Food and I have a very deep relationship with lots of highs and lows. Sometimes we struggle to get along, but in the end, we always patch things up. I know food only wants to keep me alive and well, but sometimes I feel like it doesn’t care about my feelings and only wants to fatten me up —
possibly to the delight of a witch or some other cannibalistic entity.
You guys feel like that too sometimes right…?
America is quite notorious for its obesity epidemic, and for good reason. Some of us are genuinely HUGE. Though, I’m no health and fitness expert, hell I only recently got back to a healthy weight myself.
That being said, this blog post won’t be me harping on why you ought to eat better to lose weight, look better, and be more physically healthy (though you definitely should). Instead, I’m targeting an equally serious but less talked-about side of mindful dieting and healthy eating habits.
Your mental health, and how something as simple as eating better can drastically reduce existing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental ailments and prevent them from recurring in the future.
Eating poorly causes depression; depression causes poor eating
Eating a diet heavy on processed foods and lacking in actual nutrition and vitamins can be a slippery slope that inevitably leads to a cycle of depression and continued poor eating habits. This concept was put to words quite well by a Dr. Salter who practices psychology in California—
“True, you are what you eat. But it runs both ways. You also eat what you are. Let me explain: Feeling unwell can lead to a lack of will and therefore poor eating habits. Eating well takes willpower. Eating poorly causes depression; depression causes poor eating. If you feel terrible about yourself, you won’t feel worthy of being nourished by good food. It is a vicious cycle.”
My own experience has proven that what this doctor is referring to is definitely spot on.
Over the course of my life, there have been a handful of drawn out periods where I’d be feeling down for months on end. During these periods, I’d binge on fast food, overeat at dinner time, and shamelessly slam thousands of cookies — my supply was endless after all.
For some time while I was growing up, I filled the role of that one fat kid who got bullied, so of course, I strived to be more health conscious in my teenage years. Even still, I would only really find myself eating better once the troubling situation had passed and I was able to find clarity in my thoughts once again.
Had someone shared with me the value healthy eating offered in the effort to repair your mind, I can only assume that I would have quickly considered taking a much healthier approach to stress-eating.
That’s Poison You Are Eating
The scientific side of things says that eating higher quality food keeps the brain well nourished by protecting it from the onset of oxidative stress.
- Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
- Free radicals are the junk that is produced when oxygen interacts with other molecules. Bad, bad stuff, and you definitely don’t want it in your brain. Stress, smoke, toxins, processed food, and radiation are only a few factors that can produce these destructive atoms.
If you are skipping too many meals or barely consuming essential nutrients, you may quickly find your body turning against you. Hair loss, muscle loss, and the deterioration of health in your skin are all possibilities with an unhealthy diet.
Even worse? Those same terrible eating habits are also extremely likely to promote the onset of anxiety, depression, and in extreme cases even suicidal ideation.
Crash dieting and binge eating may put a temporary bandage on the issue, but healthy eating is overwhelmingly more likely to aid you in establishing the willpower to face your problems and get to the root of your mental afflictions.
Rather than putting your issues on the backburner and devouring that 6×6 In-N-Out burger —
consider the effect it may have on you, your work, and the overall quality of your life. I surely won’t be avoiding all unhealthy foods, but I certainly plan to acknowledge the undeniable power of healthy eating to salve the mental aches and pains that are consistent in the life of a man who works as hard as me.
As always, thanks for reading. If you found this article to be insightful or entertaining, please consider liking it, leaving a comment and subscribing to