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Get informed about healthy eating during Nutrition Month 2015

Muddy. Sloppy. Supposed to be spring but it's still snowing. Then raining. Then warm. Then snowing. It's the month of St. Patty's Day, so more sloppiness (drink responsibly!)....

K, but no seriously. March is Nutrition Month! What does that have to do with mental health? Umm…a lot!

Believe it or not, simple things like taking care of your body with enough sleep and a healthy diet can make a huge difference in your mental health. For example, if you struggle with depression and you have a diet that’s high in fat or sugar content and low in nutrition levels, it’s not gonna help out with your energy levels, your mood, or with feeling lethargic, apathetic, fatigued or tired. Whether you're thinking of getting help for depression or are already receiving treatment, a shitty diet can be a crutch in the process of getting well for you.

You don't want to overwhelm yourself with too much change at once, like deciding to get treatment for depression and changing your diet drastically all at the same time if both are a HUGE problem for you. Any change can be veryyyyy difficult and challenging. But you can start easy. Set goals. Not just large, long term goals, but also small, weekly or daily goals so that you know what and how you're going to do it. You can get a friend or a counselor / therapist to help you set your goals and plans too. This can be super helpful and even fun! Take baby steps. Seriously - TAKE BABY STEPS. If you take on too much all at once and overwhelm yourself, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Again, having the support of someone when you're trying to make changes in your life can be very rewarding.

So if you know eating fast food is a problem for you, for example, maybe try cutting down at first rather than cutting it out completely. Let's be serious, even the fittest and healthiest people probably have fast food on a rare occasion here and there. If you have fast food 7 days a week, try reducing it to 5 or 6, then next week or the week after, to 4...etc. Know in advance what you're gonna replace those meals with and have the alternate food choices on hand.

Being aware of your body is an important part of mental health and wellness. Definitely take care of your mind, but aiming for a healthy connection between your mind AND body will help you feel your best. So much of the time when our mental health is suffering, we take it out on our bodies. We internalize our pain and find unhealthy outlets for that pain because we don't know what to do with it. It can really be a full circle or cycle. You really need to find a balance for both so that you're not harming one with the other. This is where working with a counselor or therapist can really come in handy. If you're thinking about it, check out I Need To Talk Someone or Get Ready For Your First Appointment.

For more info about healthy eating and nutrition and ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet, Eat Right Ontario is an awesome website! Also check out their article, A Menu for Good Mental Health.

If you are struggling with eating disorders or think you might be, this is a great time to get informed, talk to someone about it and to reach out for help. Here are some resources to get you started: