#5 of 7 Ways to Track Progress – You’re in a Better Mood

Yes, this is definitely my DH’s (Dear Husband) favorite way to measure my progress.  lol

5. You’re in a better mood

Have people secretly nicknamed you Stabby, Grumpy, Angsty, Miserable Cuss, or Party Pooper? Does it physically hurt you to smile?

The phenomenon of “hangry” (hungry + angry) is so well known, candy bar commercials joke about it, noting that “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”

You may also not be your best self when you’re deprived of the nutrients your brain needs to keep you sailing on an even emotional keel, without crashing into the rocks.

What progress looks like:

Improving our mental and emotional outlook with good nutrition can show up in surprising ways. Here are some of the things our clients have discovered after consistently improving their nutrition habits.

“I feel…

  • “More confident.”
  • “Like change is possible.”
  • “Better about my choices.”
  • “More knowledgeable.”
  • “Clearer about my goals, and the path to get to them.”
  • “Like I walk tall now.”
  • “Mentally more ‘on’, clearer-headed and less ‘fuzzy’.”
  • “Happier and more positive.”
  • “More open to trying new things.”
  • “Motivated!”

In part, these changes come from the experience of changing habits. When we try something, and succeed, we get a little jolt of inspiration that encourages us to keep going.

These changes also come from the nutrition itself: 

Our brains and bodies have the nutrients and chemical tools they need to do their jobs — to regulate our emotions, to make our “happy neurotransmitters”, and to send those cheery and calming signals where they should go.

How food influences your mood.

The connection between our food, neurotransmitters, and blood sugar regulation means that how we feel depends a lot on what we eat.

Eating too much sugar may make you depressed. One large study on subjects from six different countries found that eating a lot of sugar and feeling depressed were closely related. This may be from chronically elevated insulin — the body’s continuous attempt to clear the constant onslaught of sugar from the bloodstream may cause mood crashes.

Having enough omega-3 fatty acids seems to put us in better moods. Include more nuts, fish, and seafood (like salmon, sardines, mackerel, crab and oysters) in your diet to get these happy healthy fats. (Bonus! Oysters are a great source of zinc too.)

Consuming too much vegetable oil, hydrogenated fats and trans fats may worsen our moods. These omega-6 fats make it hard for our body’s to process omega-3 fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3s are linked to symptoms of depression, being crabbier, and even being more impulsive. (Which can mean poor food choices — a vicious cycle.) Omega-6s may also increase inflammation, which can affect our brains. Many neurodegenerative disorders and mental health issues are linked to brain inflammation.

Eating lean proteins including chicken, turkey, and fish increases your consumption of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a building block of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps us feel relaxed and happy.

If forms are your thing, check out PN’s tracking sheet, to help you tune into how nutrition influences your mood,.

More to come . . . Check back tomorrow as we make our way down the list to number 6.   Better, Stronger, Faster . . . like the 6 Million Dollar Man . . .

1. You feel satisfied after meals
2. You have more energy
3. You’re sleeping better
4. Your clothes feel just a little looser (or tighter)
5. You’re in a better mood
6. You’re stronger and have more endurance
7. It feels more like a lifestyle than a “diet”