Food for thought
If the cause of weight-gain is more than skin deep, it’s time to work on YOU and your diet.
The underlining issue is that weight-gain may be the side-effect of stress and depression. Sometimes when we get depressed and consume an unbalanced diet, we feel guilty about this afterwards and then the cycle repeats itself, resolving nothing while a lack of exercise causes your body fat to settle. These negative emotions that come along tend to deplete the important chemical balances in our body such as:
- Serotonin: Carries signals between nerves in the body, controls mood balance by regulating cyclic body processes which contribute to wellbeing and positivity.
- Norepinephrine: A chemical released from the sympathetic nervous system in response to stress. Norepinephrine is classified as a neurotransmitter, a chemical that is released from neurons. Norepinephrine is also referred to as a stress hormone as it affects other organs of the body in response to negativity.
When these vital organic chemicals deplete, we lose energy and motivation, causing weight-gain. Sometimes we can become so tired and frustrated with trying to live up to a perfect body image that we may use overeating as a radical push against this pressure.
Step 1: Think positive
The condition of your mental health may indicate whether or not you will feel peace, serenity and strength. Most personality problems are centred on fear, guilt, selfishness, self-centeredness and the inability to forget previous negative experiences.
Learn to think orderly, controlled, disciplined and calm your thoughts. Practice lifting your mind above the confusion and negativity that surrounds you. The way you think determines the exact kind of world you want to live in. Changing habits in your diet and making an effort to work on better body image is a great way to train your mind into positive thinking!
“CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS AND YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD”
– NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
Step 2: Exercise!
How do we expect our bodies to function properly and happily if we do not give them the proper care? Our physiological health should have as much importance in our lives as our physical health. The best way to move forward from stress and depression is to stop and separate unrealistic expectations from the real picture.
The first step in achieving better mental health is to work on your physical mobility and positive energies. Although when you are depressed or stressed out, the last thing you feel like doing is working out, but it helps. Studies have also shown that regular exercise can release our positive brain chemicals such as endorphins, neurotransmitters and endocannabinoids, all while reducing the negative brain chemicals that tend to worsen depression.
Increased body temperature is also great for bringing calming effects to your body which will assist in reducing stress levels. Exercise can help distract you from negative thoughts as well as help you to gain confidence in your body and your mind.
Step 3: Adjust Food quality and intake
These days, having a healthy diet may be a little more difficult, especially when we are used to eating a large amount of ‘convenient’ foods. First, the best way to think is that fresh is best and smaller quantities more often help you to keep satisfied.
Great choices for maintaining a healthy diet are not limited. Below is a basic guideline to everyday foods that should be consumed:
Fruits and Vegetables
- 2-3 servings of fresh fruit daily
- 2-3 servings of fresh vegetables daily
- 100g serve of lean protein daily (2 eggs a day substitutes for 100g of protein)
- Examples include: Lean beef, lamb, fish, chicken, eggs, and beans
- 2-3 serves a day is recommended
- Examples include: 200g low-fat yoghurt, 25g cheddar cheese or 250ml low-fat milk
Fats and oils
- Three teaspoons per day
- Examples include liquid oils such canola, olive or sunflower, soft margarine, 60g avocado or 20g nuts.
Bread and Cereals
- High Fibre cereal/bread – 1 serve per day
- Examples include: 1 Weetbix + 0.5 cup of all bran or 40g of any high fibre cereal with one slice of wholegrain toast
- 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Two glasses (300ml) of wine per week (optional)
Step 4: Motivate
Usually, when you have deprived yourself of motivation for so long, it may be a little difficult to re-adjust. It is known that maintaining goals and self-discipline will help boost your enthusiasm. Learn to be your own best friend and focus on self-talk and self-image as that is the best form of motivation.
A great idea to motivate is to set goals or rewards for yourself, such as a small holiday, running a bath after a long day at the office, or even catching up with friends.
What I desire + Getting into it = Satisfaction from my efforts as I see my goals achieved!
This is an exciting time of change. Eliminate the fear of failure as well as unresolved emotional issues and you will quickly form a new way of life that will flourish with positivity, energy and happiness.