Nope. That never happens. No one’s running to steam broccoli at 2am after a terrible breakup. Although it’s true that you are what you eat, modern science has now proven that you’re also what you think and feel. These two philosophies are the backbone of my very own philosophy, Fuddhism!
What you eat, and how you think and feel, immensely influence your overall health and happiness.
Look, we’ve all been there…polishing off that pint of quadruple chocolate chip ice cream (that exists, right?) after a breakup, or housing a plate of nachos after your favorite Stark gets killed (Google Game of Thrones…please). Crappy moods lead to mindless eating, which lead to poor food choices, which undoubtedly lead to poor health. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s important to know that, your emotional state has a serious effect on your diet.
Want more proof? We can see it on the flip side after that hurts-so-good workout when endorphins are flying and you are feeling great! Your ‘runner’s high’ has cranked on those feel good chemicals, and in this euphoric state you don’t feel the need to bury your face in a bag of cookies. But after a fight with a loved one or a stressful experience at work, you are less likely to want to try out that new bok choy recipe, and more likely to reach for that candy bar.
When you’re irritable and emotional, there are both physical and psychological changes that are pulling you towards the ‘bad foods’ dark side. (Tip: Drink a full glass of water with squeezed lemon the second you feel the dark force). Physiologically, your body is releasing a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases your appetite for all things fat and sugary. Psychologically, when you’re in a bad mood, you’re not worried about the long term consequences of inhaling an entire pizza. You say, screw it! And then what? The pizza you just inhaled to make yourself feel better in the interim, now makes you feel worse long after the deed has been done. And the vicious cycle continues.
What’s the key to breaking the bad mood-crap food cycle?? You first need to change your tune and check your ‘tude! Keeping those cortisol levels in check with a healthy attitude is paramount. Don’t let your emotions run you, remember, you are always in control. Because your emotional state has a direct effect on your cortisol levels, it’s vital that you find ways to eliminate stress and shift your focus on being happy and grateful. I bench my cortisol levels and keep my “feel good” chemicals center court by:
- getting plenty of sleep
- spending time outdoors (hello sunshine!)
- staying active
- laughing a lot
- listening to music
- spending time with those I love
- and finding the silver lining in all my shortcomings
I believe adhering to strict diets and prohibiting yourself from ever indulging, is what can lead to a seriously gluttonous evening, followed by that shameful morning after guilt trip. When we allow ourselves, in moderation, to indulge in the things we love, we don’t need to sound any alarms when we do fall into a Debbie Downer state. I always allow myself to eat what I enjoy…in moderation of course.
Ups and downs will come, but if we can be more mindful, we don’t have to let the blues lead to health issues. Our mood will affect every decision we make, so remember to always check your mood before reaching for your fuel of choice.