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Sugar Makes Me a Jerk (or Food, Mood and Relationships)

As much as I want to resist acknowledging the significant effect of food and exercise on mood and anxiety, I am continually learning more about how influential it is. We continue to get more a information about the effects of food on mood and anxiety while at the same time being bombarded with potentially devastating food choices that have become our societal norm.

Food is not the only answer but another piece of the puzzle that makes up our complicated selves. Understanding this piece gives us options when it comes to taking care of ourselves. I know how hard it is. I so want to be able to eat the chocolate chip cookie after a stressful day days.

“Sugar makes me a jerk”, says a friend of mine. Sugar can be addictive to many of us – the more we eat, the more our cravings increase. Unstable blood sugar levels cause many physical and emotional symptoms that affect mood and anxiety.

What does this have to do with relationships? When you’re struggling with issue of mood and and anxiety, it can result in worried thoughts, irritability, anger, mood swings, tears, isolation, negative feelings, and hopelessness – all things that make relationships more difficult. In addition to the immediate effects of disregulated blood sugar, there are also long-term effects. Chronic health struggles also put a strain on relationships. When you don’t feel well, it’s hard to connect with others. Chronic health issues are expensive which also can affect relationships.

Making healthy choices is just another tool that you have when you’re taking care of yourself. It’s impossible to do it all at once. Start with small baby step changes. After you start doing them consistently and see positive results, it will encourage you to keep going.

How to start? Pack some nuts for a snack. Put your Fitbit back on. Walk today for 30 minutes with your favorite music or podcast. Walk tomorrow for 30 minutes with your favorite person. Do some reading on the effects of food on mood. Start a food and mood journal. Notice your mood 24 hours after you eat something extra sugary. Drink an extra glass of water. Replace one sandwich at lunch with a non-gluten option this week. Find a favorite tea and have an unsweetened cup of it for a break. While you’re doing this, breathe it in – long deep breaths and notice the warmth of the mug on your fingers. Now go back and just pick ONE of these to focus on for this week.

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