Hi guys and happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekends. Going to be linking up with Julia today for another Mental Health Monday!
Your diet is not the catalyst to happiness. There, I said it. Your diet is not going to bring a smile to your face everyday. Nor is it going to bring you everlasting joy. The foods you consume really has no correlation to how happy you are. And the foods you consume SHOULD have no correlation to your happiness. Because happiness, joy, all that good stuff: that comes from within.
Holy poop did I wish I realized that sooner. But ya know, I’m glad I didn’t in some ways, because all my struggles taught me something and now I am stronger and wiser. I believed for the longest time that my diet could determine my mood. If I ate all clean- I would be happy! Simple right? Eat healthier foods, feel good: when you feel good, your happy. It was the perfect equation in my brain. And when I didn’t eat as healthy, I didn’t feel as good, so then I was unhappy. I thought I cracked the code to life! Eat good, eat clean foods: not processed, portion sizes had to be exact, no GMOs, blah blah blah- and I was happy because I felt great and I was giving my body great nutrients! I didn’t get at the time why it was so tricky for people to figure out. If you wanted to be happy with yourself and your body, just give yourself clean foods and really don’t eat that much. Why couldn’t they understand, I thought; it wasn’t rocket science!!
But the main problem here was that I was missing something: I was missing something on the inside, I wasn’t happy, I didn’t feel good about myself. So I looked outward for happiness where I should have been looking within. And I turned to food and exercise to try and fill that internal void and that emptiness that hurt me every single day. So I found food, and I discovered new diets, and I became fixated on health. I became fixated on how my stomach felt, and I desired that empty feeling. I made changes to my diet to fulfill that empty feeling. When I felt like I was doing something right with the way I was eating, I felt a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of joy. I started with just small changes: more fruits, less vegetables, no soda; then the small changes got a little bigger: only organic snacks, whole wheat grains only- NO white, no red meat, no pork, only chicken and fish and turkey, no mayo, no sweets at ALL; more foods became off limits. Pretty soon all dairy became off limits. Then a year later, all gluten off limits. No sweets whatsoever of course. Only organic foods. The obsession with health was full-blown. I was categorized as the health-nut at my high school. My friends would always peak over at me as I opened up my lunch box with curiosity to see what crazy lunch I would pack that day. The lunches became smaller throughout the years. The trail mixes just became plain unsalted almonds. The apples and almond butter just became apples. The funny thing throughout all of this? Changing the way I ate never made me happier. It never brought me any true genuine smiles. Throughout all these years, every smile I had was forced and plastered to my face; and over the years I just stopped faking those smiles because it became exhausting: I was incredibly depressed, sad, and just flat-out exhausted.
With recovery and lots of therapy, I realized that my diet and the way I ate would never bring me to a state of happiness. Happiness did not come from the foods I was eating. I became to discover that empty feeling inside, that sadness and feeling that I was not worthy enough could not be healed by changing by diet. I needed to dig deeper to heal that; I needed to fix why I was feeling that way and look inward to find happiness. I had to STOP trying to control every morsel of food entering my mouth and correlating that with joy and I had to START digging deeper to find the bigger problem. I had a lot of soul-searching to do, and throughout my years in recovery and in therapy I discovered so much about myself. One huge thing I discovered and I think many people out there need to discover is that the food you eat should not be connected with how you feel about yourself. Your diet is not the catalyst to happiness.
“Invest in yourself. believe in yourself. you are worthy. invest in yourself. believe in yourself. you are worthy. repeat until you get it.”
I had to make that full investment in myself to find happiness again. Because I tried finding it through clean eating, through becoming smaller; and that did NOT work. That WILL not work. I found that I was actually suffering from depression and anxiety, and I am still on an anti-depressant for that. But by investing in myself, I discovered so much more too. I discovered the deep-rooted self-esteem problems I had had since I was a child. I learned how to feel good about myself again, and that felt pretty dang good. I learned how to find freedom and how to be proud of myself again. I learned how to love myself, and I learned how to spread love to others: something I lost throughout the challenging times in my life. I dove head first into new activities unrelated to food and fitness. I volunteered. I got a job. I joined some clubs. I did crafts. I found that I had a big love for volunteering. I started to write and soon I fell in love with writing. I spent time for myself, learning about myself; learning how to believe in myself again and recognize that I was worthy of finding that happiness and joy. And boy am I glad that I realized that happiness and joy could not be found in the foods I was eating. Because that lead me down a path that I pray less and less people will have to go down in the future.
“Happiness comes from within and is found int he present moment by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future.” -Doe Zantamata
I worry sometimes, as I see many new trends around food starting and wonder to myself, “Is this person switching over to this diet because they genuinely want to, or are they doing it as a means to fill a void in their life or because they believe it will make them more happy?” I feel that is a big question to ask yourself. Never use food as a coping mechanism for anything. Never use food to replace a void. Never switch to a new diet simply because you feel that diet will help fill that empty pit of sadness you feel at the bottom of your stomach, because chances are it will not fill that void. You have to look within to fill that. And guess what? You can do it!
“If God brings you to it, he WILL bring you through it.”
You can overcome all challenging things. YOU have that power. You can find happiness in the darkest times.
No questions today: just would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!! And thank you Julia for the link up. Always love sharing my thoughts about mental health on Monday’s! Have a fabulous day friends.
Sending my love as always.