Hi everyone- I am so glad Friday is here! I enjoyed the Wednesday night run (with my brother in tow too) although I found it really hard- I suppose the very late night on Tuesday combined with running Saturday, Sunday and Monday did not help. At least it wasn’t raining, and we tackled “the hill” route which is nearly 4 miles long- I still managed it in sub 10 min miles, I think I need to learn that that can be my normal speed. Last night we went into London again, this time to see Louis CK in Hammersmith. It was a funny show, and thankfully did not finish too late as there was a second show later on in the evening. Two nights out in one week = a very tired Friday though!
Today I have a guest post all about the links with anxiety and food- I found it really interesting, let me know what you think:
Food For Thought – Controlling Anxiety with Diet and Hypnotherapy
You are what you eat, a cliché pedalled out by every nutritionist in the media maybe, but true nonetheless. Our mind and bodies interact and the importance food and drink consumption has on our mood and general well being can’t be underestimated. When they are extremely anxious or worried about something it is common for some people to lose their appetite and survive on a diet of coffee and chocolate bars, whereas others turn to food for comfort, overeating and craving junk food to medicate their feelings. The mental health charity MIND carried out a study on food and mood and found that food can have mental as well as physical effects. This is a very simplified version but food can basically be divided into two groups: those that affect anxiety and those that support recovery. According to MIND foods that can aggravate symptoms of anxiety include wheat, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and dairy products. Foods that can have a positive effect on mood include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, omega 3 rich oily fish, protein and very importantly adequate intake of water.
The way food affects mood could be due to an individual’s sensitivity to the ingredients or certain foods could cause allergies that manifest as mood depression rather than physical symptoms such as skin rashes. It may be worth keeping a food diary to see if what you are eating is contributing to the way you are feeling. If you discover a particular food is clearly having a negative effect-it may be time to make a change. Even whilst receiving other treatment for your anxiety, diet plays an important role in the recovery process.
An example day’s diet that supports recovery would look something like this:
Breakfast: Porridge with berries
Lunch: Hummus with vegetable crudités and pitta bread
Dinner: Salad Nicoise
Snacks: Fresh fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, oatcakes
There is evidence to suggest that ditching the junk can help you manage your symptoms; researchers in London found that eating a diet of processed and fatty foods increases the risk of depression and the associated anxiety. They reported that those who ate processed meat etc. had a 58% higher rate of suffering than those who ate whole foods. It can be hard to make time for regular meals during times of stress but something as simple as following the recommended ‘5 A Day’ and drinking more water could help you because not only will you increase your consumption of essential vitamins and nutrients and avoid anxiety aggravating dehydration, but if you are eating your 5 a day and drinking 2 litres of water you simply won’t have the room to consume as much junk!
Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? The problem however is that the low mood of anxiety sufferers can prevent them thinking they are worth it, or they may simply not have the motivation and energy to shop and cook for themselves so they become trapped in a cycle of feeling low, eating unhealthily, feeling worse. The cycle of bingeing on unhealthy food and then quickly feeling hungry again only serves to add to feelings of low self esteem and low mood often felt by anxiety sufferers. Controlling anxiety symptoms with a healthy diet is only one step on the journey to recovery. It can possibly prevent some anxiety symptoms worsening but without dealing with the underlying problems, that is the actual cause of the anxiety, the cycle is unlikely to be broken.
Advice from the NHS suggests that if you are suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) your anxiety can intensify when you do not know what the triggers are because it leads you to worry that there will be no solution. Identifying the source of your anxiety is the key to recovery. You don’t have to go it alone however, there are many treatments available for anxiety and one clinically proven treatment for those seeking alternatives to drugs or psychotherapy is hypnotherapy. It can help you build more useful responses to life’s stresses that don’t involve reaching for the stimulants or junk food. Anxiety could even manifest itself as an eating phobia, in which case professional help will be most certainly be needed. At the therapy lounge hypnotherapy is one of several treatments successfully used to teach people how to change negative and undermining thinking and make choices that boost a healthy lifestyle. Hypnosis empowers people to let go of past habits and deal with the subconscious issues at the root of their problem. When you recognise and address the triggers of your anxiety head on you can stop it in its tracks and as a result stop punishing your body and mind even further with an inadequate diet. You can find out more about the role hypnotherapy can play in helping you beat anxiety and live a happier, healthier life at http://www.thetherapylounge.com/hypnotherapy/overcoming-anxiety.
What do you think about the links between diet and stress? I agree that you can easily get into a sort of downward spiral with unhealthier foods- and when you eat healthily you feel loads better, but then sometimes when you are stressed it is much easier to eat a biscuit than to chop up some fruit or something.
Tomorrow I might go to the parkrun again, depending on the weather as it seems a lot of snow might fall, but if not I have plenty of work to keep me busy!
Any exciting weekend plans?