Get the right foods for self-confidence!
What is your relationship with confidence and food? Some starve for body image, some binge-eat when they are sad. Some love their food so much that they can’t stop eating, and some believe that food is just a part of being alive. All these habits are relatively destructive, one way or another.
“Eat to Live, or Live to Eat?”
It is quite common for us to have emotional attachments to food & eating. After all, foods contain phytochemicals that when consumed, plays a role in making a difference to our moods, and indirectly affects our confidence.
As a trained Naturopath, I was taught to understand and analyse nutrition to help others overcome their poor eating habits. Self-confidence was one of the biggest things that I would encourage my clients to understand and learn to develop it. But, I am only human. A recent life incident shook my confidence, and something happened.
I started becoming over critical of my own food choices. Like a domino effect, that leads to food restriction when I was stressed. It likens to a rebellious motion against feeling good. The more stressful the situation, the more I restrict. Due to this behaviour, I started to attach negative emotions to foods that I perceive as “unhealthy”, and when I could not get to my salad bar (they are really expensive in Singapore!), I would rather not eat. It soon declined from “just being stressed” to a complete lack of self-confidence. I could not comprehend what was happening, and that lead to an end result of an unhappy me.
Getting back on track
After some therapy sessions, yoga, and acknowledgement for change, I was brought back to my senses about eating right for your health. I was exposed to the idea of “mindful eating”, from just having a meal to appreciating what you are having.
“Banish the guilt, shame, and otherwise negative thoughts you create around food” – Daniella Omar, Integrative Dietitian.
Once in a while, it is fine to have that KFC Fried Chicken (finger licking goodness, anyone?) or a cup of coke – as long as you remember everything in moderation!
There is always truth to the famous quote “You Are What You Eat”. Whatever that you put into yourself, reflects the outcome of your health, especially on your skin! Too much sugar, you will have a zit to deal with later. Too much alcohol and you’ve got to think about detoxing your liver.
Regardless of your relationship to food and your current state of confidence, you should not comprising on eating! Before you embark on a new ‘diet’ with risk of not being able to keep to it, perhaps you should first look into foods that will make you feel better emotionally, which can be ultimately are healthier for you!
So what should I eat?
Here is a list of foods that you should reach for, and can help boost your confidence!
Dark Chocolate/ Raw Cacao
This is referring to like really raw chocolate, where no sugar or milk is added to it. Naturally bitter in taste, dark chocolate or raw cacao is high in antioxidants which get rid of free radicals from your system. Free-radicals are the ones that damage your healthy cells, not a good thing,
Raw chocolate has the ability to increase levels of endorphins in your brain, which leads to a feeling of happiness! The same feeling you get when you fall in love.
Preferred fish options would be salmon, tuna or mackerel, which are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA)! Omega-3 is not made by our body and is crucial for brain health. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one type of Omega-3 that is imperative for improving memory and concentration.
Eat up the oily fishes!
Nuts and Seeds
Don’t eat fish? No worries, here comes some nuts & seeds to save the day! Most nuts are rich in EFAs, but you would have to consume larger portions to match that of the amounts taken in fish.
Reach for nuts like almond and walnut, or incorporate flaxseed or chia seeds into your daily meals. Nuts & seeds can increase your level of serotonin, which is known commonly as a mood balancer! So the next time you sense the mood swings coming on, grab some healthy nuts.
Green Leafy Vegetables
“My staple diet is having mixed rice, cheap and easy!” If this is you, no problems! Make sure with whatever that you are selecting, always select at least ONE green leafy vegetable option. In fact in your daily eats, always have at least 5-6 servings of green leafy vegetables.
Choose Kai-Lan, Bok Choy, spinach, Kangkung, kale, to name a few. This is another source of food that:
- Increases serotonin
- Provides B-vitamins (decreases stress!)
- Also a source of iron (improves blood circulation for increase oxygen!).
Select herbs like lavender, chamomile, or lemon balm – these herbs are excellent in reducing stress levels, allowing you to feel calm and collected, and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when drank as a tea. These herbs are also commonly used as antidepressant herbs, perfect as an anytime pick-me-up!
One of the easiest simplest things to do is to pick up a fruit and munch on it! Bananas top the fruits list as a mood booster, as it naturally contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins. These minerals & vitamins are important for creating hormones required for making you feel better! They are also natural relaxants for both your emotional & physical state.
Aside from relaxants, get in other types of fruits that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, such as kiwi, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and dragonfruit.
To feel good and increase confidence, you got to make sure your immunity is in tip-top condition! The last thing you need is to get through your day feeling sick, which of course will make you feel like you’re at the bottom of the pit!
Aside from food…
Whenever you lose confidence, feel sad or low, or go through some tough times, take a step back and look at things from a bigger picture. What is missing? What is different from before and now that I do not feel good about? Perhaps some time out from work, or some exercise is needed to recharge yourself. Take a holiday perhaps? Or just as simple as getting enough rest?
Remember that it is ok to NOT be ok, but do take measures to take care of yourself, and rebuild that confidence that you need.
Stay healthy, stay awesome, remember to love yourself first.