5 tips for mental wellbeing when following a diet
It is not uncommon for a diet change to result in mood changes, some people say they feel tired, drained and unmotivated. Use these 5 tips to keep you healthy and on the right track.
1. Track your emotions and your food
Consider using a journal to identify and notice what foods you eat, when you eat them and how you feel before, during and afterwards. This can help understand whether it’s the diet itself that is causing a shift in mood, or an external event.
2. Engage in self-care activities
While engaging with a new diet, it can be easy for this to become all-encompassing and the only thing to focus on throughout the day. Try actively scheduling time out of the day to engage in activities you enjoy. Research suggests that engaging in the following can improve mental wellbeing.
- Writing in a diary
- Art therapy
- Walking in nature
3. Seek social support
Speak to your family, friends, peers and colleagues and explain why you are engaging with this diet. If your friends and family know exactly why you are doing this, they will be able to help support you through It. They may not be completing the diet with you, but it might reduce the peer pressure that they may be unknowingly causing you as they are now more aware of your situation. Evidence suggests those with a supportive network can be more successful at changing behaviours.
4. Identify between emotional hunger and physical hunger
Learning how to identify between emotional hunger and physical hunger is a key component of managing a healthy relationship with food. It can be hard at first to identify between them, especially if food has been a coping mechanism for negative emotions. Physical hunger occurs when an energy need is not met, whereas emotional hunger occurs when an emotional need is not met.
Physical hunger typically comes on slowly and it'll make you feel tired and shaky with a craving for food in general. Emotional hunger can occur alongside an intense or uncomfortable emotion and with a more specific food craving, such as chocolate.
Think about how long ago you last ate and if there's something that might have triggered the craving for food.
5. Set yourself SMART goals
It's important to aim for something specific to help keep yourself motivated. SMART goals help to do exactly this: