[To listen to an audio version of this blog please click here: http://bit.ly/2hF5jEk]
A word before I start. When I was deep, deep in depression, all I could face was comfort food, especially toast (see Winter Comfort – 16th December 2016). If you are in that phase, be gentle with yourself. This blog is probably not for you just now, but it may be useful when you start to feel a bit better.
On October 27th this year, I stopped drinking alcohol.
Not forever – at least, I don't think it's forever - but until Christmas at least.
Do I feel better for it? I don't know. I'm sure my liver feels better for it and I certainly feel more virtuous! I must confess it has not been easy and I have had to remind myself on several occasions that the first glass is the only one I can resist.
The alcohol consumption was not the only thing to change. I also adopted a low carbohydrate diet. When we discussed nutrition at my last bipolar group meeting, a couple of the long-term members who are dealing with their condition at least semi-successfully, recommended a low carbohydrate diet. (They also recommended a high fat content too – but until my tummy has retreated to a more acceptable size, I'm not quite ready to take this on).
The reasoning behind this decision is that carbohydrates, especially the "white" carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, sugar, potatoes, rice and sugar – oh – did I mention sugar?) give an immediate "lift" as they are very easily converted into energy. Unfortunately, unless we are running a marathon at the time, we cannot use this energy, so the insulin in our bodies converts it into "long term energy" - i.e. fat – and our energy levels crash, with a resulting emotional drop too. Not co-incidentally, we also get a craving for more sugar. Some research has suggested that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. (I do not however intend to personally test this out).
The results of this change in diet have been noticeable. Firstly, I have lost 7lbs in four weeks, which gives me an emotional boost regardless of anything else. I have also noticed a feeling of "lightness" in my body. There is no sense of bloating or sluggishness after meals, and I feel satisfied for longer. This varies day to day of course, and just this morning I have needed a piece of fruit to take me through to lunch. (For all you strict people out there, natural sugars found in fruit do not count – as they are surrounded by fibre.) I definitely have more energy and (early days for this, but I'm hopeful) I seem to be sleeping better.
Heath is a jigsaw. Nutrition is just one of the pieces, but an important one. As one person said last week in the comments (I paraphrase), "If I eat rubbish, I feel rubbish." The advice out there is to eat a "rainbow" – and so this jigsaw piece, nutrition, is most definitely not white!
What are your thoughts?
A Moodscope member