"Fueling Your Mind and Body: The Connection Between Nutrition and Mental Health"
Veronika Lehner

Welcome back! First things first, I just want to say thank you to those who continue to support me! You are part of my journey in blogging and I couldn't be more blessed and thankful.

So recently, I had a friend ask me to cover a topic: the connection between mental health and training, specifically mental health during training. As I previously mentioned in my last blog post, bodybuilding has saved me from myself numerous times. We all have moments of really hard days. To some degree, we've all suffered some type of trauma in our lives. This trauma could have started from early childhood or at any point in our lives, for that matter.

From my personal experience, mental health can really hinder your progress both in and out of training. Over the years, I've used training as therapy, an escape from reality. I found peace in it for myself, especially when I was going through extremely trying times. While it is a great escape, truthfully, I was not actually facing my demons and working through them. I was putting everything on hold rather than actually working through various mental battles.

The biggest thing for your success in the gym is to work on having a healthy mind. This will include fueling your body properly. Giving your body the proper nutrition it needs to function will not only help your physical health but also your mental well-being. Our gut microbiome is what puts our hormones to work. If we aren't fueling our bodies properly, it messes with that, and from there, our bodies aren't functioning optimally. So, what does that mean for our minds?

Obviously, with healthy eating habits comes, of course, establishing a gym routine. This routine and structure will help tremendously with your mental health. You are literally making time for yourself, to take care of yourself. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself with your training and embrace the journey.

Getting into a structured sleep schedule will also help tremendously with mental health as well as training. When you have a healthy, strong mindset, anything and everything is possible. Your body is literally a reflection of your mind. Get your mind strong, and your body will soon follow.

I highly recommend self-reflection, meditation, and/or even journaling when you're feeling stuck. In fact, for example, I write these blog entries right before I train. They bring me much joy to share my story or knowledge with all of you and energize me for my workout. I go into my workout feeling amazing and ready to attack it.

Now, let's talk about the importance of nutrition. Fueling your body with a balanced and nutritious diet is not only essential for physical health but also for mental well-being. Our gut microbiome, which plays a role in regulating hormones and neurotransmitters, is greatly influenced by the food we consume. When we nourish our bodies with the right nutrients, we support the optimal functioning of our gut microbiome, which in turn positively impacts our mental health.

Incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet is key. Avoiding excessive consumption of processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats can also contribute to better mental health. Remember, taking care of your body from the inside out will provide a solid foundation for your overall well-being.

So today, I ask all of you to ask yourself, "What can I do to improve my mental health? What can I do to improve my overall well-being?" Are you being proactive in working through your past traumas and demons? What hobbies interest you? Try meditation, or journaling. Meditation can be just going on a walk, breathing in fresh air, grounding yourself and surrounding yourself with nature.

Practice clearing your mind. Create a structured schedule for yourself daily. Make time for both your physical and mental health. I can guarantee you will start to see noticeable changes in both your body and your mind.

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