A midlife crisis does not occur for all middle-aged people nor does it occur in all cultures. However, going through midlife can impact some people negatively, affecting their diets and leading to weight gain. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are dealing with a midlife crisis, there are things you can do to start eating healthy again and regain control over your diet and weight.
Midlife Crisis and Eating Habits
For some people, entering into their 40s and 50s causes a series of negative thoughts and regrets. It may be that your children have left the house and you are dealing with loneliness. An aging body and yearning for youth may be another source of sadness. Maybe there were things you wanted to accomplish in life that you never pursued, or if you did you did not reach your goal. Also, getting older means witnessing the passing on of older relatives and friends. All of these issues can combine to create a sense of powerlessness or sadness in midlife for some people.
The link between the stresses of midlife and weight gain rests in using food as a way to feel better by numbing depression and emotional pain. Some people who are going through a midlife crisis will overeat and/or drink too much alcohol. Food has a temporary numbing effect. It tastes good and makes you feel better.
Recovering from a Midlife Crisis
The challenge with using food to feel better is that you are introducing too many calories into your body. These calories often consist more of high fat foods and sugary snacks. These foods not only lead to weight gain, they contribute to a wide range of health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It may be difficult while in the midst of a midlife crisis to pay attention to your eating habits. However, as you begin to focus on the positive things in your life, you may find yourself emerging from the crisis. It is never too late to achieve certain goals in life. You might also incorporate regular exercise because it releases endorphins that act as mood enhancers.
Keeping a Food Journal
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, you might start with keeping a food journal. Tracking your foods and calories will give you an indication of where to start. Maybe you eat too much fat and not enough protein. You might find that you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The best way to start healthy eating habits is to begin gradually by replacing unhealthy foods with healthier options.
Another valuable outcome of keeping a food journal is that you may detect patterns in your eating. Maybe you eat more when you are with certain people or when you are alone. If you find that your eating is due to emotional reasons, this is a good insight and one that will let you replace emotional eating with other activities that will make you feel better. Examples of activities include going for a walk, reading an insightful book, talking to a supportive friend or listening to uplifting music.