Most of the information I see related to diet and fitness has a major focus on physical appearance changes... "30 days to abs," "10 day shred," "lose 7 pounds in 7 days," and so on. And it makes sense... that is what catches people's eyes and is "sexy" in the media and marketing world.
But THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO IT THAN THAT!
Often times we feel tired, foggy, achy, or just have an overall "heavy" feeling. We may even feel anxious or depressed. It has largely been accepted in mainstream society that all of these feelings are normal or just part of what comes along with the daily grind.
While your feelings may partially have to do with life in general (i.e. a stressful job, home life, medical history), the food you eat and the amount of exercise you perform can play a HUGE role in emotions and energy level.
Harvard University Health Blogger Eva Selhub discusses one connection between food and the brain*, stating that about 95 % of serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract (your gut, yo.)
What is serotonin, you ask? Oh, just a little floaty neurotransmitter in your body that is partially responsible for keeping certain things in check like sleep, mood, appetite...
Additionally, serotonin plays a large part in allowing our digestive system to function properly, assisting in muscle contraction during digestion, as well as pain, nausea, and vomiting signals.
Quick side note: serotonin can't cross the blood-brain barrier all by itself to help our mood- it needs it's BFF tryptophan to help it do that.
So, what can we do to give our bodies serotonin? Eat! -fruits and nuts such as pineapple, walnuts, banana, and kiwi just to name a few.
What about tryptophan? Eat! Carbs, bananas, nuts, and beans!
Oh, and guess what else? Exercise has been found to increase serotonin levels too. Surprise! (Can you hear my sarcasm?)**
SO. Here's a big problem in the dieting and exercise world. If you're starving yourself of carbs because you think the only way to achieve your desired look is to go low-carb, you're messing with your own head. Literally.
There's so much more to this topic to dive into, but I'm not writing a thesis on it. Long story short ... If you're eating or following a certain diet plan just for looks and don't care if you're being "healthy," or if you aren't eating healthy and exercising at all, you're really selling yourself short. A healthy lifestyle is worth so much more than looking good... It can really rebuild you from the inside out. Trust the process and give yourself the chance to feel better than "just getting by."
-The Wonder Vegan (Anna Maree Hagley)