Lose Weight to Help Addiction Recovery
Health and Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Diet, exercise, health, and wellness play an integral role in addiction recovery.
When you are physically healthy, it can help you be mentally healthy.
Physical health and wellness also help you stay resilient and strong, even when facing the inevitable challenges of addiction recovery.
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The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health
When it comes to addiction recovery and a healthy lifestyle, it is important to understand the links between mental and physical health.
If you go to rehab, the treatment center will likely focus on these connections in your program.
When you are in poor physical health, you are more likely to develop mental health problems and vice versa.
According to one study, people who have the highest levels of self-reported stress have a 32% higher risk of dying from cancer.
Depression relates to an increased risk of heart disease.
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Nutrition and Addiction Recovery
The following are some ways nutrition is important to your recovery:
- If you have a substance use disorder, you may have nutritional deficiencies. The substance itself caused these deficiencies, or you did not focus on taking care of yourself in addiction. You might have eaten low-nutrition foods and gained significant amounts of weight. You could have lost weight from using substances instead of eating. Start replacing the nutrients you were not feeding your body during your substance use.
- Withdrawal can also lead to nutritional deficiencies. For example, after medical detox, you may have experienced nausea and vomiting. Dehydration is common. You have to start eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet to replace what was lost during withdrawal and detox to give yourself strength.
- Eating foods that are processed or high in sugar can make it more challenging for your body and mind to heal.
- A balanced recovery diet should include foods rich in protein, healthy fatty acids, and vitamins like B12. B12 helps your body produce new cells. Alcohol misuse can cause your body to be deficient in certain minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron. Your diet should focus on replacing those as well.
- Eating healthy foods have also been proven to reduce drug and alcohol cravings.
Cooking as a Coping Mechanism
Along with the nutritional value of healthy eating in recovery, cooking and food preparation can become coping mechanisms.
When you feel upset, stressed, or overwhelmed, you can cook or bake instead of turning to a substance. It is a useful strategy that is called culinary or kitchen therapy.
Cooking and baking give you something to do with your hands and your mind. It is a wonderful way to deal with triggers, and you can create something you are proud of.
Cooking also helps you be mindful. You can stop thinking about the past or the future and think about your actions at the moment.
Exercise and Recovery
People often lose weight in recovery, and it is not necessarily purposeful. They find that by living a healthier lifestyle, they naturally lose weight.
Along with changes in diet, this is probably thanks to exercise too.
Some rehab programs include physical activities in their treatment plans. Exercising helps you build a strong mind and body.
Much like cooking, exercise can be a healthy coping mechanism to deal with addiction recovery challenges.
When you exercise, it influences how feel-good brain chemicals are released. Endorphins are released, which can boost your mood naturally. Even just walking for a few minutes can improve your mood, energy levels, and mental alertness.
When you exercise, you can set goals for yourself. Then you feel good about the progress you make.
Exercise helps you learn other ways to feel good, aside from drugs or alcohol.
Other benefits of regular exercise include:
- Better management of anger, stress, or frustration
- Improved cognitive function
- Better quality of sleep
- Created discipline and structure
- Using your time to work out instead of using substances
- Feeling more confident when you work out
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Do Not Cope Using Food
In addiction recovery, sometimes people will turn to food as a coping mechanism, so instead of losing weight, they gain it.
Along with using food as a general coping mechanism, people will sometimes eat too much sugar in recovery. That is especially true with alcohol addiction recovery.
Some research shows alcoholism and sugar addiction may be related to one another and may affect the same areas of the brain.
You might also fill your time in recovery with eating rather than healthier habits.
You need to recognize a potentially harmful relationship with food when you are in recovery.
Consciously make healthy decisions and do not replace one addiction with another.
Other Health Lifestyle Tips
Along with making nutrition and exercise a priority, the following are some other ways you can have a healthy lifestyle after rehab:
- Create a routine. Routines give us structure and help us avoid negative traps. When you have a routine, you know what to expect from yourself. Routines are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Make time for sleep. People with substance disorders are significantly more likely to have sleep disorders. Addiction also disrupts your circadian rhythms. In some ways, you will have to relearn how to sleep. Make sleep part of your routine.
- Be present and mindful. Addiction recovery often brings feelings of shame or guilt about the past or fear of the future. When you are mindful, it can help you overcome these feelings and become more grateful for where you are at the moment.
- Set small goals and also longer-term goals. Goals give you purpose and direction, and when you meet them, it makes you feel more confident in yourself.
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A healthy lifestyle is an important part of addiction recovery.
That is why at Resurgence, we have treatment programs that help the whole person.
We look beyond just your addiction.
If you are looking for an effective, evidence-based rehab program for yourself or your loved one, we encourage you to contact us.
Our programs are designed based on each individual’s unique needs, and they take into account every aspect of health and well-being.