The more scientists study food and its effects on the body, the more they find that our diet not only determines our waistlines, but also our moods and thought patterns. The phrase "garbage in, garbage out" is appropriate here. In other words, the quality of the things we are putting into our body will determine the quality of our moods and our thought patterns. I have found this to be true in my own life. When I'm eating wholesome foods, drinking lots of water and exercising on a regular basis, I find that my thoughts are more positive and my moods are more uplifted. On the flipside, however, when I'm living on a diet of processed foods, energy drinks and excessive sweets, my thoughts are negative, and my moods follow suit.
See what I mean? It sounds so simple: change your diet, change your life. But, unfortunately, these changes are harder to implement than one would think, Especially if you are currently suffering from depression. When we're feeling down, our body's natural tendency is to crave things that are unhealthy, whether that be processed food, caffeine, sweets, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or other things that are harmful to the body. When in the throes of discouragement, the last thing we feel like doing is sitting down to a healthy salad and a bottle of water, even though we know deep down that it's the best thing for us. That's why it's so important to establish these eating patterns before depression hits, though that's not to say that it's too late if you're already in depression.
It's important that you understand here that I am not talking about fad diets such as low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free or anything like that. What I'm talking about is exchanging processed food for the good, wholesome food that God gave us, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, grains and legumes. Most people equate this kind of eating as expensive and think that the only place to find such foods are specialty stores, but such is not the case. All of these foods can be found at your local grocery store if you're willing to take the time to look, and I've discovered that eating this way does not cost me any more than it did to eat the junk food I was eating before. And when I factor in the positive impact these changes have had on my health (both physical and emotional), I wonder why I didn't make the change sooner.
I am not a doctor, psychologist or counselor, but I know what scientists are discovering about food and its effects on the body, and I know the results I've seen in my own life. Eating right helps me to think right, and thinking right helps me to be more emotionally stable. So, from this I can conclude that if I want to get out of depression and stay out of depression, it is imperative that I eat good foods and exercise on a regular basis. Taking care of my body is the first step in controlling my depression, and I believe if you're honest with yourself, you would say the same about you.
The question is this, how badly do you want out of the depression? Are you motivated enough to change your way of eating for good? Are you fed up with discouragement to the point that you're willing to feed your body the things that it needs, not necessarily the things that it wants? I hope so, because until you address this issue, I fear you won't make much progress in curing your depression. Our bodies were designed to require the proper fuel, and without that proper fuel, they do not function as they should, which is why there is so much disease and so many emotional disorders in the world today. Most of these issues can be addressed with proper diet and exercise.
If you're not sure that this would actually work for you, I ask you another question: what do you have to lose? Although there will be a brief detox period when you switch from poor eating habits to healthy foods, you will soon find that a healthy diet will greatly improve your well-being, and that alone may improve your depression. So, I urge you to give it a try. Start slowly by eliminating the things that you know are bad for your health. Let them go one at a time over the course of the next few weeks, giving your body time to adjust to the changes. Each time you're tempted to resume one of those unhealthy habits, remind yourself how much you want to get out of depression, how much you want to feel better. Then pray for God's strength and guidance to get you through this difficult time.
Though the solution is simple, I guarantee you it will not be easy. It will take a lot of discipline, motivation and willpower, not to mention a lot of prayer, but you can do all things through Christ, and that includes improving your eating habits. If you would like specific tips or advice on what to eat or how to exercise, or if you would like me to pray with you, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you in any way I can.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. - Psalm 103:1,2,5