Different sugars – are natural sugars better than table sugar?

Sugar….. that white crystal powder that makes food sweet. The majority of people have heard that sugar isn’t good for you, that it can lead to negative health consequences. Some people talking about sugar addiction. A debate between sugar and sweeteners, many believing sugar is better because it is “natural”….. but forget that there are plenty of “natural” foods that would be incredibly dangerous or toxic to consume, so natural doesn’t mean healthy.

So I thought I would do a little break down of sugar and different types of sugar.

Are dates and dried fruit better than white sugar? What about agave syrup compared to high fructose corn syrup? Is fruit sugar actually bad?

I have a previous post about sugar vs sweetener, which you can read HERE. There are a lot of different sweeteners, so to get into all of those I would have to dedicate a post just to them. So instead I will just mention them a little in this post and compare them to sugar.

So let’s start off with…. What is sugar and what other names/types of sugar are there?

So white sugar which we all know as caster sugar or cane sugar, or in other terms: Sucrose which consists of two monosaccharides, glucose and fructose. [Glucose is typically found in some fruits, vegetables and honey. Fructose is found mainly in fruit. And there is also galactose which is a single sugar molecule and is found in milk and dairy products]

In the body, sugar (Which I will now refer to as sucrose or table sugar) breaks down into glucose and fructose. The enzyme sucrase has to break down glucose and fructose which have two different absorption methods in the body. Glucose is absorbed directly and used as energy, both for your brain and muscles while fructose goes to the liver first where it is either then converted into energy or stored as fat (if there is an excess of calories).

There are other forms/names of sugars:

Lactose: This is the sugar found in milk and is built up from galactose and glucose. This is why dairy products usually have some sugar in them because of this natural sugar content.

Fructose: This is the sugar found in fruits, vegetables and honey. It is a single molecule/simple sugar.

Glucose: Typically found in starchy vegetables, such as potatoes. Dextrose is also comprised of only glucose, and this is because glucose is the main source of energy for the body as well as the only energy source the brain uses. It is the quickest energy source and also spikes the blood sugar.

Corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is usually 100% glucose, whereas high fructose cornsyup is a mixture of glucose and fructose, just like table sugar.

Other types of sugars: Icing sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, maple sugar, dextrose.

Sweeteners:

Sugar alcohol: So sugar isn’t really sugar, but it is a carbohydrate and consists of a chemical structure that is similar to sugar and alcohol. It is also called polyols, and they are considered sweeteners. They aren’t fully absorbed or metabolized in the body meaning that they contribute with less calories than sugar. These sugar alcohols are also called, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol. Because the structure of these polyls can resemble alcohol structure, some people can get digestive issues from these sweeteners.

With this in mind, you realise that it is not just white table sugar or syrup that has sugar… but many other foods, including vegetables, fruits, dairy. But this isn’t a bad thing, as mentioned above glucose, fructose and lactose (a disaccharide) are infact natural sugars. They provide energy and your body needs glucose found in example starch vegetables and also in fruit.

However, just like with table sugar too much sugar whether it is from potatoes, dates or mangoes isn’t good either. They also spike your blood sugar, insulin is released and too much energy does get stored in the body. However, glucose is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver which is important as the body closely regulates blood so if haven’t eaten for several hours and your blood sugar begins to dip, glycogen will be broken down from your muscles and used to increase your blood sugar.

“In the process of breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, the body is unable to distinguish between sugars that are added to foods and sugars that occur naturally in foods, since they are chemically the same.”

The difference between glucose and fructose is that glucose is absorbed rather instantly in the intestines and goes straight into the blood and can be used as energy for your muscles and your brain. Whereas fructose first has to go through the liver and then be absorbed by the blood, so it doesn’t have the same quick response and release of energy as glucose.

So, what about table sugar or high fructose corn syrup that consists of both glucose and fructose…. This is where sugar/HFCS stands out compared to just fruit or vegetables that consist of single sugar molecules. Table sugar and syrups have to first be broken down by the enzyme sucrase, then the glucose is absorbed in the intestines and then the fructose has to go to the liver where it is metabolised before being released into the blood stream as energy or converted into triglycerides or stored as fat.

The difference between fruit and white sugar, example candy or soda:

Well first off, fruit contains a lot more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than candy or soda. You have to chew fruit (well, you chew candy as well), there is fiber that is important for your gut bacteria, and of course you get vitamin C which is also an antioxidant. The fructose does of course have to go to the liver to be released into the bloodstream, but the amount of fructose you get via 1-2 fruits is very little compared to the amount of fructose/glucose you get via 1-2 handfuls of candy or chocolate. Not to mention, when it is dairy chocolate you are getting lactose sugar as well as fructose and glucose.

Candy or soda basically only have sugar and very little nutrients.

What about fruit or vegetables compared to example buns or cakes? Cakes, buns, cookies all have a lot of sugar… but they also have other ingredients such as butter and flour. So the butter, which is a fat will also slow down the emptying of the stomach and therefore the digestion of nutrients as well as flour containing gluten which is a protein. So yes, you get a lot of sugar but you also get fat (mostly saturated) and white flour (which of course is processed), but you could look at it like cakes/buns/cookies etc would be better than straight up sugared candy or sugared soda. The same goes with chocolate, you could look at it like you are infact getting some dairy which contains calcium (if you consume dairy chocolate), or if you eat dark chocolate you will be getting some antioxidants and iron as well… even if it is miniscule amounts it still contains a little more nutrition rather than just syrup/sugar.

So how does example baking syrup compare to agave syrup or honey?

Agave syrup or honey, just like baking syrup is straight up sugar. There isn’t so much difference aside from agave syrup and honey maybe having 5% more nutrients than regular baking syrup.

What about dates as sweetener compared to white sugar or syrup?

Being objective and sticking to the facts… then dates and dried fruit as sweeteners is rather similar to white sugar or syrup. Granted, it is mostly fructose and not fructose and glucose. But 100ml of dates/date syrup compared to 100ml sugar or syrup, it is similar in sugar content. Of course, if you are using whole dates they will have a little fiber… but they are mostly just fructose i.e sugar, and the same goes for white sugar. But dates and date syrup is a lot more expensive.

Of course, I do believe that using dried fruits as sweeteners is better than white sugar or syrup which consists of 2 sugar molecules. But you can’t forget that dried fruit or agave syrup or date syrup consist of a lot of sugar which will spike your blood sugar and be stored as excess energy. So using those isn’t necessarily that much better, but if you enjoy using them… use them. Just don’t drown your oatmeal, pancakes or toast with them and thinking it is healthier. (Of course, healthier is a relative term as for some that might infact be healthy).

It’s all about marketing:

Date syrup, coconut sugar and any other fancy sugar substitutes have all been marketed as healthy and better than sugar, but nutritionally they are pretty much the same as sugar. Just that some may have a difference in what sugar molecules they are made up of. The best would be to go for sugars made up mostly of glucose. The “healthy” marketed sugar alternatives are just pricy and not always worth the money.

Of course… if you prefer using them and can afford them… then go for it. They do give a different texture and taste which you may prefer in your baking. Just don’t begin pouring agave syrup over your oats or adding coconut sugar to your fruit smoothies or eating 15 dates a day (unless you have a reason for it such as low blood sugar, athlete or need to gain weight). Sugar is still sugar and will break down into the same molecules and have the same effect in the body whether it comes from syrup, honey or raisins.

So how much sugar should we consume? How much is too much sugar?

The recommendation for sugar is c.a 25-35g per day, or about 5-6 tsp. Or nutritionally, only 5-10% of your total calories should come from sugar. Meaning, if you have a requirement of 2000kcal, only about 100-200kcal of those should come from sugar. I.e 1 330ml coke is 35g sugar and your total sugar for the day (according to recommendations). However the majority of people consume double or triple this amount daily.

In the future I might make a post about “Hidden sugar” in certain foods which many aren’t aware of. That is of course not to scare you or make you avoid those foods completely, just to become aware of certain foods that may need to be limited and not eaten on a daily.

To be noted, is that you could also see the sugar recommendation as c.a 210g sugar per week… meaning that you may have one day a week where you eat a bunch of candy and chocolate and drink some wine, but the other 6 days you keep your sugar intake minimal (not including fruits). Or maybe you are someone like me, who likes to have a little bit of chocolate a few times a week and instead of having one day you eat a lot of sugar I keep it minimal/moderate each day. So find what works for you in regards to your sugar intake.

**Important to remember that consuming sugared soda or candy with lots of sugar isn’t the same as eating fruit or if you eat a meal and then some fruit. Because of the fiber and chewing involved when eating the majority of fruits – not all of them, it will give you more satiety as well as vitamins and minerals. If you eat a full meal consisting of protein, carbs and fats, the fat in your meal will actually slow down the emptying of your stomach and your digestion (this isn’t a bad thing… unless maybe you are going to run a half marathon and want quick energy, then eating primarily glucose may be beneficial) and the release of sugars won’t be as quick compared to if you just drink soda or eat candy, where the break down and release of sugar into the blood stream will happen rather quickly.

Which also leads me to: Carbohydrates, i.e which include sugar molecules, begin to break down in your mouth when you chew as you have enzymes in your saliva which begin to break down the sugar molecules. So when you drink sugared soda or eat candy where 50% is glucose, some of the sugar will be broken down and absorbed rather instantly… which can be a good thing if you are feeling faint, need quick energy or have low blood sugar.

Juices and smoothies? Not as much fiber, a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but there will also be a lot of sugar that will spike your blood sugar rather quickly because so much of the fiber – and chewing – is gone when you drink juice and smoothies. Of course you do still get lots of nutrients and vitamins, so it is better to give your child – or yourself – a fruit smoothie than a McDonalds milkshake, but don’t underestimate the amount of sugar in a fruit smoothie.

Excessive sugar intake isn’t good, whether it comes from table sugar, date syrup or mangos. It does spike blood sugar, which in turn can increase risk of developing diabetes or metabolic damage. Not to mention the damage on teeth from consuming too much sugary products. But as previously mentioned, fruit is not the same as eating candy. And nutritionally dried fruit contains more nutrients than candy so it is better to opt for that for the majority of time, but at the end of the day too much sugar whether it is from sugared candy, sugared soda or 10 banana smoothies isn’t healthy or recommended.

I know some people may not agree with this post and may think that “Natural” sources of sugar are better and when it comes to agave syrup in comparison with high fructose corn syrup I will always recommend agave syrup in first hand. Just like I will tell people to opt for dates with peanut butter or go for a fruit instead of grabbing a handful of sugared candy. But at the end of the day, all of those need to be limited and whichever you choose to consume in moderation and limited amounts is up to you because they are all similar in the body anyway.

Final notes, try to avoid added sugars and the clearly obvious sugary products i.e cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy, soda, syrups etc

Dealing with stomach pain: Elimination method, FODMAP & tips to cope

Many people in todays society deal with stomach pain and discomfort, to certain degrees. Some people just get a little pain from time to time after overeating or maybe eating certain foods, while others can barely live a normal life due to their stomach issues.

In the past, I was the latter. I struggled with a lot of stomach issues and pain.

In this post I am giving you some tips on what you can do to figure out what causes your stomach issues via an elimination method. Though I do advise you to seek help from both a doctor and dietitian so that you don’t end up restricting your intake far too much and far too long so that you end up unhealthy or with nutrient deficiencies.

I have written a post about FODMAP and IBS, which you can read here.

Also a post about dealing with bloating HERE

As well as a post about eating a high fiber diet, which can often lead to cramps and digestive issues, HERE

When you are dealing with stomach pain or digestive issues it can easily lead to a very restrictive diet, either because you don’t want to eat something that triggers the pain, but you don’t know what causes the pain and therefore restrict everything you think might cause pain. Or you infact become scared of certain food because you don’t want the stomach pain and therefore cut it out and get scared to eat those foods.

FODMAP

When someone has IBS they are often recommended to try doing FODMAP with the help of a professional. FODMAP is not a longterm diet or way of eating, it is a way of eating for a (short) period of time to help figure out which foods that cause flareups and stomach issues and which foods you can tolerate.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”

Common FODMAPs include:

  • Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
  • Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
  • Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
  • Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
  • Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.

These carbohydrates/fibers don’t fully digest and some become nutrition for gut bacteria while others don’t digest at all and can therefore cause bloating, gas, cramps.

In some individuals, FODMAPs are poorly digested, so they end up reaching the colon. They draw water into the intestine and get fermented by hydrogen-producing gut bacteria.” (Healthline.com)

A low FODMAP diet means you eat very little or no foods which contain those carbohydrates/fibers. I.e limiting the amount of foods which can cause symptoms.

When following the FODMAP diet for a period of time you are very restricted in what you can eat, and even more so if you are vegan. (I had to try the FODMAP diet for 3 days during one of my university courses and I didn’t eat much those three days as I was so restricted in food choices.) But overtime you begin to reintroduce foods and eventually have a much more varied diet and will hopefully have figured out which foods you can tolerate and you may even figure out which foods you tolerate in smaller doses and which you can consume in larger doses. However along with FODMAP you also have to look over your lifestyle and the way you eat.

Sometimes the problem may not actually be the food, but it may be that you are very stressed, that you are anxious around food, that you don’t actually sit down to eat or you eat your food within 5 minutes while standing or on the go. All of these can cause stomach issues, but also foods such as gum, carbonated drinks, alcohol, certain sweeteners and caffeine can lead to gas, stomach issues and caffeine can heighten anxiety which can lead to stomach discomfort or pain.

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HOW YOU EAT:

So along with looking at what you eat, you also have to look at how you eat. Changing how you eat and even where you eat can make a big impact on your stomach issues. If you are eating in very stressful environments or you don’t have time to eat, then you can easily feel anxious and stressed or you don’t really enjoy or chew your food and all of that can lead to stomach discomfort. So making time to eat while resting and preferably sitting and in quiet environments can make a big difference.

As mentioned above, a FODMAP diet should be done with the help of a professional, otherwise it is easy that your diet becomes far too restrictive and that you don’t actually begin implementing certain foods again, instead you just stick to the “green” foods. It is also important to note, that everyone is different. Some people with IBS may be able to consume foods that are listed as red, while they get stomach pain while consuming certain foods that are green. So you do have to try

different foods and see what works for you.

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WRITE A FOOD DIARY

If you don’t have IBS, just stomach issues, the first thing you can do is to write a food diary for 2-3 weeks.

Write down what you eat, what time you eat, the environment/situation when you ate and even how you felt before/during/after, along with any symptoms you felt during or after the meal.

This will help you get a better overview of what and how you eat as well as tracking symptoms.

After 2-3 weeks it will give you better understanding and overview, compared to just a few days or one week of tracking. The important thing is to eat just as normal… don’t begin cutting out food or changing your diet. Write down everything, even the handful of nuts, the latte on the go or the piece of chocolate you eat standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook.

The diary may just be for you to analyse and get a better understanding of how/what you eat, but may even be useful if you do go to a doctor or dietitian for help.

Once you have written the food diary, begin to look over it. Are there certain meals with certain ingredients that cause symptoms or flareups? Are there certain situations that cause pain and discomfort… such as the rushed lunch during school/work, or maybe the dinner straight after training or the lunch you ate while super stressed?

Once you have found out which meals or situations cause the most flare ups it can be easier to make adjustments.

However, now is when the long process begins. The important thing is to not cut out everything at once…. Instead, you do it one by one. If you think that maybe garlic, onion, chickpeas and gluten cause stomach pain… then begin by just omitting garlic from your meals and diet for a week… see what happens and how you feel. Then the next week omit onion and add in garlic (depending on how you felt the previous week i.e symptoms or no symptoms). It is a long process of finding out what works.

You could of course group certain foods together such as all beans, all sweeteners, all foods with gluten, onion and garlic, all dairy products etc and then one week remove all the foods in one certain group, and slowly reintroduce them one by one. Because it may be that you are sensitive to chickpeas but not to blackbeans, or it may be that you can’t tolerate aspartame but you are fine with stevia.

I would also recommend that you do infact limit your caffeine intake (coffee, black tea, energy drinks) as well as not chewing gum or sugar free pastilles, as they can all cause stomach discomfort.

I do also want to note that many believe they are gluten intolerant and cut out all products with gluten, however many products that include gluten also include certain fibers that are hard to break down. So it may not be the gluten you are sensitive too, but the fibers.

Which is an important thing to note, fibers can cause stomach discomfort and pain. There are certain fibers that are hard to break down and cause gas and bloating. So limiting fiber intake and drinking plenty of water can be one step if you don’t want to do the whole elimination process. Though then you won’t be able to tell which foods cause pain or symptoms if you eliminate them all at once.

I also recommend that you keep your meals very simple, just 2-4 different ingredients. The more ingredients and foods you eat in a meal the harder it can be to digest as well as figure out what causes your pain or discomfort.

FOODS THAT CAN CAUSE STOMACH PAIN

There are certain foods that are more likely to give stomach discomfort and they are:

Beans and peas – this is due to their fiber content and that the fibers are hard to break down

Sweeteners – Many sweeteners aren’t broken down or absorbed in the body and therefore lead to gas and bloating

Carbonated beverages, sugarfree pastilles, gum – the bubbles in carbonated drinsk along with both caffeine and sweeteners, basically a triple whammy. With gum, when you chew you are swallowing air which can lead to gas and bloating, as well as gum usually having sweeteners (even if it’s only very small doses)

High fat meals – including creamy and/or, oily dishes. Typically fast food, dairy full fat (specifically cream) or certain takeout meals such as Chinese. Fat leads to feeling full quicker and is also harder to break down compared to carbohydrates. It can also often lead to heartburn. Many find that eating fat sources from avocado, nuts, nut butters and seeds don’t cause the same stomach issues.

Food with lactose or gluten – many cut out lactose and gluten thinking they are intolerant to them. Some may be, but as already mentioned. Many foods with gluten also include hard to break down fibers which may be the issue and not the gluten. With lactose, many can’t handle a lot of lactose or they don’t have enough lactase enzyme which breaks down the dairy. Though this isn’t so strange considering that dairy is actually for baby cows, and not for humans… or well, not in the huge amounts that many consume dairy products now a days.

Too much fruit – Fruit has a lot of fiber but also fruit sugar which can cause certain individuals discomfort if they eat too much of it. And by that I mean eating maybe 4-6 fruits in one go.

Note, just because i mention these foods doesn’t mean that YOU are sensitive to them. Everyone is individual and everyone reacts differently to different foods. You may be able to digest those in small amounts, ,aybe not at all or maybe they don’t trigger you at all.

When you are dealing with stomach pain, it is easy to get scared of food because oyu don’t want to deal with the stomach pain. But you can not completely restrict yourself, the best is to get proffessional care, but if you can’t because of reasons- Then remember to not completely cut out food and if you do cut out food youshould try to reintroduce it. Otherwise your diet can become very restrictive. Also be reintroducing it into your diet after not eating the food(s) for a while you can better understand what is causing stomach pain.

Also remember, if you do think you are sensitive to gluten and want to get it checked. Youahve to eat gluten to do the tests… so don’t cut out gluten and then get checked because the results won’t show any intolerance/allergies then.

Stomach issues and pain is complex. Many get the diagnosis IBS because doctors can’t find any other diagnosis that causes the pain. But IBS is about more than just food, as previously mentioned. Stomach issues aren’t always due to food, but due to other factors which also makes it hard to treat. It often requires changes in diet, lifestyle and way of eating.

It is incredibly debilitating to live with stomach pain, I did for several years. Many plans that were cancelled, many evenings I lay curled in a ball on my bed with extreme pain, many tears due to the discomfort and a lot of constant bloating. What helped me was to go vegan and start eating plantbased, but of course that also meant letting my body adapt to a higher fiber diet. I can still get stomach pain from certain foods, but I have learnt to figure out which foods cause me pain and also know that too much of certain food will give me discomfort… and then it is up to me to make the decision whether I want to eat the food and deal with the discomfort afterwards or to just skip the food or choose something else.

For stomach pain and nausea ginger or peppermint tea can help, as well as having something warm on your stomach.

If you are dealing with a lot of stomach pain, I highly recommend you go to both a doctor and a dietitian. Be persistent with your doctor so that you get all tests done, just to rule out any serious conditions. However, I do also recommend that you keep a food diary for 2-3 weeks, get an overview of your symptoms, how and what you eat and see if your symptoms may just be due to anxiety and stress and certain foods such as caffeine, sweeteners and high fiber.

(From personal experience I can also add that when I am very stressed and anxious, then I can get stomach pain and bloating even if I am eating the same as usual. So it is important to look at your stress and anxiety levels).

Food as medicine?

So recently i have seen that there has been some talk abd articles about “food being medicine” and i don’t fully agree.

Just like the picture which shows medicine and then fruit and vegetables on the other side and says that fruit and vegetables is your medicine.

Sure good nutrition is important for everyone. Good nutrition and a healthy balanced diet affects your mental and physical health and can reduce the risk of illnesses. However it doesn’t prevent all illnesses.

And yes good nutrition can be part of treatment for certain illnesses but it doesn’t always replace medicine and it can infact be dangerous and incredibly unhealthy to skip medication. Example if you have cancer and skip medication and treatment thinking that eating fruit qnd vegetables will cure you.

I am all for alternative medications and herbal medicine however i also know that “regular” medicine is also important and there is a reason it exists.

Ex. I take herbal medication for my CF and try to limit my use of antibiotics but i know that sometimes i need antibiotics to keep me healthy. And eating fruit and vegetables won’t cure me from the bacteria i have in my lungs.

Also it does frustrate me when people write that fruit and vegetables will cure all illnesses and nobody needs medication. That is incredibly dumb.

I eat a balanced diet and get all the nutrients and energy i need HOWEVER my hody doesn’t absorb all the nutrients i eat and so i need supplements and there is nothing wrong with that. Just like i need to take medication daily to stay healthy… and that’s just life for me with cystic fibrosis. No matter how healthy my diet is… it won’t cure my illness. Sure it helps… i would be alot sicker if i ate an unhealthy diet and didn’t exercise. But at the end of the day i need medication daily if i don’t want to diet before the age of 25.

Just like with depression, sure eating a balanced diet, getting in daily doses of omega 3 and moving your body weekly can be oart of treatment and help you feel better. Some people may need medicine as well and there is no shame in that. Eating fruit and vegetables won’t magically cure anxiety but it won’t make it worse either.

And when it comes to cancer, a balanced diet and exercise can help the person feel better but it doesn’t replace treatment. And if the person has no appetite and no energy its better they eat something than nothing at all.

Good nutrition with a balanced diet and regular exercise can do wonders and is recommended for everyone but there is no shame in needing medication.

Of course when it comes to certain lifestyle illnesses you can’t just take medication and think that it will fix everything because it won’t. And a lifestyle change is needed along with medication.

Don’t shame people for needing medication and unfortunately celery juice and raw food won’t cure everyones illnesses and it is incredibly disrespectful to tell someone to just drink some celery juice and they won’t be sick anymore

This is just my opinion on this topic anyway. And yes i do believe a healthy diet can be part of treatment and work as prevention for certain illnesses. But it is not a cure for all illnesses.

Dealing with low self esteem & 6 tips to increase self esteem

Self esteem defined as:

self esteem

 

Recently i have been reminded of how low self esteem i actually have…. how much it holds me back in life.

I don’t believe in myself or my capabilities. I always talk down about myself and my capabilities. Constantly say and think, i am not good enough, i can’t do it, someone else is better. Instead of giving myself reasons why i can succeed and why i am good at what i do or want to do, i instead give myself 100 reasons why i amn’t good enough and why i can’t and won’t succeed.

It is tiring to not be able to lift myself or my talents. To always feel like i am not good enough and everyone is better. It stops me from even trying because i always think, i won’t succeed and someone else out there can do it better than me.

It stops me from starting new projects. It stops me from applying to jobs. It stops me from trying new things.

This is not how i want to live my life. I want to start believing in myself. In someone compliments me i want to believe them and say thank you, not just want to hide and think they are lying.

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I want to believe in myself and stop holding myself back.

My low self esteem issues aren’t something new, i have had them almost all my life (or as far as i can remember anyway) so it is not going to take a week to solve my self esteem issues. It will be a daily thing, and to work on my self esteem… begin to lift myself, my capabilities and talents and stop holding myself back.

I must admit i am also scared of failing…… sometimes i don’t try things or i hold myself back because then i won’t have to deal with being bad or failing at something. But you know what… mistakes help you grow. You learn from mistakes. And someone who has failed and learnt and grown has so much more experience and knowledge compared to someone who never tries or always plays it safe.

You can’t always be good at everything, but you can learn, grow and get better – and that is my goal. To not be scared of failing.

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So how do you improve self esteem? Well, if i knew this i wouldn’t have self esteem issues, hahah. But the things i am going to work on are….

  1. Not compare myself. I don’t compare myself physically with others, but i do compare my talents and achievements with others. Constantly thinking others are better and more talented than me. Thinking that everyone else can achieve their goals but i can’t….. it is tiring to think this way. (Because the truth is, we can all achieve our goals! And i know this…. but i just always feel like i can’t achieve my own goals.)
  2. To not be scared to try new things or scared to fail. Begin to say yes…. who cares if i amn’t good at it, i will learn and get better, if not…. it will be a learning experience. I don’t have to be good at everything. Begin to say yes to more experiences…. if i get offers or opportunities, don’t say no just because i think i amn’t good enough… instead see it as a learning process.
  3. Stop trying to be perfect and have everything be perfect. I am a  perfectionist in some areas of my life…. not all areas, just when it comes to work and school work. And this of course can be a good thing, but at times it just makes a short process take even longer and i never feel satisfied because i feel like i could always do better. I am beginning to just settle at doing good enough…. not everything can be perfect and it doesn’t have to be either.
  4. Begin to believe in myself and the compliments i am given. If someone says i am smart – believe them. Also believe in myself…. In the past – during my recovery – i began to say nice things about myself everyday, or at least every week. To improve my self image and self esteem ,but over the years i have stopped doing this regularly. But now i want to get back to saying nice things about myself daily… to lift myself and my capabilities. To begin to believe in myself and what i can achieve. To believe i can reach my goals and not find 100 reasons why i can’t or why i shouldn’t even try.
  5. I want to stop being critical of myself and finding flaws.Once again – remind myself i am good enough and can achieve the goals i have set for myself.
  6. Change negative/belittling thoughts to more positive and uplifting ones. Instead of thinking that i amn’t good enough and won’t succeed, change those thoughts to reasons why i CAN succeed and why i AM good enough.

 

A daily mantra of: I am good enough. I can succeed. I will succeed. I can and i will.

It will be an everyday process… slowly but surely focusing on changing my mindset and thoughts. Improving my self esteem! This will hopefully stop me from doubting myself so much and begin to “Just do it”. Not hold myself back so much in life!

If you struggle with low self esteem, i suggest you join in on this and focus on some of the things i listed above as well. Or maybe you have other suggestions and tips which i can try and focus on to improve my self esteem 🙂

Let’s get more confident and begin to believe in ourselves and work hard towards our goals so we can and will succeed… but most importantly, not be scared to try or fail either – it is a learning experience!

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Does your life only revolve around food? Too much focus on food

Does your whole life revolve around food?

Social media around food –  taking pictures of food, posting pictures of food, following other food acounts on social media, writing posts around food, studying nutrition, giving advice about nutrition/food, watch some youtube recipe videos, listen to podcasts that sometimes are about nutrition, read articles about the latest research within nutrition, going to work with health coaching and nutrition advice……

(And then of course the basics such as actually having to buy my own food, cooking my own food and at times finding recipes for new food i want to try)

I had a conversation with my step dad when i was at home during Christmas and he mentioned how much food focus was in my life, compared to other anyway. This i am already aware of, most normal people don’t photograph their food…. not unlesss it is something extraordinary or fancy, not their everyday lunch! Most people get their nutrition advice from TV programs or from health magazines – they don’t read the latest articles within nutrition or study it at university. Most non-foodie people don’t have social media that is about food and nutrition (and veganism!).

Alot of my life does revolve around food… or, how it looks from online anyway. That is because food is the niche and theme i have choosen in my social media… example, if i had choosen more of a workout/exercise niche or a lifestyle niche it would be less food focus.

My life doesn’t only revolve around food, infact… i try to focus very little on food (as much as is possible, regarding i both study and sort of work with it.) I watch series and youtube that isn’t about food, on occasion i might watch some random food challenges or what i eat in a day – i do however follow some vegan recipe youtubers for inspiration. I do try to take pauses from food focus because i know it can become an unhealthy obsession.

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Personally, i feel very balanced in my life and with the different areas in my life. Example, i know the nutrition advice and guidelines but i dont follow them strictly… infact i just eat intuitively and that works well. I don’t count how many fruits i have a day, or lack there of somedays! I don’t count calories or nutrients, i just eat. Many get become negatively affected when they begin to learn more about nutrition, but i personally haven’t been negatively affected, i still eat saturated fat and sugar even if the recommendation is to keep the intake low/minimal.

And with social media around food…. On my blog, i.e here, i do try to balance the nutrition posts with vegan posts and lifestyle posts to show that i do more and have other things in my life than food. On my instagram i try to show stories which aren’t just revolved around food as the theme i have choosen on my page is just food and i plan to stick to that theme until i get tired of it or want to expand, and have no plans on starting a second lifestyle or other themed account….. not now anyway.

I think it can be important to take a look at how much focus you are putting on food everyday. Especially if you have had an eating disorder in the past life myself. In the past i was obsessed with food, all my thoughts were on food but then it was in a destructive way such as how to avoid eating, how to make it looked like i had eaten when i hadn’t, how to hide food, which food was the lowest in calorie, what should i eat when i finally allow myself to eat, what food i really wanted but would never allow myself to eat…. not to mention that i was always watching dieting shows, counting calories, counting calories of what other people ate, looking at the nutritional information of different products in stores and worrying about how to compensate if i was forced to eat…. it was obsessive and destructive, it wasn’t something fun and i could never turn off those thoughts or food obsessed thoughts.

If you find yourself having obsessive thoughts about food i will link some posts about food obsession/spending your day waiting until your next meal etc from my old blog .

It is important to find balance and for now, i feel balanced in my life. There is a large focus on food i do admit that and from the outside it can look like too much .But i have so many other thoughts in my mind that food really doesn’t take up much time or thought as you would think!!

Less focus on food

How to focus less on food (food obsession)

Always thinking about food – eating disorder recovery

Will the thoughts ever go away & always thinking about food

Spending your whole day just waiting/thinking about your next meal

Focusing too much on food