The Belief Distillery Melanie Parker Hypnotherapy anxiety,Healthy Eating,Uncategorized Part 2 – Why your depressed and what you can do about it

Part 2 – Why your depressed and what you can do about it

There are many reasons we find ourselves depressed or anxious. I covered most of these last week (if you haven’t already, you can read that here), we may have been told we have a hormone imbalance, we may be suffering from inflammation in the brain, reduced serotonin and reduced neuro-plasticity (the brains ability to communicate with itself, let go of old connections and establish new ones). So if all this is going on in our brain, why am I talking to you about your diet?

We have all heard of the importance of serotonin and dopamine in stabilizing and boosting our mood, but what may surprise you to learn is that 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and over half of our dopamine is synthesised there too.

The gut is referred to as our second brain, it has it’s own functioning ability outside of the brain allowing it to communicate with the brain. According to Professor Felicia Jacka of the Food and Mood centre, 90% of information travelling this superhighway is going from the gut to the brain, and only 10% from the brain to the gut.

So it makes sense that the foods we eat and the health of our gut directly correlates with the health of our brain.

The truth of it is – Your comfort foods are actually making you feel worse.

That’s right, the foods you eat when you feel low, actually contribute to you feeling worse. The below is a list of foods to minimise in your diet and why they are not helping you shake the blues.

  1. Alcohol, tobacco, other drugs

We know typically these are depressants, and yet we still reach for a glass of wine or a joint to have a good time or numb the effects of stressful day, but they affect the nervous system. Alcohol interferers with our sleep, promotes inflammation as, news flash, our body swells and gets aggravated when we poison it. Add to this that it makes your blood sugar go up and down like a yo-yo, it actively reduces serotonin and actually increases production of hormones that increase your levels of stress and anxiety. It’s a quick fix that not only is toxic to our brain, but damages the gut lining and our healthy bacteria.

2. Added sugar (refined sugar)

We have all been to a children’s birthday party where the children are ‘hyped’ up on sugar and then all get tired and short tempered almost as quickly. The link between the ‘sugar high’ and our food is so similar to that of alcohol or drugs we even treat it as such and limit how much we allow our children to have. We know it’s not good and yet we sit there eating entire chocolate oranges in 10 minutes (or was that just me?)

What sugar actually does is promote inflammation, cause fatigue and irritability, and stop us being able to effectively deal with stress. A study cited by Mind over Munch in their video here, stated that people with a high sugar diet were 23% more likely to develop depression or anxiety.

3. Processed Foods & Fast Foods

We know they aren’t good for us, but the trans fats found in processed and fast food correlate with anxiety, aggression and depression among others. Processed meats are often full of salt , sugar and a lot of…

4. Artificial sweeteners and anything else you can’t pronounce in the ingredients

The clue is the in the name, artificial. They aren’t food and our bodies don’t know how to process them as such. Not only can these ingredients lead to weight gain, they are also associated with headaches, dizziness, migraines as well as mood disorders. If it isn’t food, don’t eat it.

5. ‘White’ grains

When they make white flour, white rice etc, they take away everything that is good about the grain and leave behind what is basically a form of dehydrated glue. Simple carbs like those found in white bread, white rice have nothing good for you, but wow are they full of gluey starch, a simple sugar that causes massive irregularity in your blood sugar.

6. Refined oils

We know how amazing Omega 3 is for our brain health, more about that later, but have you heard of it’s arch nemeses, Omega 6? Neither had I before I started this research, but much like a negative cancels out a positive, Omega 6 (found in refined oils) compete with and block out the Omega 3s. Rather than helping our brain function, Omega 6 causes inflammation, impairs brain function and has been shown to worsen depression. Worth noting a lot of the already really bad fast food, is then fried in refined oil.

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I’m not telling you that you can never have a glass of wine after a stressful week (studies have shown small amounts of red wine have a positive effect on our mood and health), or you can never treat the children to McDonalds, but it should be exactly that – a treat. In order to really help lift our spirits, we need to limit these foods that are literally making us depressed (it’s no surprise that the western world has the highest consumption of these foods and the highest rates of common mood disorders) and eat foods that truly make us happy and function well.

  1. Fatty fish

I promised I would come back to this Omega 3, the undisputed ruler of the brain health foods. Our brains are actually made up of 60% fat. Healthy fats in the form of Omega 3 are fuel to our brains. The best source of Omega 3 is in Salmon, but other fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel and tuna are also good for you. Not to mention all their other health benefits. Also, if you really don’t like fish, Omega 3 is one of the only nutrients that still has a positive effect on mood when taken as a supplement.

Fatty fish also contain amino acids, if the nutrients we take in from food were love letters amino acids would be the envelopes. Tryptophan in particular is the envelope of choice for our happy hormone, serotonin.

2. Nuts and seeds

If you are vegetarian / vegan and cannot eat fish, then you will be pleased to know that walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds are also really good sources of plant based Omega 3. Walnuts especially have a recognised mood boosting effect. One study measured participants depression scores and found they were 26% lower in people who ate 1/4 cup of walnuts a day. Eating that amount of walnuts (roughly a dozen halves) also lead to greater optimism, energy, hope and concentration. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of tryptophan.

3. Meat, Poultry, Eggs Dairy AND SOY

All meat, regardless if it is red or white meat is an excellent source of complete proteins and amino acids, although the best sources are chicken and turkey.

Eggs are also a good source of folate and vitamin D, which may have links to our immune health. Folate can also be found in legumes such as beans or chickpeas, as well as nuts and seeds.

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What is folate? Folate is a very clever B9 vitamin who’s job is to help regenerate cells and tissue. Low levels of folate have been linked to increased risk of depression and poor response to antidepressant treatment

4. Vegetables

Of course I’m going to tell you at some point to eat your greens. Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli, are packed full of nutrients and folate. They are also full of antioxidants.

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Why are antioxidants good? Oxidisation of cells in the body, splits them at an atomic level. These atoms have unpaired electrons and zoom around the body looking for another atom to pair up with. Think of it like a pair of magnets stuck together, and then the Oxygen comes in like the flat mate they swear they are just friends with and splits them up leaving one magnet looking desperately for love, and not caring what they wreck in the process. These are what you may have heard referred to as free radicals. They are natural and normal, but like everything, in moderation. If there are two many of them, our body can’t keep up and they can cause diseases and have even been attributed to some cancers. When this happens, the body is in oxidative stress which has also been linked to depression and anxiety.

5. Fruits

A healthy mix of fruits is essential for your diet, but berries are your best choice when choosing mood foods. All berries are some of the most antioxidant rich foods that exist, so much so in blueberries, they are considered a depression food.

Avocado is also great for you, and they are not just for millennials. They are full of healthy fats, folate and also rich in amino acids helping all that good stuff get to where it needs to be.

Keep in mind that any change to your diet in the right direction is going to help you to feel better, you don’t need to become Gillian McKeith overnight to get the benefits, but the more you can eliminate the less helpful foods and eat more of the good stuff, the better you will feel. The catch 22 is, if you are feeling depressed you may not feel worth spending the time and energy to buy and make these foods, but there are really quick, simple and cheap solutions available on line. If you know someone who is depressed, why not make a large batch of something yummy you can take round to a friend (and leave, please don’t put pressure). Something easy to reheat or eat cold they can just grab – Such as a crust-less quiche using yogurt instead of cream and packed full of chicken, red peppers and spinach.

If you would like this quiche recipe, please email me ( and put “Brain Quiche” in the subject.

Please keep in mind, no specific food is a treatment for anxiety or depression, and these recommendations are NOT a substitute for medical or psychiatric advice. Please consult with your physician or mental health professional before making lifestyle changes, especially any changes that involve medication.


Related Post

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Why you haven’t lost weight this week?Why you haven’t lost weight this week?

The diet industry is not fir for purpose and it has become clear that many women are struggling with the pressure to succeed. I’ve heard from a lot of ladies who feel stressed, unmotivated at their clubs because they didn’t drop a stone on week 1 or are progressing much slower than expected – this breaks my heart!

Has this ever happened to you?

How did you feel? I used to feel like it was my fault. That I must have done something wrong on the diet without realising, or that my body just didn’t work the same as others and wasn’t as good. I was worried about weigh ins, and if I hadn’t lightened by at least 3lb I felt awful about myself. Even when I shed 1 lb, I beat myself up as it wasn’t “enough”.

So why does this happen?

Adipocyte cell  showing fat reservoir

When we lose weight fat cells break down, but what a lot of people aren’t taught, is that those cells don’t break down immediately. The body likes to be prepared, and if the cells are needed again soon they need to be ready. Rather than breaking down, the fat reservoir fills with water. By the time you weigh in, they are still heavy, although you have lost fat. Once the body knows those cells are no longer necessary for you, they break down and you finally see that reward on the scales.

Drinking enough water is the best way to stay hydrated. When our bodies are properly nourished, we retain less than if they’re lacking anything else! That’s why it’s important for everyone – keep drinking 8 glasses every day.

If you are getting lighter on your diet, but getting frustrated as the weight is going, but not as fast as you like try this exercise:

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Grab a bag and raid your cupboards. Take out packets and tins and whatever you need to do until the bag weighs the same as the amount of weight you have shed since you started your diet. Now take that bag with you everywhere you go for the day, walking the dog, to the park with the kids. Even to the loo!

In the evening when you put that bag down and put everything back in your cupboards, notice how much lighter you feel without it. How much easier it is to move. You used to carry that weight around with you everyday and now you can put it down. The more weight you drop, the easier your life will become.

You are not alone in your weight loss journey. Many people have embarked on the same path and achieved great success. Remember, it is important to be patient and allow your body time to adjust as you make healthy changes. Stay focused on your goals, take things one step at a time, and remember to enjoy the process! I am here to support you every step of the way. Are you ready to get started?


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It’s Not Your FaultIt’s Not Your Fault

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“Just eat less and move more”

“Have you tried this new diet?”

Well no – thank you Karen I haven’t tried the ‘only eat a cube of cheese and dried ice diet’. Really, that’s all I need to do, thank you so much!

It seems easy doesn’t it, you look around the slimming group at everyone making losses except you. You try to diet but your resolve disappears the moment you have a bad day and you feel disgusted with yourself.

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At least, that is how I felt. I would lose some weight, plateau and then put it all back on plus interest. It always looks so easy for everyone else. I understood the logic and the information around food, but always seemed to make poor decisions.

Now I understand why I am free from all the guilt and shame that went with my binge eating.

The truth is there are several factors at play as to why we over-eat and are drawn to certain foods, but the one I’m focusing on right now is our ancestry.

What do a lot of dead relatives have to do with why you feel overweight though?

person standing inside cave
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We are descended from cave-men. Tribal hunters. One of the greatest threats to our survival was starvation. If a deer went past and you said, “not today, I don’t fancy deer” then it could cost you yours and your families life. If you saw food of any kind you wanted it. And the most prized form of food – energy dense sugar. Hard to come-by if you’re a cave-man, bees don’t just give you their precious honey after all. So when there is a source of food, especially sugar, we are hard-wired to want it, in much the same way that animals are hard-wired to be afraid of fire, even they haven’t experienced it.

Nature actually wants us all to be over-weight. If we are over-weight, we have plenty of reserves for the leaner times – but of course now, with a 24hr McDonalds in every town and a corner shop in walking distance from every home, we don’t have lean times.

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I used to put treats into the cupboard and ration them out according to syns or points. I once spent my evening individually wrapping portions of Galaxy from one of those Giant bars. I would tell myself that I was allowed a little each day and that would work for the first two or three. Then by stressful day 4 when the children have driven me potty and work sucked I find myself inexplicably surrounded by cling-wrap. It called to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it until it was gone.

This however, isn’t something to feel guilty about. It isn’t something to be ashamed over. It is our normal and correct reaction under the circumstances.

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But we can change our hard-wiring. We can remove these beliefs that are holding us back from becoming the fittest, leanest versions of ourselves and I can’t wait to show you how.

To unlock the secrets to being a naturally thin person, to have more energy and feel sexier, join me for my FREE Webinar on the 15th January and I will share with you some amazing tips for overcoming these blocks and instantly eating up to 30% less food. Access will be via my Facebook Group, if you aren’t already part of this growing and caring community, then please join us here


The biggest dieting mistakes we have all madeThe biggest dieting mistakes we have all made

We all make mistakes when it comes to dieting, but some are more common than others. Here are the biggest mistakes that we have all made at one point or another – read on to find out how you can avoid them!​

When starting a new diet, a lot of us tend to go through our cupboards and take out everything we feel we “can’t have”. We cleans our homes and remove temptation, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but what are you saying to yourself while you do this?

clear glass jars on white wooden shelf
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If you are saying you must get it out of the house so it doesn’t tempt you, you are telling yourself that food is more powerful than you are. That you have no control and, although that simply isn’t true, your mind believes this. Equally, when you tell yourself you “aren’t allowed” certain foods, your subconsious feels that your liberty and agency is being taken away, something that as human beings, we really don’t like. We instinctively push back when we are told not to do something and to our subconsious this is no less true when talking about restricting our food.

When purging your cupboards or feel tempted by certain foods, tell yourself you are throwing out the rubbish that no longer serves you. You are purging your home of things that don’t align with your goal and you feel amazing and excited about the changes you are making.

When you feel tempted by food, remind yourself that you have control over your eating, and choosing to eat healthily. You are choosing to put healthy, delicious fuel in your body over rubbish and you feel amazing about it. You are empowered by the healthy choices you are making.

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The next mistake we often make is talking about how much weight we want to lose. How much we have lost. Losing weight.

Think about loss, losing your keys. Losing your money, your house, a loved one. Loss is a negative emotion and causes pain. Whether it’s the minor annoyance at losing your keys, or deep grief and distress at losing a person, your amazing mind’s job is to move away from pain and towards pleasure, and it does it amazingly well. The problem is that, just like an excited puppy that wants to please you, everything is black and white. Just in the same way that you can’t say to a puppy jumping on the sofa is bad unless it’s the weekend, you can’t tell your mind that loss is bad, except when you are talking about your weight.

the good news is, now you are aware of this, it is easy to chose to stop talking about loss when you are referring to your weight goals and use language that doesn’t have your mind working overtime against you. Some good examples to get you started are “shedding weight”, “I am reducing”, “Getting rid of the excess”. What would you tell yourself?

The last mistake all of us been on this journey before make, is when the diet fails.

I used to beat myself up and feel a failure. I felt guilty and ashamed I couldn’t do something that so many others seemed to find so easy. Diets aren’t designed to work with our human brain. It is a regime based on logic, but as humans we spend 90% of our time living in a world interpreted by our emotions.

If this isn’t your first attempt, or even your second, it’s not your fault. Reducing weight, often means finding the reason you have the weight in the first place and removing it. Through RTT I guide my clients to see the reason why they haven’t succeeded previously and remove the old, unhelpful beliefs around food. I then install the right beliefs, that serve my clients to reach their goals. Whether that be a becoming fitter and healthier for their children, to feel sexier and more confident or to wear the clothes they want to wear.

Using RTT I have given clients the freedom to be the slim, sexy confident, energetic person they were born to be for good.

If you are ready to ditch the diets, and be free from the restrictions that have been holding you back, I want to help. Book a call with me today so we can discuss your specific goals and how we can use RTT to help you achieve them. You deserve to be happy, healthy, and confident in your own skin- let me show you how it’s done!