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Food’s Important Role in the Struggle with Anxiety and Depression

It seems like food has always had a negative effect on my body. From a young age I remember telling my parents that hot dogs gave me headaches.  My family chalked it up to me being dramatic. That is until one year I came across a study on nitrates and found out I wasn’t crazy!  After reading that article I tried to be conscious of how I felt when I ate but often didn’t care. I continued eating what I wanted and paid the penalty… that is until recently. 

Anxiety and DepressionMy whole life I have struggled with having control over my emotions. Most people would call me a drama queen and I lived my childhood accepting that nickname. I didn’t understand fully that my mental health was in need of some attention until I was pregnant with my daughter. Being pregnant changed my life in so many ways, and one of those being I suffered from crippling anxiety. The fear that gripped me through out my pregnancy was unbearable; I often thought I was going crazy! Fast forward to the present. My daughter is now 16 months old and just in the last month I finally understand how big of a mistake I had been making for all these years.

Last month I joined Fit4Moms Body Back. It’s an intense 8-week boot camp (and a major butt-kicker!). I joined because wanted to change my lifestyle, workout regularly and eat better. After about two weeks of very little sugar, cutting out processed foods and ditching anything I couldn’t understand on a label I started noticing a change in my mental health. I started noticing that I was happier, less anxious and having less “foggy moments,” as I like to call them.

I started researching how food effects us and the results were shocking. The risk of depression increases 80% when we follow the western diet! Isn’t that insane? Not to mention around 17 million kids in the U.S. alone already struggle with depression by the age of 14. There have been so many studies showing that depression is often linked to the intake of sugar and processed food. And these are only the effects food has on mental health. Don’t even get me started on how it effects our bodies! This was my mistake: allowing food to call the shots in my life, not even allowing myself a chance to fight my depression and anxiety. But with this simple change, I suddenly felt free. 

I am by no means a doctor and I didn’t wake up and suddenly say, “Bam, I am not depressed!” My story isn’t complete and there are still many challenges to face. But this small change in consciousness made the big things easier to over come. Maybe you are perfectly happy with your life and aren’t looking for a change or a challenge. But if you know there is something missing and want to be healthier (and show anxiety and depression who’s boss!) this is a really great way to get a running start.

In what ways has food affected your life and what are you going to do to overcome it? Let me know in the comments below! 

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