It probably comes as no surprise that living with mental illness can cause disruptions in your daily life such as your mood, your behavior, your sleep patterns and so on. But one area that has been drastically affected by my depression and anxiety are my eating habits. In a previous post, I talked about how anti-depressants cause weight gain. Well, I’m not joking! They really make you gain weight. I mean A LOT! The other reason is being stressed out. Whether you’re under the gun with deadlines at work (BEEN THERE!), and you’re constantly on go (ME, TOO) or you have kids (I don’t have any unless dogs count?), whatever it is, your daily stressors affect your eating habits.
Way back in the year 2004 (Yikes, 14 years ago!), I was going to college part-time and working full-time and also driving back and forth from my house to school and to work; and I would always stop to get something quick. Not a good idea to stop for fast food in general. So much grease, so much sodium and too many calories. You may as well have a heart attack from eating fast food. Every time that I was on the go, I always went the unhealthy route and ended up gaining a lot of weight. To this day, I’m still struggling with my weight and I’m trying to motivate myself to get back on track. The struggle is REAL. There are so many times when you’re stressed: you start eating too much food, you eat too little food, you start swapping out soda (Don’t drink soda! Also a weight gainer!) instead of water and etc. The point is that if you don’t take care of your body then you will start experiencing serious health problems. Some include: diabetes, heart & cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and etc.
My mother is obese and she eats very unhealthy. She’s a borderline diabetic (high trigs & high cholesterol & and glucose levels are main factors to watch!), and suffers from a kidney disease called gout (OUCH!). Part of the problem, is that when she gets up, she eats her feelings (BEEN THERE!) and that’s not healthy at all. Being depressed and having zero motivation to get up and out of bed is REAL and it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle unless you train your brain. Remember when I talked about “Changing the way you think?” You can do that but turning a negative into a positive. It’s not impossible.
Most dietitians/nutritionists will tell you the following are great practices in keeping yourself healthy:
- Eat your breakfast! The most important meal of the day!
- Eat your fruits and vegetables! My inner child would be yelling at me for eating healthy
- Avoid soda especially diet soda at all costs. Drink herbal teas and or water (H20)
- Limit your caffeine intake! Caffeine makes you anxious! I should know since I work at Starbucks!
- Limit your sugar intake! Eat in moderation. (I love chocolate, but only in little pieces)
- Cut out or limit your love affair with red meats (Again, I’m not a steak person)
- Get your SLEEP! I don’t know about you, but I need and love my 8 hours of rest.
- Eat your bigger meals during the day and eat several smaller meals a day
- Don’t eat after 7pm. For me, I have noticed that I gained more weight by eating after dark. And don’t eat and then go to sleep.
- Lastly, count your calories, but most importantly, get out and stay active!
I will share with you some of cookbooks that I found on Amazon that really explain the basics of eating healthy and eating in moderation. Check it out! Reminder, there’s plenty of cookbooks, too!