You are what you eat?

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I'm a very quiet, introverted person who has had anxiety issues for a long time. Officially Generalized anxiety which I believe just means 'you worry all the time, and we don't know why!' I'm 37 and it's really been all of my life. I have never had anxiety medication.

About 20 years ago I had stomach problems that went away entirely when I cut out milk. So years later, when I started having stomach problems again I went to the doctors, and asked to be tested for Coeliacs disease. The tests came back negative.

I have always had quite a high carb. diet, and I thought this might be causing me problems. I cut out most carbs from my diet as a temporary experiment. Two weeks and my stomach wasn't much better.

I was aware that even though my stomach still felt rotten I felt great. I had been enjoying peoples company, I felt able to concentrate more, and It seemed to me that my memory was way better. I figured maybe my mind was playing tricks so I went back to high carbs (I'm quite skinny and I was worried I wasn't eating enough)

It was back to the old me very quickly. Like there's a barrier around me, and I'm not quite following conversations, I have problems listening to people, and responding appropriately. My anxiety is in overdrive. I'm wondering If I might actually be onto something or this is some kind of placebo! I know that the mind can play funny tricks.

Does anyone else have any experience of diet changing their anxiety / social skills?

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi,

    I've had similar problems to you; I was diagnosed with coeliac disease a couple of years ago. I've suffered from bouts of extreme anxiety for the past couple of years. I'm currently in one now, but since changing my diet and eating a lot more fruit and vegetables, and pretty much cutting out sugary/fatty foods, I have started to feel better. I am more awake, I feel generally 'well' and have had the confidence to go out recently (my anxiety had been so bad this time, I've hardly left my house since August). I definitely think a change of diet will help, and lots of exercise has been a great help to me too!

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  • Posted

    Hi Rosie,

    Food and weight can cause anxiety for many people. Is it possible that this may be a trigger for you?

    Yes, definitely when you are not feeling your best, it may affect how you socialize with others.

    Best to try and live a healthy lifestyle and get plenty of exercise.Try a meditation class to calm your mind. Pilates and Yoga also can have the same effect.

    The mind is a powerful tool and can have great effect over the body. Do take care of yourself.

    E

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  • Posted

    Hi Amy and Esther,

    Thanks for replying, and sharing your knowledge smile That is exactly it Amy, I felt much more awake. Like I had a bag over my head for years and it was suddenly removed!

    I agree with you too Esther. Exercise, and lifestyle are important. Yoga always makes me restful and gets me a good nights sleep. I've been an avid exerciser for years because it fends off depression, but I never found it improved my social skills. I had an accident about 6 weeks ago that prevented me from exercising so vigorously. The lack of movement may have increased my anxiety so perhaps that stomach was pure nerves. That fact that I wasn't exercising, and seemingly got the improvements purely from food amazes me. Especially since I had a pretty healthy diet before (I'm not a convenience / junk food eater!) Just somewhat heavy on the carbs.

    I'm definitely going to get organized, plan meals more carefully, and give it another go real soon.

    If anyone else has any knowledge or experience of this please share. I find it fascinating!

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  • Posted

    So glad to see you are feeling much better Rosie. Hope your accident wasn't to serious and you have recovered fully. I get very restless and stressed when I don't exercise a few times a week. My weekly regime is by no means strenuous. But it does wonders for my head and soul!

    Just get back into your routine sooner rather than later. You already seem so much happier just writing about it.

    Best wishes

    E

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  • Posted

    Hi Esther, It was not that serious. A recurring leg injury, I just had to be cautious for a while. Getting back into the swing of things now.

    But I practice avoidance of contact with other people because I have always felt so uncomfortable. For many years I tried very hard, but my communication problems have left me quite isolated.

    Exercise has never helped with that to any real extent, but it does make me happier. I feel I would be much happier with friends that I could enjoy talking to! So I will defiantly experiment a bit more with my nutrition.

    Thanks for your kindness smile

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  • Posted

    As with anything in life, practice makes perfect. Take small steps. Go out and keep talking and spending time with people. You will get there. You will find your group of friends, so long as you stop avoiding and start socialising with people.
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