Keto and Depression
What we eat affects more than just our physical well-being — our mental and emotional health are affected as well. Eating carbohydrates increases your production of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Over time, eating a carb-heavy diet makes the body dependent on these higher levels of serotonin in order to feel good. Negative feelings then become strong triggers for cravings — this is why, consciously or not, many people reach for a bag of chips to medicate their depression, anxiety, or stress.
Transitioning away from standard American diet is often accompanied by carb withdrawals. In the early days of a keto diet, these withdrawals may cause you anxiety or depression. With time and support, though, commiting to keto will get your serotonin levels back to a healthy baseline — normalizing your sensitivity to serotonin and reducing your dependency on carbs for happiness. We are here to provide that support! Please to reach out to us if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. If you have a history of depression or are taking medication for it, please contact your doctor as well.
Our brains often respond to big changes with fear. Emotions have powerful effects on behavior; habit and diet change are no different. Connecting emotionally with your goals and vision for your life instead can help shift your response to change.
When you have a moment to yourself, find a quiet space and begin the following practice:
Close your eyes and take five long, deep breaths through your nose. Exhale longer than you inhale.
Consider and connect with the negative feelings you are experiencing. Is it a fear of failure? Self-criticism? Stress? Pay attention to how your body responds to these feelings. Do you feel them in your chest? In your belly? In your shoulders?
Stay with these feelings for five minutes. Release them with deep breaths, focusing on the air moving in and out of your lungs. Counting to five while you inhale and six while you exhale can give you something to focus on.
Next, imagine your goals. Imagine the life you’re working towards. What do you feel excited about, what do you look forward to? Feel your body relax and expand from a place of fear to a place of potential. This new way of life you’ve imagined isn’t impossible and it’s not far away. You are beginning to live it now.
Again, stay with these feelings for five minutes and release them with deep breaths, exhaling longer than you inhale.
Repeat this practice as often as you need — addressing your anxiety or depression goes a long way towards understanding it and moving forward. Again, please reach out to us if you need any support!