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How to Prevent Diet-Induced Mental Fog

How to Prevent Diet-Induced Mental Fog

We’ve all been there.

We decide to start eating healthy and it all goes well for a while. Then, one stressful day we realize that we have nothing to eat for dinner. We’re hungry, we’re tired, and we just can’t seem to think of anything healthy to eat. The fridge appears empty and it’s actually hard to remember why we wanted to eat healthy in the first place.

This is what I like to call diet-induced “mental fog“ or “brain fog.”

This is the feeling we get when we’re hungry, can’t think of anything healthy to eat, and can barely remember why we want to avoid unhealthy food.

When this happens, our chances of a full-blown junk food binge increase substantially.

It’s Not A Matter Of “If,” But “When”

This mental state will occur sooner rather than later. You scared? You should be!

But there is no need to panic because I have a few tips that can circumvent this sort of situation.

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This involves writing down solutions to your problems while you are clearheaded and having them on hand when your brain suddenly decides to turn into an organic vegetable.

There are five different lists that can help here.

Planning Meals Ahead Of Time

Planning your meals ahead of time can work wonders. You will never have to worry about what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because you’ve already planned it.

You can do this once per week, once every two weeks, or perhaps just a few days in advance.

This way, you will know what you need to buy at the supermarket and you won’t find yourself standing ravenously hungry in front of an empty fridge (or a colorful and tempting vending machine).

Write Down What You Lose By Avoiding Bad Food

I recommend writing a list of the sacrifices you make by avoiding unhealthy foods.

This can include things like, “can’t eat cakes at birthday parties,” “can’t eat my way out of feeling blue,” or “will have to cut back on my favorite food, pizza.”

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Write Down What You Gain By Choosing Healthy Foods

This list should include all the benefits you believe you will gain by eating healthy foods to boost your metabolism.

This list might include things like, “I’ll look good in clothes,” “I’ll look good naked,” “I’ll feel comfortable in my own skin,” “I won’t feel like people are judging me,” and “I will live a longer, healthier life.”

Compare These Two Lists And Make An Informed Decision

These two lists are the facts. You wrote them when you were fully conscious and clearheaded. Now look at both lists and compare them.

Which is more important to you? The things you lose by avoiding junk foods or the things you gain by eating healthy foods?

Make a logical decision. Most likely you will think that the benefits of eating healthy far outweigh the negatives. Write it down on your list.

It could say something like: “I have made a logical decision that the benefits of eating a healthy diet far outweigh the negatives.”

Say it out loud and repeat it a few times!

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A List Of Healthy Fast Food Places

There are actually many “fast food” places out there that do serve healthy food.

One place that I like to go to serves foods that are mostly unprocessed, organic, and made with ingredients that are natural.

Many places that generally serve unhealthy food do have healthier options. Many burger joints may also serve a steak with a baked potato. Some places have bacon and eggs or a chicken salad.

Look around, call, ask your friends, look on the internet. You will find these places if you look.

Write them down. Have a list of 5-10 “fast-food” places that you can eat at that are reasonable alternatives to a healthy, home-cooked meal.

A List Of “Dirty” Meals

Sometimes, we get these cravings for something energy dense and “dirty” like a hamburger or a pizza.

When this happens, we might even feel disgusted by the thought of eating healthy stuff like fish or vegetables.

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During these moments, having a list of “dirty” but still relatively healthy meals can help.

My go-to dirty meals are:

  • 5-6 eggs, fried in butter, mixed with fatty cheese and garlic. Fry until cheese gets a grilled texture.
  • Ground beef, fried in butter with fatty cheese, salt, pepper and some garlic. Fry until cheese gets a grilled texture.

These meals taste somewhat like they might be related to junk foods, but they are actually much better choices than actual junk food.

Your Emergency Manual

I recommend you write these lists on your computer and print them out. Possibly print several copies.

Keep them with you where they might be needed — in your glove compartment, on your fridge (or hidden near it), in your desk at work.

Look at it like your emergency manual. This is your go-to manual for what to do to survive a junk food craving “emergency.”

When the mental fog sets in, having lists like these to remind yourself why you are eating healthy and what you can do to get a healthy meal can literally make or break your weight loss efforts.

Featured photo credit: istockphoto via media.istockphoto.com

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Jae Berman

Health Writer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

More About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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