Many of us come to group therapy or sessions in 12 Step programs with a chemical waste factory inside us. Addiction causes us to spend a very long time not being very nice to our bodies – whether through lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of hygiene, and a whole lot of crap to replace it. That being said, it is possible to reverse those effects, and it all starts with healthy eating and good nutrition in sobriety.
We learn from kindergarten about the right foods and the wrong foods, and for the most part, they have remained generally the same. Lots of greens, grains, fruits, veggies, and proteins. However, some people need a little more in one area than others. Here are some helpful tips on implementing and incorporating a healthy diet and promoting quality nutrition into your sobriety and life. The team at Harmony Hills can guide individuals through how to develop positive nutritional habits.
Speak to a Nutritionist
If you just attended treatment or know anyone in the field still, chances are, someone can point you in the direction of a registered dietician or nutritionist. The difference between going at it alone or seeking professional advice is that they can often run some tests on you to see what areas need the most improvement.
If you are someone who may have struggled with any disordered eating issues in the past, they can also be extremely beneficial in helping you keep any goals you may already have for yourself while encouraging new ways to get solid nutrition in your sobriety from substances.
Nutritionists can help individuals learn to prepare their own food at home. One of the main reasons Americans struggle with obesity is their tendency to indulge in processed or drive-through foods. Studies show that home-cooked meals are not only cheaper but are usually more well-rounded, balanced, and mindful.
Cooking can be extremely meditative, and learning to cook well-balanced meals makes you feel like a badass chef, even if it is just a fancy grilled cheese.
Ways to Incorporate Nutrition Into Sobriety
Perhaps the simplest thing to do is write out a grocery list. It is easy to walk into a grocery store with a few items in mind and walk out with literally nothing you meant to get. Food labels, especially the bad foods, are designed to look enticing, and nutrition labels can often be deceiving. Take your time to plan out exactly what you need, almost like meal prepping. This will not only save you money, but it will also reduce temptation.
Another thing to consider is to incorporate exercise. It should come as no surprise that with good nutrition comes exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to eat only boiled chicken and white rice and then run for an hour straight. Eat what you want (along the balanced nutrition scale) and then take a walk before bed, or play volleyball with some friends in your free time!
A balanced physical and diet regimen can bring about some serious, kick-ass change. Not only will you have more energy, but it has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression but will also aid in healthy sleep patterns and mood levels.
So Why is it So Important to Have and Maintain Healthy Nutrition in Sobriety?
When you eat good, you feel good, and we can all use a little more feeling good. Balanced diets have been scientifically proven to increase brain functioning, organ processes, and emotional states. In contrast, high levels of sugars, carbohydrates, and processed foods have been shown to increase depression, anxiety, levels of insomnia, and weight gain.
Good nutrition in sobriety can help many people restore the chemical imbalances and immune systems that have been lacking during their addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse has been shown to decrease the immune system massively. Many people in sobriety these days are dealing with various illnesses from their addiction, such as Hepatitis and Diabetes. Eating the right foods can often make all of the difference in how these medical issues affect day-to-day life.
Another thing to point out, that cooking a meal and eating with friends is a great way to incorporate good nutrition in sobriety. Talk to your friends and even your sponsorship family about having a weekly family dinner – where everyone gets together over a nice home-cooked meal! Not only does this add to your fellowshipping points, but it also allows for you and others to showcase your new cooking skills and, who knows, maybe inspire a new family tradition.
Don’t forget that incorporating good nutrition in sobriety can be a process – many of us aren’t used to spending that much time cooking for ourselves or even focusing on eating healthy. So don’t be hard on yourself if you notice that you crave a large fry from McDonald’s from time to time.
Discover How Harmony Hills Can Help
For individuals working through an addiction treatment program and those in early recovery, nutrition and sobriety are two important qualities to explore. Maintaining good physical health and having a positive diet can go a long way towards preventing relapse or allowing stressors to build. Harmony Hills can guide individuals through the importance of nutrition in our addiction treatment programs and our support programs after treatment like our aftercare program and alumni services. Reach out to us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more.