Are Your Feelings on a Fad Diet?
We’ve All Heard The Expression “You Are What You Eat.” The Same Applies to Our Emotional Nutrition.
Remember the food pyramid from grade school? The one that showed the healthy amounts of different foods to eat to have a balanced, nutrient-rich diet? To be physically healthy, our diets should be heavy on fresh produce and other healthy, satisfying foods and low on processed fare dairy, sweets, caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Oh, and we should exercise, too.
When we over indulge, or head into the New Year, we might be tempted to follow the latest fad diet, you know the ones that distracts you from sensible eating habits through exciting-sounding crazes. Unfortunately, they are all about rapid short-term change and require some sort of magical thinking.
It’s pretty easy to be distracted by dieting in our culture. Is that why we think of our emotional diets way less often?
Here’s some food for thought…How do we exercise good decisions for our emotional health and nourishment?
Are your feelings on a fad diet?
Do any of these fads sound familiar?
The Emotional Crash Diet*
The emotional crash diet consists of limiting our intake of positive interactions, healthy relationships, and empowering behaviors. This is generally due to the magical thinking that we aren’t worthy of being fulfilled, fully loved, appreciated, or listened to. As a result, we restrict or consume positive emotions in too small amounts to nourish our self-esteem.
*Other versions of the Emotional Fasting Diet appear when we want to “fit” into the idea others have of us, even if it means we are starving ourselves.
The Emotional Fast-Food Diet
This happens when we go after empty calories or unhealthy options because they are convenient and instantly gratifying, even though we know they are bad for us and we will suffer in some way later. We look for a temporary “fix” versus sustainable results because we may not be ready to deal with the emotional health consequences from the quick fix.
The Emotional Liquid Diet
This can refer to consuming too few nutrients; or self-medicating with too many adult beverages, work, shopping or binging on too much bad TV. This conditional reaction to being stressed, depressed, or under pressure, may result in literally drowning our emotions, becoming numb, and shutting down.
You are likely seeing the picture now. Your emotional needs and hungers motivate your decisions and actions. Each of these fad diets result from being emotionally hungry and disconnected.
The long-term effects of unhealthy eating, may increase a person’s risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart-related conditions, as well as weak bones, malnutrition and high blood sugar levels, auto-immune deficiencies and the list goes on.
It’s no different for our emotional and spiritual health.
Any healthy food diet involves restrictions, yes; but going without, or living with cravings is another thing. You shouldn’t feel hungry or deprived.
When you are emotionally empty, you can’t effectively deal with limiting beliefs, fears, grief, guilt, anxiety, depression, or feelings of being dissatisfied, or out of control. These are all symptoms of being emotionally hungry. And these emotional states can also make us physically sick.
Is There A Fitbit For Our Feelings?
How do we feed our emotional lives, and return to feeling balanced?
Start small. Go buffet style. See what you have a taste for, and introduce healthy emotional nutrition into your life in small portions so you don’t get overwhelmed, and you’re more likely to stick with it.
Learn to live with and gauge your emotional hunger. If you need a meal versus a snack, eat accordingly.
Give yourself time. It takes a while to see the results of those gym visits, and it’s going to be the same thing with emotional strength. So hang in there. You have health, balance, calm, and joy to look forward to.
Along your journey don’t forget to:
- Include regular check-ups—even just picking up the phone to vent to a friend or get professional help if you need it
- Get plenty of exercise—meditation, affirmations and visualizations are part of a healthy emotional lifestyle
- Surround yourselves with healthy people—use a buddy system for emotional support, just like you do to make sure you get to the gym
Your emotional and spiritual nutrition brings a whole new meaning to soul food!
Here’s to your emotional and physical health!
This post previously appeared on Susan and Jen's blog.