Are diet and exercise really that important for overcoming an addiction? You’ve already heard how important diet and exercise is for good physical and mental health but how would this specifically apply to an addiction? Perhaps you’ll be surprised how neglecting these areas of your life are actually making it a lot more difficult to overcome your addictions. While diet and exercise alone will not bring complete freedom they will help significantly.
The Importance of a Good Diet
You are what you eat, though that doesn’t mean you will turn into a vegetable if that’s all you eat. However, eating a balanced and nutritional diet based off of the food pyramid will greatly enhance your mental and physical health. When you eat healthy you feel healthy. When you feel healthy and vibrant you can more easily focus and have the mental and physical energy to make important decisions in your daily life.
Here’s an example. On a day when I eat a a lot of meat or a high fat meal I start to feel low and slow. I’m really just not in the best mood I could be in. Physically I feel I’ve lost my energy and my edge to perform at my best. Mentally my confidence declines and my brain is not sharp and focused. In this state I become more vulnerable to temptation than I was before the meal. Perhaps I will not be able to control my thoughts as well as before. Certainly with an overall decrease in confidence I will not take full advantage of the personal power I possess to make the right decisions when things get tough.
Another thing concerning diet that people don’t consider is how the hormone levels in the body are effected. Certain foods can increase and decrease hormone levels in the body. For example, red meats increase testosterone levels in males. This could be a problem for someone trying to overcome porn addiction or masturbation addiction. The higher these levels are the stronger the sexual tension in the body. There are a number of high protein foods such as cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, and nuts which break down into amino acids and in-turn increase dopamine levels. While normal levels of dopamine are good and healthy, increased levels could be bad. Part of the reason people look at pornography is because they are addicted to the high levels of dopamine released when they look at stimulating pictures or videos. Dopamine makes us sexually excited. The person’s body who has become trained to associate high levels of dopamine with pornography on a regular basis may find it difficult to think otherwise until retrained to think differently. Caffeine is also known to increase dopamine. Sorry coffee drinkers. Too much caffeine can make it tough to have balanced hormone levels and make it more difficult to control your sexual urges. Even when it wears off you are cranky and feeling low and not in the best mood you can be in to control yourself.
There are many foods than can effect your physical and mental health. To make it simple, just stick to the food pyramid and stay away from bad things such as coffee, alcohol, tobacco, or anything you know is not helping.
The Importance of Exercising
Have you ever gone for a run, hated it the whole time you were doing it, then felt great and proud of yourself that you did it afterwards? I know I have. Running is a great exercise but it is only one of many. I have found anything involving cardio to be very beneficial for me physically and mentally. Anytime I have woke up and felt depressed and unconfident I made myself go for a 15 minute run and whala!, I felt much better afterwards. One of the biggest benefits of doing any type of weight training, sport, or cardio workout long enough is the release of endorphins. This bio-chemical acts like a natural pain killer and makes us feel happy. This is just what a person struggling with addiction needs since their mental and physical energy have been sapped by the misuse of the body.
Exercising makes us feel confident and it even helps the body recover more quickly from any form of self-abuse. The body needs time to recover and get everything back into balance when we misuse it but this process can happen quicker if we have a moderate exercise routine. Those who have prevented or overcame illness by exercising certainly know the rejuvinating powers of exercise.
If you combine a healthy diet and regular exercise you dramatically increase your power to overcome addiction. Don’t take this to the extreme and try to work out several hours a day or have the perfect diet. Remember, moderation in all things.
Addiction steals everything good in our lives including these healthy habits. If you think about it then it makes sense. Addiction wants you to stay in addiction and it can more effectively do that by causing you to become unhealthy. And so it tightens its grips on you one area in your life at a time. So make a decision now to get out there and start your new life and new habits and break free of addiction 😉
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