Healthy eating for good mental health – part 2 – diet
It can feel difficult to think about a healthy diet for good mental health if you are anxious or depressed. But that is a very strong reason to try it.
Are you ready for a healthy diet?
The first place to start is with your mindset. As a hypnotherapist I believe that ‘what the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve’. What this means to me is you’ve got to want to do it, believe you can do and set your mind to it!
What makes us want to do something? Motivation is a broad and complex subject! But if you can get motivated you can be unstoppable. Motivation comes from your ‘why’. So think of a time when you were really truly motivated.
Maybe you did something sporty, or saved up for something, or studied for something or drove 100 miles to get that christmas present that was out of stock that you knew your kid would love! When you have really committed yourself to something you would have been motivated to do it and your motivation comes from the ‘why’ behind it.
Have you ever thought of what a day in the life of your stomach is like?
Taking a different perspective can be very helpful for motivation. A different result from different thinking.
It can be easy be easy to overlook how hard your body works for you and how you could be kinder to it.
Let’s take a lighthearted look at what it is like to be a stomach for a day!
Starting the day
Ahhhhh that’s nice. That was a nice rest and I don’t mind running on empty when I sleep as it gives me a chance to replace enzymes and juices. I wonder what’s coming my way today?
Oh we’re on the move, I fancy something alkaline to start my day really. Maybe some lemon and water like some of my friends have, they say it really sets them up right for the day ahead. Oh here we go, we’re in the kitchen, whoa that’s hot I can feel the heat from the throat before it hits me! Slightly bitter, now let’s see what I can do with this brown liquid. It’s got some sort of drug in it! I’ll send a stimulus to the brain to wake up. Right that’s sorted but am I going to get any food to kick start Mr metabolism?
A high protein diet keeps me satisfied
I like a bit of everything really but I know how busy we are most days so some protein would be good to keep me satisfied. I am high maintenance! Oh we must be going somewhere because we are running a little bit. Maybe for a train? Hang on something is coming my way! I can hear it crunching. Here is comes mmmm…oats but they are very sugary and loaded with fat.
Why oh why didn’t we have the yummy oats without the sugar and fat. I bet those taste buds are gloating now because they got what they wanted but the rest of us are going to have to work so much harder. I’m going to rattle that pancreas’s cage and get him making more insulin.
Oh well, I’ll get that done and then I will have a rest. Hang about. I smell fruit. Fruit juice! Orange. Oh my, even more sugar….. followed by cup of tea. We are going to be awake for a while now!
I’m growling now because I haven’t had anything since that breakfast and that wasn’t enough to keep me going. I’m getting hangry. I’m going to make embarrassing noises until I am giving something to eat. Ah, it’s quiet, GROWL. GROWL.
Here we go. A sandwich. Coming at me fast! Ok I’ve got this. Let me deal with the gluten first, I know we’re going to have words me and that gluten. Some days are better than others.
Conversation between gluten and stomach:
Gluten – ‘ha I made it, irresistible me’
Stomach – ‘hello welcome. I hope your visit is a pleasant one’
Gluten – (puffing himself up) ‘well you will sure know I’ve arrived. I cause an explosive atmosphere’
Stomach – ‘we prefer a harmonious environment for the benefit of all’
Gluten – ‘well you know, some of us were born to stand out’
Stomach – ‘I give up’
I feel low and tired of these arguments, there’s only so much a stomach can do. Me and brain often talk about this. At least he appreiciates me. He knows that I am his number 2 and largley responsible for our health. Brain is my best friend.
I process the rest of the sandwich routinely. These shop made sandwichs don’t exactly go to town do they? I’d been surprised if there were more than 6 prawns but there was sure a lot of mayonnaise. I also spotted some funny looking chemicals but the sneaked past and I wasn’t at my most alert when they crept into the intestine.
Crisps follow at least they were those good ones made of real potato and no chemicals and then a choclate bar which practically came down in one lump! I caught it luckily but I heard old pancreas moaning as he had already sent some insulin to deal with the sandwich and didn’t realise he would need another batch so soon.
Drinks are good
My afternoon is spent with lots of drinks flowing both hot and cold. I enjoy drinks, it helps keep things moving in the intestines and generally everyone here in body receives drinks well. We are not so keen on the ones we have at night sometimes because mouth gets shouty sometimes and doesn’t talk to brain so what mouth says isn’t always on point. Also mouth and heart can get together and get a bit emotional.
In between the drinks in the afternoon I feel really lazy and tired so I sent a message to brain to get help. Brain is also tired and asks for a ‘pick me up’. What comes is biscuits! And lots of them! To be honest I am disappointed. I talk to my friends and some of them get apples with peanut butter which they say really satisfies their needs. Others have cottage cheese with surprises in, along with rice cakes to mix it up. Some have nuts which they say are a good all-rounder.
I deal with the biscuits and more backlash from pancreas and sit back to chew some thoughts over. I am after all, very clever but today, I feel unappreiciated.
The evening starts well, salad! MMMM lettuce with it’s vitamins, beetroot to nourish the blood, onion, cucumber, tomato, carrot. Yummy yummingtons. We are happy, we are light, it’s like a party in the body right now. The scene is really set for some protein and good carbohydrate to come and join the party. Here comes dinner…. Pizza. Oh.
No, not a cauliflower pizza but a stuffed crust! How am I supposed to deal with all that cheese in one go? This is so greasy it slips around for a while before I can even deal with it! I try chucking some gastric juice on it but it’s a tough cookie.
Eventually I start to eat away at it and send it on its way. I am worried that a lot of fat has still passed though and thighs ain’t gonna be happy. And yes the perfect finish to my day. More gluten. Gloaty gluten. Beating his chest like a gorilla because he knows today he can really make his presence known.
I do all the digestive work, oh, I forgot to mention the strawberry cheesecake that hit us soon after the pizza. I had a bit of a panic as I didn’t think there would be room. But I can work fast under pressure in crowded conditions luckily, but it probably ages me more than it needs to.
And so to bed full of gluten
I’m relieved when it’s bed time although I’m gonna find it hard to get to sleep and rest with all this hot air that gloaty gluten has left behind. He certainly likes to make his mark.
I sleep and dream of vegetables of all colours shapes and sizes but my favourites are the green ones. I dream of probiotic drinks and good fats because I know they would keep me and my besty brain really happy (not to mention joints). I hope that I have some complex carbohydrates tomorrow as I know we are doing some exercise and could do with an energy boost!
Good night brain. Let’s talk tomorrow about how we can come up with a healthy eating masterplan.
Do you know what you are eating in your diet?
Can you guess this product from it’s ingredients?
91% some sort of vegetable, sugar, rapeseed oil, modified maize starch, dried skimmed milk, 0.1% double cream, paprika, acidity regulator, citric acid, rice flour, sunflower oil, basil extract, clove extract, capsicum extract, cinnamon extract, flavouring, garlic oil.
What do you think it is?
That my friends, is crusha milkshake powder!
Are you over eating?
Are there things in your kitchen that seem to call to you? And it feels like an itch you need to scratch? And before you know it you’ve eaten one or two and then the whole pack! and then you feel bad. And kick yourself because afterwards you know you didn’t need to eat like that? You are not alone! This is a common problem.
Another problem for people is portion size. when you go out to dinner you might order the biggest thing. And sides! Or maybe you load your plate high and no size meal or snack is a problem at all and you wonder if you have an extra large stomach or something! Or do you eat a lot and know you are full but still keep going. Dinner, pudding, snack, snack, drink, snack, snack and you don’t seem to have a stop button!
These are common problems for a lot of people that I see in my hypnotherapy practice. People worry that they are out of control and worried they will just keep putting on more weight and seriously affect their health. Sometimes they feel ‘addicted’ to food.
So what can you do to get control of your eating?
Mostly, as with most things it’s a mind game. Your brain for some reason doesn’t feel satisfied. More complex issues aside, there are practical things that you can do to help yourself…
Often when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water, wait 5 minutes and then see how you feel. By the way, this also works with cigarette cravings if you are trying to stop smoking!
Move your body
Sometimes eating is associated with boredom. Boredom is a state of mind. Get up, run up and down the stairs, dance to a tune, walk round the block, bounce on the kids trampoline. You can change your state in seconds and it might just work.
Change your mind
You might be thinking of a particular thing that you want to eat. You might be someone who thinks of the thing, goes to get the thing. Gets the thing. Eats the thing. And then feels bad. This is the mind obsessing to some degree. You need to literally change your mind.
So maybe start by doing things a bit differently. Take a different route to work/school, change things around in your home etc. You send messages to your mind that things are changing and it creates new thought paths. Start to change your mind and you can change your life.
Take it one step at a time
You could try a healthy diet for 2 weeks. By then you would be feeling better in yourself and can decide if you want to continue.
You can actually achieve a lot in 2 weeks.
- Train for a 5k
- Learn a language on an intensive course
- Travel route 66 in USA with nice stops offs
- Significantly change your diet
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