Last week I recorded a podcast episode that got a lot of feedback, questions and requests for more information. It was very timely, as I’ve been thinking so much about mental health, depression and the links between nutrition and mental/emotional health.
A few days later in a podcast about the links between wheat, corn, sugar and hyperactivity and cognitive challenges in children, I talked about how unfortunate it is that we often view quality nutrition as a weight loss pursuit instead of a health pursuit.
When we consistently make quality food choices it is often because we have a particular fat loss goal. Food is so much more than that. It’s so much more important than that. Quality food is an absolute pre-requisite for a quality life.
It’s the cornerstone of health. You can’t routinely consume low quality food and expect your body to function at it’s highest level. Most of us are just used to functioning at a seriously subpar level. We aren’t even close to our health potential. We aren’t scratching the surface of our energy potential, our mental health potential, cognitive potential, physique potential and more. Not even close.
Eating well isn’t a sacrifice. Skipping the sugar and processed crap isn’t a sacrifice. It’s the key to your very best life.
I called one of my newer clients for our weekly call the other night and asked, “how are you?” as we started our chat. She sounded like she was glowing as she said, “I’m awesome. I’m incredible!” I laughed and said, “Yeah? Tell me why! Share some of that with me!” I thought maybe she had won the lottery she was so exuberant.
She said, “I have more energy than I’ve had in years. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel like my pants might cut off my circulation. My mood is so stable. I feel awesome!”
She was resistant to cut back on sugar. It was hard. It was a change for her. And yeah, her body responded to the change. But it was so much more than that. She was energized, focused and positive.
This is not unique. I have experienced it myself and I have seen almost all of my clients experience the same thing.
Improving your food choices, focusing on quality, whole foods and dialing back the sugar and processed stuff is about far, far more than weight loss.
If more people prioritized the quality of the food they put in their body, if more people committed to reducing sugar and processed foods, I believe we would have dramatically less depression, drug abuse and other mental health challenges.
Is nutrition the only factor? Of course not. Is it a major one? Without a doubt.
Sugar causes inflammation. This inflammation is not just a problem for your joints and your circulatory system. This inflammation absolutely impacts your brain. This is a dose-dependent relationship. The more sugar, the more inflammation. Kinda goes without saying, but inflammation in your brain is not a good thing.
Many mental health professional are treating depression with prescription drugs that lower blood sugar. Yup, the same drugs given to diabetics are often being prescribed to individuals with depression. Why? Because that’s just how important it is to control blood sugar if you’re seeking mood stability and an anti-depressant effect! Hello! That’s major!
Just thinking about it from a common sense perspective, the more peaks and valleys you have in your blood sugar, the more peaks and valleys you have in your mood. You’ll experience far more highs and lows when your blood sugar is not stable.
Here’s the deal: you don’t need to go cold turkey on sugar. In fact, I don’t recommend that. We don’t have to be perfect to make progress. Not even close! But can you make one or two degrees of improvement this week to slightly decrease your sugar intake? I know you can. It’s not about fat loss. It’s about living your very best life. You’ve got this.
I’ll wrap up this way – it is NOT easy to change your eating habits. It’s not always easy to cut back on sugar. And you don’t need to avoid it completely, in most cases! I’ve put together a comprehensive free cheat sheet on carb strategies for fat loss and I think it would be REALLY helpful for anyone looking to dial back on sugar. Just get on the free VIP email list and you’ll immediately get your cheat sheet!