Your food and lifestyle become your mood and motivation
Feeling moody? Brain Foggy? Lacking energy? Feeling unmotivated? You might just be suffering a symptom of a nutrient deficiency. This is your body’s cue for telling you to step it up! But how do we manage this in our fast paced life? Simple, take the time to be kind to yourself…
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear” – Buddha
So what does this mean ‘being kind to yourself’, it means taking the time to look after your health and well-being. Our frantic lives are filled with endless lists of ‘to dos’ and we’re drowning in an overflow of commitments and engagements, from our daily work, family life, and social gatherings, that engulf our lives today. It is no wonder that we feel physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. So how can we find more time when we already have so little?
Here’s 3 simple changes you can make to start today…
1. Simplify your lifestyle
Identify what really makes your happy, then feed your focus and starve your distractions – you’ll be amazed how much time you free up. Prioritise what really needs to be done each week, then calculate how long everything will take, and allocate a task to a specific day and time, now review it daily and be prepared to juggle things around should something else crop up, and above all be realistic!
2. Just say no
Remember you don’t need to say ‘yes’ to everything, select what you feel you need or want to do and commit to those things only. This is especially important during stressful times, where it is best to focus on one task at a time before embarking on the next, it will help you to reduce anxiety, and as you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment from finishing a task, which will motivate you to start the next task.
3. Everyday me time
Most importantly, don’t forget that you need to slot in time to be kind to yourself by relaxing daily, whether this is catching up with friends over coffee, going to a pilates class, reading your favourite book, or having a soak in a hot bath, whatever makes you feel more relaxed, happier, less anxious and enables you to get a better nights’ sleep, making relaxing part of your daily routine is key to good health and well-being.
OK, so now what? You’re doing all that but still feel physically, mentally or emotionally stressed out? Perhaps you lack focus due to brain fog, or your energy levels are low leaving you feeling unmotivated and too tired to complete your tasks. Net result you end up feeling more stressed out! Then perhaps, it is your diet that is lacking focus, happy energy and balance.
Too much of a bad thing?
Most of us consume caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt and unsaturated fat daily, but don’t make it your 5 a day, here’s why…
Energy slump in the morning, it will get you going. Afternoon energy dip, it’ll pick you up! Work deadline, it’ll help you to focus. Welcome to the caffeine trap.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with a little amount of caffeine too much is definitely a bad thing, here’s why…
- Caffeine increases the release of neurotransmitters, the gut communication chatting to our brain, raising serotonin levels that influences our mood, and adrenalin too from dopamine which affects our motivation
- It also blunts the mind and worsens our mental performance
- Creates higher levels of anxiety and depression
- Increases stress related hormones
- The more you consume the more the body and brain become insensitive to its own natural stimulants, yes those little signals from your gut again, leaving you needing more stimulants to feel normal- the trap!
Net result: adrenal exhaustion – the chemicals of motivation and communication are lost.
A little daily help to ‘take the edge off’ can quickly become a bad habit that is one that is hard to break, and will leave you feeling less confident, less energised and less motivated the next day – a downward spiral to health and well-being. Whilst the occasional glass of wine with a meal may help you to feel more relaxed, and yes evidence suggests it can even help improve blood cholesterol and insulin sensitivity, but before your say cheers…
- It won’t help you get a better nights’ sleep, as too much will actually stop you going into REM deep sleep
- You’ll wake up more knackered in the morning as it prevents efficient glycogen storage
- Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy
- Alcohol contain 7 calories/gram – almost as much as fat!
- Long-term consumption mucks around with the body’s nutritional balance as it interferes with the way the body uses and stores nutrients from food. At too much is definitely a bad thing as it may lead to liver and heart damage, brain shrinkage, diabetes, gastric ulcers, impaired immunity and a higher risk of certain cancers – not nice.
If nibbling away at biscuits is your idea of giving yourself a break, a nice little treat, then who are you rewarding, it is most certainly not your body, and neither is it your mind.
Blood sugars have a profound effect on your mood, mental state and digestion. Sending them on a roller-coaster ride will send your moods there too. Any imbalance to the glucose supply to the brain, we can experience…
- Poor concentration
- Excessive thirst
- Blurred vision
- Excessive sweating
- Depression and
- Digestive disturbances
Take it Away
Perhaps you’ve had a busy day at the office and need to unwind, relax and give yourself a break from the chores of cooking. A take-away, simple just grab it and go, heat it and eat it – job done! Is that really the way to treat your body after a long stressful day?
Ready meals and takeaways have become the solution to meet the demands of our fast paced lives. Packed with sugar and salt they are double trouble, and often packed with hydrogenated fats to top that, and they lack the nutrients that our body needs to keep our immune system strong.
So try to resist those shop bought biscuits, cakes and pastries as often as you can, as they also often contain hydrogenated fats, which also may lead to inflammation of the body tissues, top this with other inflammatory markers and it may just lead you down a path to chronic inflammation of the nervous system and may increase your anxiety. Remember everything is fine in moderation, just don’t make this your daily routine, or the symptoms maybe too.
A bit more if your still not convinced…
- If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. More salt = higher blood pressure equates to strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain.
- If you eat too much sugar, you’ll have plenty of calories but no essential nutrients, and it may suppress your hunger to eat the foods your body needs. Your gut loves sugar and your bad bacteria in our gut will feed off it, and outgrow the good bacteria. What’s more, refined sugar stimulates the growth of Candida, a bad bacteria that eats away at your gut lining – hello leaky gut!
- If you eat too much trans fat, such as shop bought biscuits and cakes that are often made with partially hydrogenated oil you’ll raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol (HDL), which increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, plus it’s been associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So stay away from processed foods and take-aways if you know what’s good for you.
3 simple steps to start improving your energy levels and mood today!
- Beat the Clock – Meal timing is essential if you want to lose weight and manage your blood sugars. Your three, main meals should be balanced and spaced no more than 5 hours apart, to prevent your energy dropping too low making you crabby and fuzzy brained and craving sugary snacks.
- Move it! Exercise in the fresh air everyday, even if only a short walk to work. It will keep your metabolism going and you’ll feel happier too.
- Swap it – try booze free alternatives, decaffeinated teas, and replace refined sugary foods with healthy snacks.
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Looking to have a more in-depth conversation about how to improve your mood through nutrition and lifestyle change? I’d love to help support you along the way. Book a consultation with me
Race you to happiness!