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How to Prevent Diet-Induced Mental Fog

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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.

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Featured photo credit: istockphoto via media.istockphoto.com

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Jae Berman

Health Writer

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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