foundation for everything else.
I am by no means perfect, but trying and making small good decisions will get you much further than doing nothing. Let me know your progress and how you are making changes for the better!