Spirituality and Mental Health

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Mental health concerns often wear down the entire person. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, depression, relational concerns or severe mental illness such as Bipolar or Schizophrenia the entire self is impacted. When one is unable to operate at full capacity limitations ensue and problems eventually erupt.  This can take form in negative thinking, weight gain, health problems related to stress which ultimately deteriorates the person you once knew.

These life stressors tend to take a bigger impact on a person when they allow themselves to be at the center of the problem. What that means is they carry the world and the world’s problems on their shoulders.  Over time one cannot sustain such pressure, perfection or focus.  Therefore, by seeking outside of one’s self affords the ability to alleviate some of the burden.

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to go through tragedy and recover while others are destroyed? Like me I am sure you have.  The answer is complexly simple.  It is simple as the plan is easy to follow. However, complex as you have to believe in a concept that you can only trust in your mind and has no physical presence in this world.

Spirituality is just that. Something you believe in but are unable to put a physical existence to. You just have to believe.  That for many is the difficult part of trusting that it is true.  If you believe that something is going to help you through a tragedy then you will look around you for proof – something good will result.  The opposite is also true.  If you feel like nothing will help you through the tragedy then you also will look around for proof – identifying all that is wrong in your life as a result of the tragedy.

Now imagine that you have faith in a spiritual entity and that all burdens are not yours but for this entity to provide aid in working through. This equates to the burden, weight and stress to lift from your shoulders and upon this spiritual helper and guider.  Wow doesn’t that feel more comfortable, I feel the weight lifting already!!

When the world’s pressure is not only riding on you, then life becomes more manageable, tasks become easier and adopting the idea that “things are meant to happen” alleviate overbearing stress and guilt from the unavoidable. Once you are able to believe this is possible the complexity of the task is reduced and one can then follow the plan.

Following the plan is just the reminder that you are not the bearer of the world’s weight, things “just happen” sometimes and that even in a tragedy something good can come about. The nice thing about the plan is it does not change as it is all about positive thinking, plain and simple.  If you are a bit lost and are thinking “how can I possibly turn a tragedy into something good?” Find articles or books to read with stories similar to your current struggle and really focus on how the person evaluates and manages the situation.  How do they come out victorious?  The one sure fire thing in this world is if you cannot figure it out there are enough resources to find a blue print and reproduce it and change it until it is authentic for you.

Go out and be positive thinkers, believe in something outside of yourself that is capable of handling your life stressors and overcome your tragedies.

Meal Planning Made Simple

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I know there are a lot of meal plans out there and often times they are pretty complex and can make you feel lost if you do not know much about nutrition and how it fuels your body. I have tried many types of meal plans and several have worked. However, what has worked for me are ones that are simple, easily paired foods are incorporated and I don’t have to stay in the kitchen all day.

Nutrition is a vital part of life in general and certainly important if trying to lose weight, improve health or work around food allergies. Before deciding to start a meal plan you must set a few goals in terms of what will this food plan provide for you. Otherwise, it is a meal plan that you can easily ditch when things get challenging. You must know why you are doing this plain and simple.

I am all about the basics; staples that you put in many meals throughout the day and some that are easily accessible when in a hurry. I meal prep on Sundays to afford reduced amount of time I stand in front of the stove.

A common food breakdown is to get an average of 1300-1500 calories per day if you are working toward weight loss. The macro ratio that is often suggested is 40% carbohydrates, 20% healthy fats and 40% proteins. This is certainly adjustable depending on your own needs, desired outcome and fitness level.

If you are interested about how to get a personalized meal plan feel free to email me at dr.michelle.scoggins@gmail.com or send me a personal message on FB @michelledawn or IG @drscoggins_healthandwelness. Click here Simple_meal_plan for a reformatted excel sheet to give an example of how keep your ratios calculated and it proportion.  Tweak it yourself if feeling ready to do it on your own.

 

Carbohydrates: The Connection Between Mood, Snacking And Weight Management

Managing life while monitoring mood and weight can certainly be a daunting task. However, knowing food combinations and how to eat along with when to eat can be the key to success. Of course the craze is all about eating a specific amount of meals and calories, yet the type and mixture of food is just as important. Today the focus is on carbohydrates and how our bodies need and use them.

Serotonin

This is a chemical naturally made in our brains. It is also a key component in mood management. Medications such as Zoloft or Prozac used for depression work on the brain by maintaining the amount of serotonin available for the brain allowing for improved mood quality. Serotonin is also involved in satiation, the full and satisfied feeling achieved after eating a meal.

Carbohydrates

As the referenced article explained, think about going to a restaurant and snacking on bread prior to your meal being served. Often times when your meal arrives you begin thinking “my eyes are bigger than my stomach” and you already feel full. This is due to carbohydrates naturally creating the production of serotonin. Eating meals with complex carbohydrates such as vegetables help to improve mood functioning and satiation. However, timing is also vital. The reason is our bodies naturally love to feel good so the body tends to crave carbs in order to self-regulate moods. Also, people may tend to “self-medicate” with carbs in an attempt to manage moods. Think to yourself when you eat pasta or sweet potatoes there is a calming feeling that comes over you about an hour after the meal. That is serotonin working. It was also suggested to eat carbohydrates with dinner as a way to reduce nighttime snacking. So again timing is key as I am not suggesting to graze on carbs all day to stay happy but can give you an idea why in the afternoon you may crave chips or unhealthy snack foods.

Snacking

If you are able to understand why you snack then managing snack time can become a little easier and more productive when managing weight.   As studies show obesity has been linked to high fat, empty calorie and simple carbohydrates. I will break this down a bit to provide better understanding. High fat foods are not the issues as there are “healthy fats” so knowing the difference will help along the way. Avoid trans fats as much as possible, which are often in processed foods and stick more to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are contained in foods such as avocados, nuts, nut/seed butters, salmon, olives/olive oil, ground flax seeds/chia seeds, and tuna. Empty calories are included in most junk food, as they do not contain vital nutrients. This includes sugary drinks, candy, chips, and many processed foods. Simple carbohydrates are also included in the junk food section as the body breaks down the substance that lacks nutrients and thereby is just converted into sugar without providing anything to the body, that is except extra weight in the long run. Now knowing about the snack foods you can make better choices in carb intake. As I mentioned earlier eating complex carbs for dinner such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, or brown rice can help to reduce after dinner snacking.

Weight Management

Knowing what to eat, when to eat and the combinations of food can certainly help to control weight. Protein is an essential component in any meal plan as it helps to build and maintain muscles in addition to helping you stay full longer. Carbs as explained above help monitor moods, may increase snacking and obesity and is essential for energy. Fats also help to regulate system performance and there is a lot of research about high fat/low carb diets that really work. If you are a calorie counter then I say great job as that is the beginning, however, breaking it down further to know your combination of macros (carb/fat/protein ratio) will also afford the ability to better monitor weight, mood and overall healthy operation of the body. I will discuss in another post about macros and tracking to step it up a notch.

 

The bottom line that I continue to discuss is using food as a way to fuel our bodies properly. Food is not intended to fill emotional deficits or comfort us. Having an emotional connection to food is likely to fuel obesity rather than a healthy body. Finding other ways to emotionally soothe oneself is crucial to health and weight management.   Thereby, if you are an “emotional eater” I would suggest finding other ways to soothe emotions and only think about food as fuel.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-antidepressant-diet/201008/serotonin-what-it-is-and-why-its-important-weight-loss

New Year’s Resolution Rubbish

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It is January 1st and it’s on everyone’s mind to improve health, wellness or loose weight. Good intentions are always at the start of this process, however, most of us know that these resolutions never last. I want to talk about ways to start off this New Year right and without losing motivation and remaining focused on life change.

Do not label change as a “New Year’s Resolution”

Resolutions are made to fail, rather change your perception and begin a “lifestyle change.” Lifestyle changes are meant to last for the long-term. Lifestyle changes are meant to have ebb and flow where things are not always the same or perfect. You must still be able to have fun, experience imperfection and be human. Many times New Year’s resolutions do not afford this flexibility.

Start Small and Improve Over Time

New Year’s resolutions often times are set up to fail as the goal is too specific and too drastic. Starting off small such as learning to count calories/macros or workout for 30 minutes 3 times a week are the way to start rather than “I want to lose 50lbs.”

Know Why You Want To Change

Again a set-up for failure is when the reasons behind change are weak. I have heard many times “I want to lose weight.” That is a great goal but what will the weight loss help with and how will it improve your life. Knowing the “why” behind the choice will help you at times when motivation is low. This is a surefire way to renew yourself over-and-over again.

 

Don’t get me wrong making change and working to improve your life is great but can serve as a double edge sword if not properly prepared. Making a lifestyle change can take place at any time as opposed to a New Year’s resolution. Like for myself I decided to incorporate my current lifestyle change in July and have remained active in this change. The bottom line is change can occur on any day of the year, start small and know why you are making this change.