Having worked with a wide range of clients, anxiety had come up at many consultations when we were discussing stress levels. Emotional and physical stress, anxiety or panic attacks can all contribute to elevated stress levels and disrupt sleep length and quality. Now when you have a body composition goal in mind, all these can jeopardise your success. But have you ever thought about how your diet could make your anxiety worse?
UK statistics show that there are some 3 million people in the UK who live with a form of anxiety disorder. Most people I know will know someone who has experienced some form of anxiety in their lives at some point. When it comes to your health and fitness, your general state of mind cannot be ignored.
People often think that by losing weight they may be able to tackle their self-confidence issues which then in return will help reduce anxiety levels. While this may be true for some, others can become even more anxious trying to meet a trainer’s expectations, keeping to a restricted diet and working out every day.
They say you are what you eat and if you’d like to achieve your fitness goals you should eat better, healthier, cleaner. But could it be that your “healthy” diet is making you more anxious? Here is why that may be the reality for you and how to fix it.
While some people seem to have it all figured out and can become highly organised overnight to meet their nutrition goals, you may feel like a failure because you are not able to spend half of Sunday in the kitchen prepping your meals for the upcoming week.
Remember, there are more than one way to skin a cat. What works for your friend, may not work for you due to different lifestyles, schedules or even skill set. Try to find a solution that can fit in with your lifestyle, rather than trying to force yourself to follow one that feels ike a chore.
#2. Information Overload
Karen said she’s been doing that low-calorie diet and lost lots of weight. Jack called and explained how intermittent fasting was the best thing that ever happened to him and that you should try it too. Then you read on the internet about how a plant-based diet was so much healthier than eating meat.
No wonder you may experience what we call “analysis paralysis” and end up worrying too much while trying to figure out who to believe. In the meantime you probably are doing nothing while gaining more weight.
I say all diets have pros and cons, some fads I would not recommend at all. Just pick a method that is easy enough to follow, keep at it for 3-4 weeks and see if it works. Ultimately your body will tell you if you are on the right track.
#3. Nutrient Quality
When you look up diet in relation to anxiety, you will find a boast of articles from a variety of sources talking about foods that can trigger anxiety or make a current one worse. It seems, that the mental health department also thinks that your food choices can affect your mental health, however there isn’t one clear list of ingredients or foods you should avoid.
Every body is different and what can make me anxious may not do anything for you and vice versa.
Common view seems to be that any or a combination of the following foods could be causing anxiety in those more susceptible: caffeine, fried foods, alcohol, dairy, refined sugars, fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, yoghurt and so on.
On the other hand, consuming more fruit and vegetables, foods rich in magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids won’t cure your anxiety, but may help you manage it better.
Most people experience certain level of anxiety in their life at some point or a few times. If you tend to worry about the little things, take baby steps when enrolling onto a fitness journey to make sure your achievements will help you become more balanced than more stressed. If you have any questions on how to figure out what triggers your stress levels, feel free to get in touch!
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My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.