Mental Health Monday 6/13/16: Your diet is not the catalyst to happiness

June 13, 2016 in Recovery

Hi guys and happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekends. Going to be linking up with Julia today for another Mental Health Monday!

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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.

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“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!

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“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.

Xoxo

Lyss<3

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31 Comments

  • Reply Megan June 13, 2016 at 8:19 am

    So true! You could replace diet with so many other idols as well. There are so many things that distract us and take our eyes off Jesus…the only one who can bring us genuine happiness.

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Very true! Exercise could be one of those idols. Happiness DOES come from within, and Jesus can bring us that happiness too! xoxo

  • Reply Stephanie June 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Oh my goodness Alyssa Cristadoro that was the most amazing blog! Your thoughts written and expressed so well! I as your mother can attest to everything you said. You as a child struggled with this, finding inner happiness. Your smile today is so bright and appreciated because that smile was gone for many years. It is a real smile today just as you are very true and real! Thanks for that post you are a blessing to all!

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you SO Much mom!! I really did struggle with that as a child. I am so glad I have found what makes me happy and I have found happiness WITHIN. I never thought I would be able to mom, but I did and now it’s my turn to help others find that happiness too. I love you!! I wouldn’t be here today without you!<3

  • Reply Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It June 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    This was a much-needed read today. Last week was weird for me, I could feel myself slipping back into those “health nut” habits and it was making me sad and anxious. I think this is one of your best posts Lyss!! I’ve spent too long obsessing over the “perfect” diet, thinking it would make me happier, but it also took me awhile to realize that it’s never going to dictate my happiness. How do you deal with those “health nut” thoughts if they come up? Lyss you are such a beautiful soul <3 Thank you SO MUCH for this. You and your blog inspire me every single day!!

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you SO Much beautiful <3 I am sorry last week was a bit harder with those thoughts, but that is normal- some weeks are just harder than others with that stuff! When I get those health nut thoughts, I tell myself that I have the freedom to give my body whatever it wants. I ask myself before each meal: what does ALYSSA really want? I don't have to drink a green smoothie every day just because those thoughts are telling me too. I don't label myself as a "healthy eater" because that puts too much pressure on me. Eat whatever your heart AND soul desires- don't be afraid to get some treats and be spontaneous around food! That always helps me too 🙂 YOU are such an inspiration to me my friend!! Love you! <3

  • Reply kat June 13, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Such a beautiful post girl with such valid points. A good diet does NOT lead to happiness. Shoot, no diet leads to happiness. That’s not what happiness is about! Unfortunetly our EDs are very, very good at convincing us otherwise. <3

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you so much Kat!! It is crazy how good eating disorders are at convincing us that diets will bring happiness- because they most definitely do not!

  • Reply Kate June 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!
    I’ve been there and I’ve learned that we all try to feel the void that exist. For us it was with obsession over food and the need for control. I truly believe only our creator can fill that void!

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you so much Kate! <3 I think that too- God can definitely fill that void, but food most certainly never will!

  • Reply Trine June 13, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I absolutely love the last quote. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and when times get tough, I try to remind myself that God clearly has faith in me since he put this in front of me. He never wants to see anyone fail, therefore whatever life presents us, he believes in us. Sometimes that’s all you need to help you push through.

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Yesss- such a good mindset to have Trine! So true too-whatever god presents us we CAN overcome it. Xoxo <3

  • Reply Taylor June 13, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Love Love Love!!! I can totally relate to how you used to feel by the things you ate.. it becomes all consuming. Love that quote… and keeping the mindset that you have the power to define how you live and what your purpose is.. that keeps me going during hard times.

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      It really does become all consuming- it’s crazy! Thank you so much for reading Taylor! <3

  • Reply Caroline June 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    This was simply beautiful. I honestly have no words except those of agreement. I’m going to repeat that mantra to myself, “My diet is not the catalyst to my happiness.” I’m bookmarking and saving this because it is simply perfect. xoxo keep writing, beautiful 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Awe Caroline, you are so sweet thank you SO much <3 Truly appreciate your support and kind words!! <3 xoxo

  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law June 13, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Yes yes yes to this! I think too many people but waaaaaaaaaaay too much focus on food – but that’s what it is! It’s just food. It’s not meant to be your idol or something you think about all day every day, it’s just supposed to give you the energy needed to LIVE!

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Exactly! It should not be something we dwell over! Thank you for your thoughts Kristy, always love to read them 🙂 xoxo

  • Reply Ellie June 14, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I totally agree. Food can make you smile or satisfied, but it is never the source of happiness. I have gotten into the trap of thinking ill be happier if I follow a certain “diet cult”. But I think that’s because I want companionship. Over the years I’ve stopped this and just been thankful for my real life friends, whatever they eat 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I agree with that point. Good food will definitely make you smile, but it should not be the sole thing that brings a smile to your face! Thanks for reading Ellie!

  • Reply sarah June 14, 2016 at 1:28 am

    I love the title of this post and I love the content of it even more! I am working on looking inside myself to find happiness. You give me hope every day my friend that full recovery is possible <3

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I hope you are fighting hard Sarah to find that happiness! Been thinking about you a lot lately. Full recovery is possible, and you WILL get there!

  • Reply Emily June 14, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Can I just say, ‘Amen!’ Trying to feel happy with a diet, doesn’t change or help the condition of my soul. And I’m so grateful that Jesus Christ fills the DEEPEST need of the human soul. That He heals the human soul, something that no diet could ever do. YOUR recovery gives hope and joy to so many Lyss. Keep shining! I know that God cares about His children, and that He will bring us through EVERY valley.

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      YES! It doesn’t help the condition of the soul- great point there. Thank you for reading Emily!! xoxo

  • Reply Heather @ Polyglot Jot June 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Yes, ive totally been there with thinking that food would bring me happiness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It can be so hard to try and fill that void–Beautiful!

    • Reply Alyssa June 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much Heather! I am so glad you don’t have that mindset anymore either. Hope you have a wonderful day 🙂

  • Reply Top 3 Friday #1 – Life of Endurance June 17, 2016 at 8:01 am

    […] Your Diet Is Not the Catalyst To Happiness – Blissful Lyss […]

  • Reply Top 3 Friday | Bits of Zen June 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    […] My girl Lyss has a must read this week: Your Diet is Not the Catalyst to Happiness  […]

  • Reply Terez June 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    This is the first time I’ve read anything from your blog and may I just say WOW! What a wake up call. I’ve been SO blind to the way I’ve been thinking about food and this whole post so accurately sums up my mindset! It is so easy to try and fill myself with things I think will make me happy(food, exercise, friends,TV). I’ve even realized something is wrong; I still feel unhappy and yet continue to attempt at filling that hole. Only Christ can fill me with happiness and that love I so desire. Thank you for your beautiful words. I can tell you already I have experienced a positive shift in my mindset. God bless, xoxo Tee

    • Reply Alyssa June 19, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      YES! Food nor exercise will fill that hole. Those are simply idols that distract us from what you said: CHRIST filling that hole and bringing you happiness. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by Terez and your kind words!! Hugs <3

  • Reply Friday Top 3's: #2 – A Dancer's Live-It July 2, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    […] Your Diet Is Not the Catalyst to Happiness – Blissful Lyss This post really hit home for me. One of her best posts yet, in my opinion! […]

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