It’s no secret that exercise and proper nutrition is amazing for our mental health. Not only is going from over-weight or under-weight to a healthy weight amazing for overall health, self-confidence and self-love, exercise and nutrition play a huge role in our mental health in general.

I’m not a doctor, a therapist, or a nutritionist. I am however someone who has personally experienced all of the benefits that clean eating and exercise have to offer my mind, body and mood. There is no shortage of documentation online, in books, in your doctors offices etc on how great exercise is for mental health. So rather than sharing a bunch of links here, I am just going to speak from the heart.

My whole life I’ve struggled with low self-esteem, severe depression, anxiety, panic disorder, ptsd, as well as a couple of different pain conditions that arose in my teens, also which have no positive effect on my mood or mental health. Over the years I have been in and out of hospitals, doctors offices, therapists, and also tried several different therapy’s and medications.

Then at 24 years old, I found the magic 3: Nutrition, Exercise, Personal Development.

That was it! It clicked! I started off with exercise and nutrition because I needed to lose weight, but in the process I started to see first hand why all the doctors I’ve seen say that exercise is the best anti-anxiety/anti-depressant! Don’t get me wrong, in the past I had tried it, but I never followed a program that simplified everything for me, I just went to the gym and tried to eat clean. I didn’t balance my meals or portion control or work up a good sweat on a consistent basis. “Yes doctor, I eat clean, I exercise, its not working.” I just didn’t even believe in it. Until I started for reasons unrelated to mental health and ended up doing so well that a few months in of clean eating and a good sweat (just 30 minutes a day, 6-7 days a week!), even while going through a very stressful time of events in my life, was able to go off of all medication! I can see again! I can feel again! What’s that on my face? A smile?! Like.. a real one?! Life is good.

Clearly, this is something I’m enthusiastic about, I’m passionate about. I never thought I’d “see the light at the end of the tunnel”, or not have that terrible muscle tension pain throughout my back and neck that seems to come along with depression and anxiety, or have a real, legitimate smile, 95% of the time, without even trying or thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human, I have bad days, I don’t always feel like working out or eating clean, but there is no denying the benefits that it has had on my mental health. For once I actually think of myself as a mentally healthy, happy person.

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I have watched Denise struggle with anxiety and depression for many years. In fact, its been defined since her mid-teens and was most likely an issue for her long before that. In her early teens and as she moved into adulthood, the anxiety and depression lead to her gaining a lot of weight and losing her physical strength and ability that she had when she was younger.

When Denise embarked on the journey into the Beach Body programs, most importantly the 21 Day Fix program she started with first, the changes became apparent quite quickly. You could sense she was feeling better about herself and had more energy. She quickly became excited about where the program was taking her and signed on as a Beach Body Coach. From there, there was no looking back.

I still see days where Denise struggles with her mental health, but overall it is night and day from what she was experiencing before joining the Beach Body experience and helping herself and others attain goals that in the past appeared unreachable at times. I am so proud of where she is in her life and where she’s come from, and its been a joy to watch the transition and know she’s been able to help others (including me) while helping herself.quote2

Diane Askin (Denise’s Mom)