By Nicole Rumsey, Dietitian at Thrive Wellness Centre
Mental health, nutrition and physical health are three key factors influencing our health. These ‘pillars of health’ work in synergy with each other when we feel at our optimum health but can also hinder our ability to be healthy.
If, for example, our mood is lowered and motivation levels are poor, our ability to make healthy food choices or attend our usual fitness classes is often impacted. If, for a period, we have been eating foods with little nutritional value, our weight may increase or fitness levels decrease, which in turn can affect our ability to exercise and our mood. And finally, if exercise levels are minimal or reduced, this can impact our energy levels and mental health, which can then affect what food choices we make.
When one pillar is affected, it can have a negative flow-on effect. To stop this, we need to work out what part we can change first – it may be the easiest change or one with only a little impact, but it is still a change. By focusing on one area of health, the flow-on effect can now be a positive one.
By making a choice to exercise a small amount every second day for example, we are making a mindful decision to act positively towards our physical health. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and energy levels, and this can flow into our food choices. By choosing to focus on what we fuel our bodies with, we may notice a change in our gut health, and a healthy gut has been shown to impact our mental health and our mood. If these pillars of nutrition and physical health seem too overwhelming, making a small change in the area of mental health, for example going to bed earlier more often, taking some ‘me’ time – might just be the change required to start feeling a little more positive towards some aspects of life.
In my opinion, support is often undervalued. Support gives us an outlet to share our thoughts in confidence and to be accountable and committed. Sometimes, making a change seems too hard. This is the time to find a support network – make an appointment with a GP about a Mental Health Plan, book in to see an allied health professional (psychologist, dietitian, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, chiropractor) as they can guide us in the right direction and help make those pillars strong again.
*The above views are those of the writer, based on their experiences throughout their career in health and nutrition
Nicole Rumsey is a Dietitian here at Thrive Wellness Centre. Click here to book an appointment with her. All of our friendly practitioners work evenings and/or weekends to assist making and attending appointments that little bit easier for you. For any queries, please contact our office on (08) 9478 3869.