Nutrition and Mental Health

Eating healthily and exercising regularly are the first steps to taking care of your body and mind.

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Eating a healthy diet helps with brain functioning and can even help to improve depression and anxiety. For more information on an antidepressant diet and a healthy diet for the brain click here.

What else should I do?

Exercise alone will not change your weight or body composition drastically. The best is to combine exercise with sensible eating when trying to achieve a healthy weight.

Here are a few strategies that you can use:

  • Aim for minimally processed foods
  • Try for fewer refined starches and sugars
  • Eat protein with each meal or snack
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more good foods like nuts, eggs, avocado and fish
  • Be fully present when you exercise and eat. Do not be distracted by anything while you are doing these activities. Distracted eating makes you want to eat more, and distracted exercise leaves you feeling like you haven’t worked hard enough
  • Slow down when you’re eating and process what you are eating. This “Mindful Eating” app (Eat Right Now) helps you to enjoy food and feel full more often to reduce craving: click here.
  • Stop eating when you are full, trust your body to know how much food it needs

Grocery shopping

Make a list of the things you want to buy and stick to the list. When you go shopping only buy the items on the list. Your list should include healthy foods, such as proteins, vegetables, healthy fats (like avocado), etc. If you want a treat, write down a healthy alternative, such as Halo Top Ice Cream, a brand that makes ice cream with less sugar and calories.

Beware of supermarket promotions. The supermarkets are designed to get you to shop for food and spend as much as possible.

Click here for a mental health grocery list.

Patience and consistency are key

The difference between who you are, and who you want to be, is what you do today.

Be consistent and stay consistent, you need to find your motivation. What is your reason for trying to be healthy? This “why” should be meaningful to you, inspiring you to stay on course when the daily reward seems low.

Keep in mind, you cannot change everything overnight. Starting on a diet and expecting everything to fall in place from that moment is not going to work.

If it took 20 years to put on weight don’t expect to lose it in 20 days. You may see this on TV all the time, but in reality it doesn’t work. Quick weight loss products are never backed by science, these companies are trying to convince you to buy into their scam. Take a slow approach, change your lifestyle, and see how things develop over time.

Track your food intake and weigh yourself daily. Use your daily weights to calculate a weekly average, which should guide your decision making regarding healthy eating.

Huberman Podcast: Nutrition and Mental Health

Dr Huberman talks to Dr. Chris Palmer on nutrition and mental health. Dr Palmer is a psychiatrist and gives an account of his own struggles with nutrition and mental well-being. Extensive coverage of a low carb dietary approach. Click here.

Doing it with an App

Diet Doctor is an excellent app that helps you stay on track with a customised approach based on information you provide. You can choose between different dietary approaches such as high satiety eating, low carb, keto, intermittent fasting or high protein. You provide information on goals, activity levels, attitudes towards eating, and so much more! The app then provides an easy to use holistic and complete approach to healthy eating for your goals.

My Fitness Pal is good for tracking food intake and balancing it with energy consumption through activities.

Carbon is a smart, adaptable diet coaching app that will help you achieve long lasting results.

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a way to attain a healthy weight by becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods. This creates a healthy relationship with food that is based on what your body feels it needs to function, both physically and emotionally. You can still eat “feel good foods,” so long as you remember your veges.

Ten Percent Happier Podcast #220: The Anti-Diet | Evelyn Tribole

A brilliant and informative podcast that serves as an introduction to eating intuitively. If you are unsure how to achieve a healthy weight, have questions about intuitive eating and want a healthy relationship with food: this podcast is for you.

Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues

Support for Eating Disorders and Body Image issues: Butterfly.org.au