We can get a lot of pleasure out of the food we eat.
Baking cookies with family during the Christmas season, celebrating a special milestone at your favourite restaurant, and receiving chocolate on Valentine’s Day can all boost your mood. Unfortunately, food can cause a lot of stress too.
Don’t let food ruin your life! Here are the ways food could be making you miserable, and you might not even know it.
1. You could have a food intolerance
Even if you never had any problems with food when you were younger, things can change as you enter the fourth and fifth decades of your life. You can develop allergies and food intolerances at any point during your lifetime, and continuing to eat that food can make you feel sluggish and unwell.
Taking a food intolerance test can be very helpful, but you also have to take a close look at the list of ingredients on everything you eat if you know certain kinds of foods don’t agree with you. For example, you may be interested in keeping a healthy bacterial balance in your gut by using probiotics, but if you have a dairy sensitivity, you could actually be causing more problems than you’re solving.
2. Your diet is heavy in food that puts you in a bad mood
What kinds of foods come to mind when you think about boosting your mood quickly? Unfortunately, many of those foods are also foods that can put you in a bad mood in the long run.
Not only is there a relationship between the food you eat and your physical health, there’s also a connection with your emotional health. Some foods, when eaten in excess, that can influence your brain chemistry in a bad way include:
- Cocktail mixers
- Cold cuts
- Salted peanuts
- Baked goods
- French fries
- Dried fruit
- Potato chips
If you’re experiencing a dip in your mood, instead of going to the vending machine and getting a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar, choose a whole, less processed snack, like an apple or a boiled egg. It’s true that it might not give you that quick energy boost, but your mood will be better off in the long run.
3. You have a restriction mindset
You are no stranger to a restrictive mindset if you have spent most of your adult life dieting. Many of us spend years, or even decades, telling ourselves that we should only eat one piece of bread and we should skip dessert after dinner. This makes life miserable, not only because you feel like you’re depriving yourself all the time, but also because a restrictive diet actually leads to binging. Then, not only are you miserable while you’re restricting, but you’re miserable because, at the end of it all, you end up overeating!
Allow yourself to have an extra piece of bread or a cookie. You’re actually likely to find that you want to eat a lot less when you know you can eat what you want, when you want.
4. You have too many food rules
There is an unbelievable list of food rules out there. How many of them do you follow?
Maybe you don’t allow yourself to have dessert before dinner? Are you limiting carbs, sugar, or fat? Maybe you’re only allowing yourself to eat during a few hours a day? A few rules can be beneficial, but if you have too many rules, you’re likely making yourself miserable. Be willing to bend or break the rules and you’ll be happier for it.
5. You allow food to influence other daily decisions
Following a diet or having so many restrictive food rules can actually influence your friendships. You may avoid social gatherings that centre around food because you don’t want to tempt yourself, or you might go home early from a party because you have already had the one drink you’ve allotted for yourself for the day.
Don’t let food influence other areas of your life. Go out to eat, grab a drink with friends, and socialize with coworkers. Maintaining your social connections is much more important than worrying about what you’re eating.
Just because you think you eat a healthy diet doesn’t mean you’re as healthy as you think you are. Your diet can influence your mental health too.