Food Choices affecting Mental health
Food is good for the soul, right? Well, it is! As long as we are aware of what we are putting into our bodies, by trying to limit our junk food intake. The reason for that my friends is because “it is well known that unhealthy eating patterns can cause mood swings (Mentalhealthfirstaid.org, 2018).” In addition, research has shown that “food can contribute to the development, prevention and management of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders (Mentalhealthfirstaid.org, 2018).”
As previously mentioned, I had gained 40 pounds in the last 2 years when studying for my bachelor’s degree. I have been working my weight off, but it has not been easy. I do love my lonjitas and embracing body positivity, because I would not be who I am without them. However, I am also aware that it is important to make healthier food choices, when needed.
I can honestly say my friends, September 2017 - December 2018 was such a crucial point in my life, in regards to my mental health and it reaching its lowest point. This exact time frame, was my senior year of undergrad. As previously mentioned in #lonjasdesuccess , I was focused on my studies and extracurriculars. My core objective was to graduate and be ready for life after college, just like any other scholar would want.
Now, you would think that the stress from my workaholic tendencies, would be the cause of the negative effects towards my mental health. However, that was far from the case, it was my school schedule that helped me stay grounded. It was able to keep my mind occupied in an efficient manner from the actual stressors that were causing my negative emotions. I had been experiencing what is identified as depression, anxiousness, and suicidal thoughts.
I had called the suicide hotline a few times and I attended counseling sessions. Although, I was reaching out for resources to help me overcome my mental health battles, I always found myself coping with food…. At the time, food was what I really felt would be able to comfort me internally.
I would start my day around 6:30 AM, I’d buy my coffee which I loaded with sugar. Then I’d go to class, which I loved so much because school had always been my escape route. Afterwards, I’d have lunch and I would purchase either one or two caffeinated/sugary beverages, and a medium size portion of chinese food, sandwiches etc. Lastly, I would end up falling asleep around 1am and most of the time it wasn’t because I was studying. But because at night, my mind would be occupied with negative thoughts.
My friends, because I was already trying to overcome my internal battle with myself, I also experienced that my excessive junk food intake was affecting my healing process. I remember looking back at all the internal and external mood swings I’d be experiencing and the sluggish representation I was delivering.
Now, I chose to talk about this topic and how I personally experienced my mental health being affected by my food choices, because I know “comfort food” is something many of us can lean towards. When we as people, are going through a tough time it is important that we do whatever we can to keep our minds at a healthy place. In addition, it is crucial that we try and search for other coping mechanisms, that will assist with our mental healing process. Examples include, spending time with family and friends, going on walks, writing and so much more. Don’t get me wrong my friends, I love takis, pizza, wings, tacos just as much as the next person. But now I am also consciously aware that those delicious dishes should not be used as a coping mechanism, instead as a dish to enjoy from time to time. Just not so excessively.
We only have one body and one mind my friends, and we have to do whatever we can to care for it. And when we put so much junk into our bodies, than our bodies and minds can react negatively to it.
Thank you my friends for your time, I will see you all in my next blog! <3