I have lost 10 pounds in the last couple of months because I have been more active and have been eating healthy foods, only for fuel- not for anxiety self medication. I ate for entertainment here and there (dessert with friends/easter dinner) but in those cases I ate sparingly. I figured that I was able to do well with my eating and activity because my mood has been so good lately...this weekend I am thinking it might be the other way around!
This theory started last trip on the day I went to Chili's with the FO. Chilis has some delicious "southwestern egg rolls" which are basically beans and cheese in an eggroll shell and fried, with a cream dipping sauce. Him and I split an "appetizer assortment" he added a cup of soup, I did not. I figure if I am eating calorie laden crap I need not add extra calories.
Well about a half hour(how long it takes to digest)later I felt sort of down and insecure. I didn't analyze this too much because soon after I met the beautiful German. Since I have started doing better I have been sad, anxious, shy, or angry plenty of times, but not depressed.
Well now it has happened again! I have felt sort of rotten since starting this trip. I really shouldn't be feeling crappy, I should be feeling great, I am seeing results in therapy and my classes are nearly done. But I have felt really blah. I have had very short work days but I have done less trash collections than usual, a signal that I am getting lost in my own head/magazines and losing touch with my enviornment. I am not connecting with people as well, and in fact I am getting some of the hyper-sensitivity that has plauged my life (like I'll get insulted just by a look or a tone of voice.)
So what is different from this trip as opposed to any of the others? Well for one we have new uniforms. I feel pretty ugly, which can affect my mood, but I dont think I acually look ugly, I think its in my head. I am really wondering if it is what I have been eating!
For lunch on friday I had a salad, but it was an iceberg lettuce (yuck) salad so I decided to put ranch dressing on it to make it palatable. I usually have a low fat vinagrette or italian, and I use it sparingly, the flavor comes from the greens. I figured it would be fine to use this ranch dressing because the meal would be about 350 calories. Then for dinner I found an awesome steak salad. I put blue cheese dressing on it. On this day I was craving chocolate (I always love chocolate, but I never crave it) So that evening I ate an ice cream sandwich. This morning I had a fatty muffin, some fruit and half a belgian waffle. For lunch I had my usual breakfast. For dinner I had a large burrito, one of those huge ones that are 2 portion sizes and ate the whole thing, plus the chips. I was alarmed by that at first, but seeing the small volume of food I had eaten today I think I was just hungry. I also ate some candy from my captian.
My calories may have been fine, but what I was eating may have caused my depressed moods! I had eaten very high-fat, high-sugar food these two days. I read in "psychology today" about "smart foods." They said that eating too much fat creates a "sludge" in your brain. This is literally how I felt.
I have already learned about an ugly relationship I have with sugar. Sugar spikes your blood sugar, so insulin pours in and your blood sugar crashes, leading you to crave more sugar. Interestingly I have found a connection between sugar and my body pain too.
I am going to go back to my healthy eating, I hope it makes a difference. I would be happy to find out that I have to eat healthy to keep from being depressed. When I discovered sugar pop gave me backaches I had to stop drinking it! How empowering that would be to know I could strongly affect the depression by my diet! There is even a book about this, called "Potatoes not Prozac." It suggests that many people with depression actually have a "sugar sensitivity" I purchased it years ago but was so tied into the sugar high/low cycle I never believed I could stick to it. I think it is time to pull it back out.
I will closely monitor my moods to see if it makes a difference! Wouldn't that be great if it's true! I feel so great after eating a salad with olive oil...I am getting excited imagining the possibilities!
You know what else improves depression...getting adequate sleep.