How Emotions Can Hijack Your Diet Choices

Do you ever ask yourself why food is known to damage you, but not to heal you, to make you feel better? Why do the media and doctors say that you should eat less of this and less of that? Why food x caused y condition and nothing is said about what you should eat for a healthy system? I do to. Even more after being diagnosed with an autoimmune chronic illness like multiple sclerosis. I not only choose to quit sugar, but gluten and dairy too. Let me tell you why.

Last time I wrote about this issue (find it HERE) I was on a positive wave, or more well said, going through a constant good and calm state of my life. What I failed to remember was that life is a roller coaster. I didn't pay enough attention to the fact that the Black Knights (more about them HERE) are bound to come back and trash my efforts of leading a healthy life.

I'm talking about those moments when you feel so upset or tired, that you just need an ice cream or some chocolate. Eating sweet or tasty foods helps you feel better almost instantly (or at the bottom of the can, in some cases).

But that's the real problem. Our brains have been wired from an early age to know that we can find comfort in eating. What nobody told us was how to better manage what and how we feel. How to identify and balance the emotional roller coaster life has prepared for us, and do that without food.

For me, choosing not to eat gluten, dairy and sugar came as a no brainer once I did my research. And when I say research, I mean spending hours upon hours finding out how casein and gluten can mimic other proteins in the body and how sudden insulin spikes put the body into deep stress (and get you fat in the process). I have the notes to prove it! :))

I still have the same principles and ideas, only that now I am more aware of how moments of angst, fear or anger can make my hormones and neurotransmitters fluctuate, and thus somehow make me crave the foods that I know very well can make me feel bad.

On a rational level, it's all good, and I stick to the plan about 80% of the time. The other 20% is dependent on how I'm feeling. That's why I now focus mostly on balancing my emotional state, as it is the root of all evil. Kidding, just the root of cravings (which are equally as bad :)) ).

All this "I'm changing my diet!" is in fact a process, with its ups and downs. But nobody really talks about failure. About cravings, about how it's all connected to the way we feel, not only by logic and willpower. The stricter the diet, the most prone to failure it is. Especially if you go through hard moments in life. 

Here's where self-compassion comes in. I used to get upset with myself for eating some gluten or having some dairy, or for eating chocolate at certain times of the month. The trick is to allow yourself to indulge for a bit (if you're feeling really crappy there's no use in making things even worse) and then return to your usual eating habits. The problem begins when you continue on a downward spiral and eat mindlessly, going over your own decisions.

At the end of the day, we are all free to make our own choices, but just make sure they align with the rest of our lifestyle.

The following months we'll go deeper into what it takes to become stronger: body, mind and spirit. To become the architect of your wished lifestyle. To become #strongerthanMS.

Until then, I thank you for being here. Liked this post? Share it with friends. Want to receive more articles like this right into your inbox? Add your email to the SMart Choosers list HERE. You’ll receive every new article and a monthly Newsletter of wonderful resources and insight, to help you make the smart choices that best fit your lifestyle.

Sincerely yours,

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