Relationships come and go. Here’s how to stay on a whole-foods diet when your heart gets broken.
A breakup – whether it’s romantic, familial, professional or otherwise – can zap your emotional energy quicker than Apple can say heeeeelll no to the FBI.
It can be exhausting meandering through a breakup. Feelings of self-doubt surface, while confusion and regret turn your break-up blues into a lively pity party for one.
And here’s the thing, there are certain foods that sit at the table of sadness more easily than others. Salty, sweet, high-carb, high-fat foods and drinks that play well (at least temporarily) with your elevated cortisol levels, are known to increase your appetite, boost serotonin levels and give bursts of pleasure with each chew and sip. So, it’s no wonder a deep dish of macaroni and cheese never disappoints!
But noshing on gooey comfort food when you’ve got mascara dragging to your chin isn’t always the best thing. During the post-break-up phase, it’s critical to take care of your whole self – mind and body – by eating healthy and sleeping right.
Ditch the diet
Sure, the best revenge might be to show off your 20-pound-less figure, but this is not the time to attempt The Biggest Loser diet. Instead of restricting calories, think in terms of packing more of the good stuff into your existing diet: whole foods that are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, and that will help your body keep hormones in check and stress levels down (like the whole30 diet). Lentils, white beans, avocado, cheese and meat, raspberries, red peppers, sweet potatoes, fish, whole wheat pasta and edamame are excellent sources.
Settle into mindfulness
Learn stress-reduction techniques to identify your feelings and accept the unpleasant ones head on. Admittedly, it’s easier to dive into a carton of rocky road rather than go nuts trying to figure out what went wrong. But, now is the time to pinpoint the real unmet need (most always, it’s love, not food you’re after), and come up with solutions so that you’re not eating for the wrong reasons. (Note: don’t be afraid to bring a board-certified therapist on board if you think it’ll help.) Doing things like focusing on your breathing and thinking about your long-term body goals will go a long way in quelling the junk food urge.
Slow the process
Refrain from shoveling any food – even celery sticks – in your mouth when it comes to stress and binge-eating, advises Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD. Slow down with each bite, and you’ll be better able to identify if you’re eating because you’re physically hungry . . . or just wanting to stuff the unpleasant feelings. And, if you are going to eat a bag of Cheetos, by all means savor the flavor! Dr. Oz says it’s OK to sometimes indulge. In fact, a piece of dark chocolate that features 70-percent cocoa can help lower your blood pressure. Perfect if you’re sad and angry. There’s that!
Settle into sleep
Your body will start to crave sugary foods if you don’t sleep at least 7 to 9 hours every night. When sleep-deprived, your body creates more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin (the signal to eat), and doesn’t let your body’s leptin (the signal you’re full) do its job. This makes it very easy to overeat. So, even though your heart tells you to stay up binge watching The Girlfriends Guide to Divorce on Netflix, know it just might bring on a food-binge come morning. Our advice? Get those zzzz’s and call it a night.