I don’t talk a lot about food on this platform because that’s not really in my wheelhouse. There are tons of good nutrition resources out there and everyone is very different when it comes to what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, lifestyle, etc. I feel as though the things discussed on this platform, like mindsets for optimal health, are more universal. That being said, I would like to share my personal experience with food and how it pertains to mental well-being.
Quite simply, in my experience, the better we eat, the better we feel. Shocker, I know. Even though nutrition can be a little tricky, I still feel as though there are general guidelines that would suit most people and help them feel better both physically and psychologically. The acronym that helps me keep a clean diet is “PAW”, which stands for plants, animals and water.
I try to eat organic fruits, vegetables, lean meats or fish at every meal. Now the timing, types and quantities all vary based upon my activity levels that day (I may eat more fruit on a workout day, for example). I usually eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, and I feel great. I don’t really track my food choices or count calories, but I have in the past. Especially when trying to lose weight/fat or look a little leaner for a wedding or vacation, tracking is always a good idea!
Eat to Fuel, Not Till Full
I try to eat those kinds of foods until I’m satisfied (not full), and just track my physique in the mirror. Sometimes I won’t eat until 11/12 to try to reap some of the benefits of intermittent fasting. But again, that varys, especially if I workout first thing in the morning. And I drink plain old water throughout the day to stay hydrated. And a lot of it.
The “PAW” eating gives me energy, keeps me lean and helps me feel good, both physically and psychologically. When I binge or splurge on junk food, or a lot of refined carbs, or drink too much alcohol, not only does my body hurt, but my mind hurts even more. “Why did I just do that? I hate this feeling! I don’t feel like getting off the couch.” Junky food zaps my energy, my motivation, and makes me feel sad and depressed. It negatively affects bodily chemistry, which negatively affects my mood!
So remember that diet plays an important role in improving mental well-being. That, along with other physical activities like sleep and exercise, are extremely important. They develop and help maintain a strong mindset and healthy brain for optimal mental well-being. When working on physical and mental fitness, remember that food is also an important aspect that can positively or negatively impact the way we think, feel and behave.
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