My Anti-Depression Diet: Is It Working? [Can you really out-eat mental illness?]

by Charlotte on November 27, 2013 · 29 comments

legwarmers

Snarky salespeople are also a great anti-depressant.

This poststarted out very different than it ended. I was all set to write another slightly heartbroken post about how my sad was making me sad and the sadness was unrelenting but then I realized – in the course of writing this out – that maybe that isn’t quite true anymore.

A month ago a friend (Hi, Angie!) started a 30-day healthy living challenge. Everyone paid $20 up front and then tallied up points over the course of the month for doing things like exercising, not eating sugar, getting at least seven hours of sleep, having dinner as a family etc. At the end of the month whoever has the most points wins the whole pot. You know the drill, I’m sure you’ve all seen a ton of these. And while I’ve done this type of thing in years past I’ve really lost any enthusiasm for them over the past couple of years, mostly because I’m super competitive and so I find food/exercise challenges can be very triggering.

And yet, also about a month ago I hit my lowest point since moving here and basically didn’t get out of bed for a week. I cried all day every day. I didn’t want to eat anything except candy. I wanted to sleep all the time but was simultaneously irritable and antsy. And – the most telling sign – I only wanted to watch endless marathons of Catfish and Project Runway. (Feel free to judge my viewing habits, I certainly do.) It was bad. In fact, it was the worst I can remember being in a really, really long time. Everything felt so hard.

I knew I had to do something. If not for me, at least for my poor kids who depended on me. But I felt really stuck. I’ve tried so many things to help my mental stuff and it seems like nothing works. Or works for a little bit and then quits working. I’ve tried almost every anti-depressant out there before finally landing on the one I’m on, which really does seem to help me. But I’m already at the highest dose and I don’t dare go any higher nor do I want to add another chemical to my cocktail. (I actually still fantasize about someday not needing to take it all… sigh.) Which is when I came across the book Chemistry of Joy. It broke down “depression” into 3 separate illness (which makes total sense – not all Sads are the same) and basically gave me prescription of lifestyle changes I needed to make to help heal my brain. It was stuff like getting 8 hours of sleep a night, meditating daily, exercising gently and – the hardest part for me – cutting out all refined sugar. (Candy is my crack, yo!) That list look familiar?

challenge

So when Angie approached me about joining her challenge I realized that it basically lined up with all the things I was supposed to do anyhow and I figured the public accountability and group support would help me stick with it. I told her I would do it with two caveats: 1) Since I’m LDS and gambling is verboten (and things like office pools are generally considered gambling), if I won I would forfeit the money. She could donate it to a food bank or use it to do something nice for the whole group or whatever. 2) I wouldn’t participate in the weigh-ins because weighing myself makes me nuts and I also knew I’d likely gain weight as that happens every time I give up sugar. I tend to overeat fruit and dates while transitioning my tastebuds to a less-sweet palate.

I was super wary at first – the absolute last thing I need right now is for my eating disorder to come raging back – but I felt like I was out of other options. I really wanted to try the Chemistry of Joy recommendations and I knew I was going to need some social support to do so. So I told everyone involved way more than they wanted to know about my mental health, paid my money and joined up.

It’s been a rough month. You already know that if you’ve been reading this blog. There’s only one day left of the challenge and I’ve spent the last few days being pretty mad about it. Really angry, actually. I felt like I tried so SO so hard to do it all “right” and I still feel like crap. Unlike other “diets” I’ve tried in the past I wasn’t even tempted to cheat on this one, that’s how desperate I was to fix my broken brain.  Plus everyone else on the challenge was losing weight and feeling awesome with half the effort and there I was in the corner being sullen, grouchy and gaining weight. It felt so ridiculously unfair that I put so much effort into it to not have it work. But then I got an e-mail from Reader M today.

One of the best things about doing this blog – and I am sure you guys get tired of me saying this over and over again – is how much of yourselves that you guys share with me. And even better, how many times your experiences mirror my own. Not feeling alone is a powerful antidote to a lot of the world’s ills! I know you guys give that to me and I hope I give that to you too. (Sometimes. There are times like yesterday’s post about my near-naked treadmill run that I think a lot of you were like “Yeahhhh so glad I can’t relate to this one!”) So when I read M’s letter, a little light went on. She and I have corresponded for years (!) now and even though I don’t know her I feel like I do as we’ve gone through so much of the same stuff. And, like usual, her note was perfect timing as I had just started writing this post.

I have been following your story these past few months with eagerness.  I hope you aren’t offended, but I have ulterior motives…mainly my own sanity. :)
Shortly after I wrote you about gaining weight and craving sugar, I found out I was pregnant (somewhat unexpectedly, but you know…these things happen!).  Anyway, I have struggled with intense migraines the past 3 months.  They are relentless.  I have read about lower carb diets (which I am not on, thanks to morning sickness), and read a bit about your anti-depression diet that you wrote about (with the flax oil, no sugar, etc.).  I was wondering if you felt any better?  Part of these headaches is the “depression” that I feel with them.  I am so sad all the time because I feel so terrible most days!
Have you noticed any relief?? Are you doing the flax oil?  Skipping sugar?
Hope you feel better!  You are a constant joy to read even when you go through a tough spell.  If it is any consolation, we have moved several times…and it is TOUGH!

At first I started to reply to her to tell her that life was still sucking even though I have no discernible reason for said suckage but as I went back over the month and all the changes I’ve made I began to see a pattern:

- The first thing I noticed were my posts here. I went from pretending everything was fine (when it utterly wasn’t) to completely breaking down and writing a bunch of stuff I regretted to accepting the sad to living with it to… moving on from it a bit. The last couple of weeks have had more humor again. I want to make people laugh. I want to laugh.

- The second thing I noticed was my work. For several weeks I did the absolute bare minimum and did even that pretty badly. My editors were understanding but I could tell they were annoyed. But, again, over the past couple of weeks I realized that I was back up to my normal workload and handling it pretty well. It didn’t feel quite so hard as it did a month ago.

- The third thing was sitting on the couch today – all 4 of my kids are out of school for nine days (NINE DAYS) for the Thanksgiving break and normally that can be kind of overwhelming for me (I’m a girl who needs her solitude!) but when I’m depressed that’s a nightmare. But there I sat today, all of us still in our jammies eating popcorn and watching a movie and I was overwhelmed by this incredible sense of peace and well-being. I haven’t felt that in, well, over 6 months. For the first time in a really long time, I wasn’t worried about anything and I was just happy that my kids still think I’m cool and want to hang out with me. Even if I had to watch “Air Bud” with a straight face.

- The fourth thing was my PMS and monthly issues were slightly better this month than they usually are. I only had one day where I was convinced everyone hates me.

It’s subtle. It’s just a jump of two or three shades up the gray scale. But it’s movement in the right direction.

I was totally set to tell M (and you guys) that my experiment was a failure. That the challenge was a bust. I was prepared to be angry and sad and frustrated. But it turns out I’m not. I’m actually doing (knock on wood) better. It wasn’t the huge beautiful transformation I was hoping for – I’m still struggling – but somewhere in the past couple of weeks I’ve moved towards hoping things will get better to knowing that they are. It’s slow. It’s maddeningly slow. But it is working. I think.

So here’s what I did:
- 7-8 hours of sleep became my number one priority. I rearranged my work, my exercise and even my kids a little bit to make sure I got adequate rest.
- 5 cups of greens a day (this was part of the challenge, not the book)
- 8 cups of water a day
- Avoided all refined sugars including all flours. (I still ate some honey and dates. And lots of fruit. Stevia when I absolutely needed a sweetener. Note: I did NOT cut carbs but rather got my carbs more in the form of potatoes, squash and whole cooked grains like rice and quinoa rather than cereals, breads or pasta.)
- Exercised 40-60 minutes six days a week. (But two of these workouts were just long walks outside. Two were strength workouts, one was Zumba and one was running.)
- Got outside, with the sun on my face, every day.
- Used an essential oil diffuser with a blue light every morning for one hour. (This wasn’t from the book or the challenge but there’s a lot of research backing blue light therapy for depression and my friend gave me the orange essential oils which smelled yummy so I just went with it.)
- Prayed/meditated/read my scriptures for at least 20 minutes a day.
- No caffeine or stimulants.
- Family dinner every night.
- Stopped eating after dinner.
- Took fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, calcium every day. (Okay and biotin – still trying to grow my hair back!)

It’s a long list, I know. And it can be intimidating. For me honestly the only one I really had a hard time doing was the sugar. I still crave sugar like crazy and I’m not sure what to do about that. I was set to scrap it after the challenge ends tomorrow but now that I think I am starting to see some results I think perhaps I should stick with it? It could be coincidence but then what do I have to lose really by sticking with my healthy changes?

Have any of you ever done a health challenge? Did you like it or find it helpful? Any of you tried a diet specifically geared towards helping your mood/mental health?? Which one was it and what did it entail? Anyone have any other books to recommend to me??

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Mandy November 27, 2013 at 1:22 am

Oh Charlotte, this post makes me so happy! And yes, I’ve definitely noticed the funnier posts lately and I was hoping that meant you were feeling better, even if it’s just a few shades up the grey scale.

I’ve never tried a challenge simply because I end up feeling guilty about my food and all these good things (getting more sleep, exercising, eating well) end up feeling more like a chore. It’s a weird thing – I’ll do these things normally and they’re good for me but throw the word challenge in there and my brain goes NUH!

But I do know that if I DON’T get enough sleep + eat too much refined sugar, I’m a grumpy bum through and through. Don’t know what I’ll be like when we eventually have kids!!

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Stephanie November 27, 2013 at 2:14 am

Charlotte, you have no idea how happy this post makes me! :) First of all, I’m so glad that you are doing better…. I’ve noticed that can be how it is with depression – it can lift slowly, almost imperceptibly. Second, I have a folder saved of online bookmarks with research and the connection between mental health and diet. I’ve been frustrated because of the lack of personal … testimonies, for lack of a better word … stating whether it did it didn’t work. it’s made sense theoretically, but I wanted something a little more… personal. And knowing my obsessive but undisciplined self, I knew I couldn’t start making the change unless I had more ” proof” – it would never last for me otherwise.

Thank you so much for sharing this! I definitely hope to find the book you are talking about as well.

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Laura P. November 27, 2013 at 4:19 am

It was a year ago at this time, after I went through a major surgery, that I suffered from depression that left me shaking in my boots. It changed my perception of depression, forever. I use to have some sympathy and understanding of depression, but I still thought that positive thinking and lots of healthy food was a cure all.

Uhmmmm….NO!

Now I have so much more empathy for folks struggling from depression. My heart just goes out to them.

Since I started on an antidepressant, I have felt quite a bit better, but I still struggled with inner negative chatter in my head. I kept telling myself that I was a horrible person in some form or another.

Then, I came across a wonderful therapist, via YouTube, named Kati Morton. She specializes in eating disorders and depression. I have never been to a therapist, but after looking at a lot of her videos, I’m not afraid to see a therapist. However, I feel as though I’m getting so much help from Kati at this time, that I dont have to rush out and find one right now.

Anyway, here is her link to her website. (I hope it is okay to share her web page).

http://www.katimorton.com/

One trick and tip I learned from her is to yell back at my inner negative voice, call it out and challenge it’s ridiculous accusations.

For instance, if I’m telling myself that I’m fat and lazy, I talk back out loud and say, “Shutup”! “You know that you are a hard worker. “You are getting up and paying your bills, working, and keeping the house from falling apart. “I’m a good person who is loved and despite so much stress, I keep getting up and take care of my family. “I’m not fat. I’m beautiful and strong. “I love to enjoy and give comfort food to others and it is awesome that I am a chocoholic.”

Well, this isn’t the best example, but maybe you get the idea?

I’m so thankful to you Charlotte. I love your blog and you bring so much to my life.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Rachael November 27, 2013 at 6:04 am

Very glad to hear that you’ve found a lifestyle and eating program that is helping with your depression, Charlotte. I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember and I eventually came up with a very basic set of rules that I turn to when I notice myself slipping back into the depths. It’s sort of like a rational autopilot I can turn to when my non-rational self is in control and not making good, mentally healthy decisions. I rely on these rules when I’m very stressed and overwhelmed with a work/life balance as well, as that tends to trigger my depression and disordered eating.

It has some similarities to your list, but with less specifics: 7-8 hours of sleep (but not more), 3 meals a day, eat clean, cut out the alcohol, exercise, be gentle with yourself (if you slip on one of the rules as well as just the general tone you take with yourself), stay busy but give yourself down time every day, especially before bed, make yourself interact with other people and do something social once a week.

The paths both into and out of depression can be so subtle we barely notice we are making any progress along them. Unlike the path in, which is slippery and can be stumbled along without any conscious thought, the path out requires diligence and stamina. Often we slip back some along the way out, and that’s okay, it’s the overall direction of momentum that matters. Slowly and surely, with the set of tools that are working for you, you’ll make your way back out.

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Penny November 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thank you for being so honest! It is refreshing and helpful in ways you probably don’t always see. I too suffer from some of the things you are describing….i too tried a very similar diet/lifestyle changes that you have here. Everyone is different and responds differently, but if it helps you at all, when I tried these changes it took almost a year for me to see the small changes. Eliminating sugar is really key tho and that takes some time, once you truly get rid of sugar you may find it doesn’t rule your life anymore and you may be able to enjoy it in smalll amounts. I love your posts and hope that you feel better.

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Abby November 27, 2013 at 6:05 am

I’m so so sooo glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better. It can be really hard to get back on your feet. I’d say stick with it all if it’s helping! You’re right, it can’t hurt and you can loosen up a bit once things are less tenuous. I don’t know that I believe there’s any magic lifestyle plan that’ll cure all depression because I mean, if brain chemistry is off then it’s off, but I definitely believe it can help. I just found out my Vitamin D are super low so I’m hoping the high dose pills my dr has me on will help my moods.

You’ve written about your kids and your depression before and I meant to comment then but I think I forgot. My mom has battled depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember and while yes, there are some memories of her putting her head down and crying at the dinner table, the vast majority of my childhood memories are super happy and I’m really close to my mom. I would say she’s a fantastic mother, even with those memories.

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Naomi/Dragonmamma November 27, 2013 at 6:10 am

As wonderful and entertaining as your 30 day experiments always are, I don’t think they’re long enough for you. You seem to have a majorly screwed-up body/mind chemistry, and I think you often switch gears right when the current program starts kicking in and working. I know that three months is a much more daunting time period than 30 days, but it might be what you need to do.

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JLVerde November 27, 2013 at 6:38 am

I love that when you paused for a moment you focused on the positive instead of going the easy path and poo-pooing everything. I’d say that’s a BIG positive in your favor. That’s a good lesson for me, too. So thanks for that.

As for sugar issues, have you ever tried taking cinnamon pills to help regulate your blood sugars? I gave them a try a few months back and I’ve noticed a big change in my cravings. I simply don’t have the 3 p.m. “must have candy” desires now and when I do have candy I find I eat far less (like I just don’t want as much). It helped me once and for all break my pop (or soda, if you will) habit. I battled that issue for YEARS and now I finally feel like I’m “normal” around pop. I even did a 100 day pop free challenge and kicked butt at it (right now I’m over 60 days pop free and I honestly don’t even crave it–the appeal is kind of just gone, or so low it’s like it’s gone).

(not that I’m pushing cinnamon pills, but they aren’t expensive and pretty much harmless–of course if you have health issues you need to double check with your doc before popping supplements)

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Courtney November 27, 2013 at 6:50 am

I’ve never done an official health challenge, but years of depression, anxiety and eating disorders have led me to a certain lifestyle that I truly believe *helps* (note, part of what helps is accepting that I am who I am and I can’t expect to never feel anxious or depressed again, but I can treat myself better when those monsters rear their head) and it largely consists of what you’ve listed. Adequate sleep, sunshine and gentle exercise every day, a healthy diet that includes at least small amounts of meat every day (vegetarianism did no favors for me), time with other grownups, very limited alcohol and no coffee, and using my SAD light every morning in fall and winter are the big ones. I do still allow myself a small sugary treat every day just because I feel deprived if I don’t, and allowing myself to feel deprived is a recipe for disaster (I do not, however, eat packaged foods or gluten, and I limit dairy significantly). Sometimes I get upset that I have to do these things to feel okay, because it seems like such a delicate balance and I hate thinking that if anything messes up my lifestyle just a bit, I’ll crash. But ultimately it is what it is and I am just grateful to have found things that help so significantly.

So I’m glad that you’ve found something that seems to be helpful to you as well. It’s funny how it ends up not being so hard to do these things after all because the consequences from not doing so are so much worse – some of my friends are amazed at the “clean” lifestyle I lead and remark that I must have great willpower, when really that’s not what it’s about at all.

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Heather C November 27, 2013 at 8:58 am

I am glad you are starting to feel yourself edging out of the depression hole. I never had depression issues until recently. After having my twins, my hormones are whacked and around my period I have a huge chemical shift and go from being fine to feeling a horrendous, paralyzing sadness. It sucks and I have been taking supplements that have helped decrease the symptoms. As for health challenges, I did a give up sugar for 3 weeks and recently, I tried to do a 5 day juice cleanse with my husband but only lasted 2 days. Totally changing up what I eat kind of unhinges me and things start feeling out of control so it just wasn’t a mentally healthy thing to do and I quit.

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Deb Roby November 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

I see you coming back. You’re blogging more honestly – not hiding behind an obvious “everything is just fine” facade.. that didn’t really hide anything.

One hint for sweet craving: by cutting out all that sugar you’ve also cut a lot of calories. Calories that your body probably needs.

When you get a craving, eat some fat. A spoonful of coconut oil…a handful of cashews. (both of which have a subtle sweetness to them)…

My doctor has told me that my dietary changes are going to take 1-1.5 years to heal me. Thirty days is just a start down the right path… Keep at it!

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Megan @ Meg Go Run November 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

That is quite an extensive list! I hope it keeps helping you come out of this. :) I know I don’t know you, but I feel like I do- as I’m sure other readers do, and we care for you!

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Jess November 27, 2013 at 10:02 am

I frequently have to ask the hubs how I am really doing. I can’t generally tell if one week to another I am doing better or a little worse. Unless it is a lot worse… I turned down the challenge because I had a lot of stressors at the time and didn’t think I could deal with other changes. Now I wish I had. This month has been FULL of sugar; which I can typically avoid pretty easily, and I can feel it pull me down hard. Major lack of sleep didn’t help though. So even if it isn’t a strong upward path for you, you ARE getting there! You are making the effort, you are continuing on with life, you have successfully stuck to a challenge. All of those are big steps up! Way to go!

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jessica fletcher-fierro November 27, 2013 at 10:16 am

So glad to hear you are moving in a positive dirsction, and so glad writing this helped you see it. I say stick with it. I’m so impressed by ths sugar part!
I want to do a contest like that! I love the idea of points for all positive changes, not just weight.

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Meg November 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

YAY!!! So happy to hear you are noticing an upward trend! This gives me some courage to tackle the diet for headaches. When I was pregnant with #1, I suffered from headaches and I went on a “yeast free” diet (not even fruit). It worked like magic! However, that was not sustainable after the baby was born (and honestly, I didn’t need it after that). Great news Charlotte!

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Liz November 27, 2013 at 10:41 am

As the season of bleak and dreary approaches, I am researching SAD lights and stocking up on St. Johns Wort. (it took the edge off. Barely.)
Recently, I have begun to notice that many of the rough parts of my body and attitude are a result of eating too much sugar. Baked goods are my crack, yo. I have made a sincere and valiant effort to cut back and have noticed positive things. The results of your experiment are encouraging to me! If I can continue to practice some self restraint, maybe things won’t be as rough this winter.
May the power be with both of us this SAD season!
Loves.

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The Bear Cub Bakery November 27, 2013 at 11:58 am

Charlotte, my heart goes out to you! But I’m so proud of you for working so hard to get through this rough patch, especially since I’m sure it feels as if it’s dragging on despite your best efforts.

I’ve been having some Celiac-related health issues for the past year and a half, and I’ve done absolutely everything to make them go away, including spending a $3500 on a doctor who turned out to be completely unhelpful. It’s frustrating to put effort in and get no results, so I totally get where you’re coming from.

Scriptures have always been my “gee, I should totally do that to feel better!” go-to, as has been allowing myself to get more sleep. I think we give ourselves less credit than we deserve for our hectic lives, so I completely support all your healthy efforts of self-care. :)

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Mary Kate November 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm

So sorry you are struggling :( Why do you not want to take another med? (besides the obvious reasons…i hate having to take my chemicals too…)
When I first got diagnosed with depression I initially got better and noticed a difference quickly…but there was still anxiety and mood swings-mostly ups. My psychiatrist prescribed a bi-polar drug to take as well as the depression drug. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt…it was like I was living my life in HD. I didn’t have to struggle so much to be happy and productive.

I tried going off my meds recently …and was very successful for 1 year. (I noticed a huge difference mentally when I went gluten-free so that gave me the courage to try giving them up) I fought it for 6 months and then broke down-literally- and started taking them again. Whew. It felt so good not to struggle everyday to be happy and productive. I hope you can find some peace soon….don’t fight the meds….we need them!! :) ((hugs))

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Sagan November 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

GO CHARLOTTE GO!

I must find me a copy of this book.

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Andrea B. November 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I have complete respect for your plan, and there is a lot to be said for focusing time and effort on yourself. That being said, the scientist in me thinks that having a bout of depression is a lot like having a cold – if you take the echinacea, chicken soup, zinc lozenges, cold medicine, etc, then the cold lasts only 7 days; if you do none of that it lasts a whole week. But people feel subjectively better, sooner, if they do those things than if they don’t. There is a natural cycle to most bouts of depression (and in a given person prone to depression, individual episodes tend to last about the same length of time), and without re-doing the “experiment” and putting yourself on the do-nothing track the next time (at the exact same point in your depression cycle), you won’t really know. If it were me, and there is a combination of 15 different things in your treatment program, I’d ease up on one or two things that you are finding the most difficult to maintain for the next week or two, and re-evaluate. Do you continue to feel “3 shades up the grey scale,” or is there a movement in the other direction again? The analogy is to an elimination diet for determining food intolerances- you start by taking out everything that could possibly be making you sick, then gradually add back one food at a time while evaluating the results.

HTH, and really really hope that you are emerging from this episode, regardless of the cause.

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Azusmom November 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm

What Sagan said. :)
<3

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Guinevere November 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Sugar is my crack, too. But I’m swearing it off for the month of December. . . .December! The month of holiday sweets every stinking day, and boatloads of sweets in the breakroom at work. Because I really, really feel better when I don’t eat sugar, and I have been eating a lot of it this month. Starting Sunday I am off sugar until New Year’s. Wish me luck and mental fortitude to get through it!

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Sam November 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Taking good physical care of yourself can of course help depression. That includes a multitude of things. But framing it as ‘food will solve this problem’ is really not the best thing for me, as a former eating disordered person, to do; I am used to giving food and what I eat WAY too much power over me. Rather, eating properly is part of a whole-life puzzle (job, relationships, family, personal goals, fitness, etc.) that fit together to create both physical and mental health. I do not ever again want to believe that cutting out a food or food group will SOLVE MY PROBLEMS. Or that overeating will, or that undereating will! Sometimes the most liberating realization is that IT IS NOT ABOUT FOOD.

I particularly hate hearing about eliminating or avoiding foods. If anything, not eating ENOUGH carbs made me more depressed in the past.

Mind you, I think eating in a structured way and living a structured life can help with depression. And eating three squares (and snacks when hungry) can be a great method of self-care and organization of your time. But that’s almost incidental to just structuring your time and energy better, if that makes sense.

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Jess November 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I found cutting sugar for a sustained period and eating a balanced snack with protein really eventually did reduce my sugar cravings a lot! I went through a really depressed period recently. I was feeling really sick and stopped being active and getting out. Was a self perpetuating cycle. Sunlight and friends make a huge difference!

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Deb November 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

I just started reading your blog this past month or so, and I am so glad that I do. I love your writing style and your humor is absolutely right for me- really enjoy your posts!

I am so sorry for your bout with depression. Depression is rampant in my family (not my immediate family, though) and I recognize the tone of your writing. My dad had big problems with it, and my mother in law went through a long bout after her valve replacement surgery several years ago. As you have been writing, I keep thinking, oh sweetie, give yourself time. You need time to heal and recover from this- and that is indeed what you are doing. Gradually, slowly, your real self will emerge from this. I’ve seen it happen many times with my father. He was not nearly so proactive in trying to heal himself, though, so to me you are doing yourself proud. The walking and the sun is so good for you- I just read your statement that 2 of your week’s activities were walking and you sort of belittled it. You get powerful benefits from walking, especially outside. It is truly a perfect exercise to me. I work out many of my problems and really do get into a meditative state when I walk.

I hope you continue to find some peace and healing and have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving. You are finding yourself again and I am so happy for you. Keep moving forward, no matter how slow it may seem! :)

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Satu November 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Your program sounds very similar to a program described in Stephen Ilardi’s book The Depression Cure. I think it has the same elements except there’s also a chapter about stopping rumination.

My last health “challenge” was one described in James Levine’s Move a little, lose a lot (aka the NEAT lifestyle). I failed miserably and in my opinion the program was unrealistic in that it expected people to be able to change their lives very fast. What I got from is was that I purchased a pedometer which I’ve been using for 3 years. And I stopped using bike and started walking instead. :-)

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Samantha vi November 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I’m wondering if in a edition to your usual depression you may be starting perimenopause. Women can start as young as early 30s, although most start around 39-42, and it can last 10-12 years. The changes in my anxiety and depression were terrible and have only increased every year. I was naturally balanced through diet, exercise, fish oil, and vitamin d before this.

I do a bunch of different oils and supplements now and it helps. But the mental healtn changes were disturbing initially.

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Ruth December 1, 2013 at 5:04 am

Hi Charlotte,
Have you seen http://www.iquitsugar.com or the21daysugardetox.com ? I don’t know if a program is necessarily helpful but they have a lot of information about sugar. I know my mood can certainly change if I’ve had a significant amount of sugar. And I generally think cravings aren’t great — of course you don’t want to deprive yourself, but on the other hand, think about what’s in a lot of candy. Many of the ingredients probably didn’t even exist a hundred or a few hundred years ago. So your body isn’t necessarily giving you a good message when it’s telling you to crave candy. I also think those things are designed to be addictive.

I’m glad things are slowly improving! It’s very hard to quantify changes in ourselves, and even harder to pinpoint what specifically affected it when there are always so many variables in life.

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mt December 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

You chose the bes treatment anyone can get. But every case of depression is individual. I found a great site about treating depression with diet just like you did. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/01/celebrity-tips-for-beating-depression/

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