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Thread: Giving up foods and mental health page

  1. #1
    2ndChance's Avatar
    2ndChance is offline Senior Member
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    Giving up foods and mental health

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    Lately I've been thinking a lot about diet and mental health... I have had some mental health struggles in the past and I'm almost certain they were related to diet. I shudder when I think about my old ways, when my 3 food groups were Caffeine, Candy, and Chips. I would frequently stay up all night, I would do intense cardio for an hour every day, then I started having mental issues that forced me to make my health a priority. Since revamping my diet things are better, but I'm still constantly trying new things, adding this food, cutting that one, to see how they affect me.

    I'm a 20 yr old female, I've always been thin but have struggled with eating disorders/body image issues since I was probably 12 or 13. For example, one summer in high school I came up with a diet that allowed me 1 soft pretzel and 1 stack of wheat thins with cheese every day, I worked out compulsively, and I was a slave to the scale. Now I tend to be compulsive about healthy eating, which seems to defeat the point. My body is probably very damaged due to years and years of poor nutrition (I'm pretty sure that from the ages 10 to 18 I didn't eat a single vegetable) and I have a family history of depression and anxiety, coupled with a bad relationship with my depressed/anxious mother.

    Anyway, I just wanted to hear some thoughts on the mental health aspects of primal eating... I have learned not to trust my body since it steered me towards all kinds of bad food choices over the years. But "overriding" my natural instincts, if you will, seems like the very reverse of the primal philosophy. If Grok craved pistachios, he'd eat them. He wouldn't spend 10 minutes beating himself up first, he wouldn't think about it so much. My problem is overthinking everything--it gets to the point where I don't want to eat anything, having read so many conflicting studies. I've heard about "orthorexia" and it sounds similar to what I experience. I'm also fairly sure I'm hypoglycemic, if my blood sugar dips I can feel it, it manifests itself as extreme depression only curable with carbs. Now, if I listen to this site, my depression would go away if I cut carbs and learn to live on fat instead. But I tried going grain free for 6 months-- although during this time I still ate fruit so perhaps it was a bad experiment-- and it made me depressed. The day I ate a sandwich again, and I thought to myself "I can eat sandwiches if I want to, fuck it!" made me feel so much better. This is clearly a mental thing-- sandwiches may not be good for my body, but denying myself them when it's possible to have them is not good for my mind.

    I don't have a specific question, just wondering if other people experience things like this... I wake up in the morning and I don't want to eat eggs, I want to eat an apple. I want some oatmeal (made in the rice cooker with coconut oil and cinnamon!). If I make myself eat eggs anyway, I feel sad... This site is all about debunking fiber but I've read other sites saying fiber is key to fighting colon cancer, and I have a family history of that as well... is there a point when all this becomes madness? I've reached the point where I think to myself, Grok would never make himself crazy over eating. He would eat what was available and be happy. For me, THAT is primal eating. Eating what you want, when you want. Where I get hung up is when I feel like "oh no, what if what I think I want is actually bad for me? My taste buds have steered me wrong before..."

    I also sometimes have envy towards people who come in the restaurant where I work...their minds aren't filled with conflicting info that makes their every food choice feel like Sophie's choice, and they don't feel guilty about every bite (at least, I imagine they don't...some of our larger patrons probably do), and I think perhaps even though I eat much healthier foods, they are still healthier than me because food doesn't torment them?
    Last edited by 2ndChance; 09-08-2012 at 09:49 AM.

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    homunculus's Avatar
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    This sounds just like me I don't really know if primal helps, I feel like at first it did but after a while things went back to how they used to be...so now I don't really think that food alone is responsible for mental health.
    “There is immeasurably more left inside than what comes out in words…”
    — Fyodor Dostoevsky

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    denise's Avatar
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    it may not help - but I totally "get this". You are not alone.

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    Have you sought any counseling for all your years of disordered eating? You may need more than to simply eat healthy.

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    Maybe your on the forums too much. Its a place filled with conflicting theory, and many times just plain nonsense. Just read the PB and follow it. You will be fine. No worries.

    And yes mental health....any health for that matter is a matter of all three things of how you eat, move, and think. So obviously you will have to address the way you perceive the world and your mental outlook on life to reach true health. Negative thought processes are just as dangerous as any of the foods on the primal avoid list.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-08-2012 at 11:38 AM.

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    And remembering that Grok or Grokette didn't have the choices we have. He or she had to eat what was there and I'll betcha they ate happily when food was available.

    I agree about getting off the food related forums. Also I noticed that you seemed to be very positive that "this" caused "that" for you....the lack of carbs made you depressed, for example. We can certainly convince ourselves of causal relationships but that doesn't mean that's the only explanation.

    Trying to get happy being you might be more critical than what you eat....You (yes, you) are okay, no matter what you eat. Sure, there are no doubt healthier and less healthy ways of eating, but you, as a human being, are okay no matter what kind of food you choose. Learning to really, really believe that will make choosing food a whole lot less critical.

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    Drumroll's Avatar
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    Primal eating may help you somewhat, but it wasn't really designed with mental issues in mind. As such, I wouldn't assume that eating primal will resolve these issues. While I encourage you to continue to eat primally and reap the health benefits of such an eating plan, I also enocurage you to seek counciling, particularly with someone who specializes in body image issues and eating disorders.

    Go forth, eat primal, get healthy, but most important of all, continue to seek help for your issues. Best of luck!

  8. #8
    kiks's Avatar
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    your struggles are totally understandable...and you should realize that you are 20, and it is natural to be confused about many things, i know i was at 20. But it is good that you now are aware of the importance of what is put in your body. I know i put lots of crappy things in my body before, and i came upon this knowledge in my 30s...and i am still learning. It is good to always seek knowledge, and not think that you know everything (lots of people do this unfortunately).
    You will be the person that determines what goes in your body. As far as the mental struggles, i hear you on that too...the mind and body do work together, and it is you who feeds your mind and body. Granted, there are times where one might need some extra help (talking to someone, etc). Do you have a close friend or relative that you can talk with? Or heck, even write in a diary. This will take some time, but take control, and it will work out

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    2ndChance's Avatar
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    My parents insist that I go to counseling but I don't find it that helpful... I'm a musician and find making music a much better use of my free time and so the counseling appointments mostly make me resent my parents, not to mention my counselor isn't into nutrition and just asks me to tell him about my life which I don't really feel like doing... it's not my thing. I have nothing against him but nothing to say to him.

    I have a really supportive boyfriend who is learning about eating and living healthily alongside me. I was mostly just wondering if others who have given up foods find that forcing themselves to stop eating things they like does more harm than good to their mental state... I start to feel like I'm both the depriver and the deprived and not sure who to identify with... Good to see others' thoughts on this matter though!

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    I didn't have this problem for long, but I had. I agree it's mental. You probably don't actually like grains. It's just that you're not "allowed" to eat them anymore. I also missed my cruesli. But I'm sure if I convinced myself eggs and meat was unhealthy, I would hate cruesli and suddenly eggs and meat 1000x more. When i was a vegetarian I craved meat all the time. Then I became primal and I hated it (at first). I told myself "alright, I'm going to eat primal (nuts and dairy and chocolate included) as much as I want. I'm going to get fat, I don't care. But then I wasn't deprived anymore an never got fat .
    Billie trips balls

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