What We Eat

I have read a few articles recently that give evidence that what we eat directly affects our mental health. All the articles said that persons who eat more fresh fruit and vegetables are healthier mentally. Persons with a mental illness also had better results from eating healthier food. In some cases the improvement was startling.

I made a decision this week.

As regular readers know, I meditate daily. It’s vital for my overall health. It gives me a solid, calm core. My emotions still fluctuate normally, but they don’t rule me.

I like to think it’s a result of the meditation, but I began to notice many months ago that my main diet is vegetarian. I simply gravitate toward eating more vegetable meals. I got in the habit two years ago of taking a vegetarian lunch to work.

I usually have some kind of salad that I buy ready made from the grocery store. Right now, it’s quinoa salad. I also take an apple and cheese. This happened on its own. I never made a decision to eat vegetarian lunches.

Breakfast is also vegetarian. These days, I eat a meal-replacement bar that’s high in protein. Some days, it’s just toast with butter. Other days, it’s an apple.

Dinner has been a mixed bag over the past number of years. Sometimes it’s a meal; other times it’s kind of snacking on things around the kitchen like fruit and nuts.

This diet evolved. I never labeled it. I have decided to change that and give it a label. I am now consciously mostly vegetarian and will only eat meat on special occasions. I thought about being wholly vegetarian, but that just doesn’t fit me. What I have chosen feels right for me. I am happy with this decision.

It doesn’t require me to drastically change my habits, but it does make me change the way I think. I have to be honest. After making the decision, I had some anxiety wondering what I’d done. Thankfully, personal decisions can be changed. I reserve that right. I’m going to try this for now and see how it goes.

I’m going to be adding more things to my diet like tofu and beans. I’m also looking forward to learning about new ways to live a new way.

As an aside, I found a bakery not far from where I live that just bakes bread. Really good bread. I went there for the first time yesterday, and I had two thick slices of luscious bread covered with good Irish butter at dinner last night. I’ve added a slice of bread to my lunch today.

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Diet and Exercise

I am about 30 or 35 pounds (13.6 to 15.9 kg) overweight. It’s ugly weight on my gut. Ugh.

Some of the medication I take for my bipolar disorder causes weight gain, but I know there are ways to alleviate the worst. Diet and exercise are a vital part of feeling better when you have mental illness. Well, they help everyone feel better.

A week ago, I started a low-fat diet, and I restarted my daily walk again. Yes, I stopped my daily walk back in July, because I was very busy with extracurricular activities. I was exhausted. I stopped walking, but I didn’t change my eating habits. Thus, I gained even more weight.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the fact I have only one pair of jeans that fit. All my pants, and I mean all, are too tight. So, I went shopping online for new pants in my larger waist size. Then…

…it hit me…

Why buy new clothes?

I did not like the way I looked or felt about my size, so why not change my unhealthy eating habits and start power walking again?

I have a group of friends online that I chat with daily, and I asked them if they would help motivate me. They all agreed, and some joined me in my new quest. They have been a great encouragement. When I feel like splurging and going off my new healthy eating habits, I send a message to one of them, and I receive words in return that help me through.

Weight gain is a problem for almost all people taking medication for mental illness. Losing weight while on these medications is very difficult.

I do not have unreasonable demands. I want to lose 30 or 35 pounds in four months. If something happens between now and then and I hit a plateau, I will not berate myself. I will continue to eat sensibly and exercise daily. I will be happy with whatever I’m able to lose.

I want to feel better. I want to do it for me.

Please, read those last two statements again. They represent enormous strides in advancing my self-esteem. I hated myself for a very long time indeed. I am beginning to love myself, and I believe it comes by doing lovable acts.

Taking care of myself is an act of love. Reaching out and being of service to those who need it is an act of love.

It’s a circle. By getting out of my head and into service for the good of mankind, I feel better about myself inside my head.

At least for today, I feel good.