Today I’m donning my nutritionist cap. Who knew it paired so well with my Girl Boner? Then again, don’t Girl Boners go beautifully with just about anything? Whew! I thought so. Okay, back to business.
I’ve long believed that the way we approach food and eating says a heck of a lot about the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Well guess what: Our food attitudes can also reflect a great deal about our sexual selves.
5 Seriously Unsexy Dieting Risks
The diet industry is a mega-machine, pulling in over $40 billion in the United States each year. As the industry flourishes, our nation’s overall health steadily declines, along with female sexual desire—and not by chance, in my opinion. Whether we call them diets, cleanses, programs or lifestyle plans, most eating patterns that impose heavy restriction are risky for our physical and emotional wellbeing. Restrictive plans can also zap our libido and make sex less pleasurable when we have it. Here are some of the ways dieting can detract from our ability to enjoy sensual, savory sex lives:
1. Exhaustion. Trying to stay energized with a deficient nutritional tank is like trying to run your vibrator on a fizzling out battery. Exactly! It won’t work. This is important because tiredness is a leading cause of libido loss in women and men. When we eat too few calories or carbohydrates, the body and brain’s main fuel source, we’re likely to feel drained. Skipping meals and under-eating interferes with blood sugar control, leading to that groggy “crash” feeling. Dieting also raises the risk of binge eating significantly, according to the National Eating Disorders Association—another common cause of exhaustion and fatigue.
2. Bad breath. Low-carb diets, such as the Atkins Diet, encourage partakers to reach a state of ketosis, a risky state in which the body tries to utilize fat, rather than carbs, as energy. The chemicals the body releases during ketosis cause putrid-smelling breath, among other problems. I don’t know about you, but stinky breath is not on my turn-on list.
3. Brain fog. Foggy thinking makes it difficult to desire or engage in sex. It’s tiresome, makes us feel overall low and tinkers with brain chemicals vital for sexual arousal. Restrictive diets typically don’t provide sufficient amounts of glucose—the natural sugar derived from carbohydrates, which allows for brain function. Each cell in your brain requires twice as much glucose as the rest of your body’s cells. I’m no math genius, but it’s not tough to configure those consequences. A strict vegetarian diet that lacks protein, and a diet lacking in omega-3s (prevalent in cold-water fish, flaxseeds, soy and walnuts) can also stimulate brain fog.
4. Bloating, gas and constipation. Digestive issues are about as tantalizing as, well, diarrhea. Juice fasts, detox diets and any plan that encourages fiber or laxative supplements (very common in low-carb plans) cause a slew of digestive side effects. The excessive amounts of sugar in juices often causes gassiness. If you juice for days on end or repeatedly, you run the risk of experiencing abdominal cramping and loose stools. Laxatives, including natural supplements such as psyllium husk, cause similar effects. Eating a high-protein, low-fiber diet is likely to cause constipation, which triggers bloating, uncomfortable fullness and gassiness.
5. Anxiety, stress and depression. One of the most common side effects of dieting is heightened stress—a major sex drive tanker. Diets tend to be difficult to follow and stick to, making way for frustration. Dieting can also make it difficult to dine out or anywhere with non-dieting loved ones. If you eat too few carbs, you run the risk of developing what psychologists have coined the “Atkin’s Blues,” a state in which your brain produces too few feel-good chemicals. (Sufficient carbohydrate intake allows your brain to produce these chemicals.) And with a less than 5 percent success rate, dieters’ chances of a slowed metabolism, eventual weight gain and a sense of failure run extremely high. All of these issues move lovemaking far from the forefront of our minds, in a sense teaching us that we’re not deserving of a nourishing dietary or sexual lifestyle.
A Healthy Alternative
But there is hope! Lucky for all of us, the same dietary principles that promote physical and emotional health also support a vibrant libido and sex life. While the specifics of our dietary needs may vary, there are a few universal, scientific facts. We all need macronutrients, which include carbohydrates, protein and fat, and micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. By emphasizing nutritious sources (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish…), eating balanced meals and/or snacks at regular time intervals and cutting ourselves some slack (low-nutrient fare is fine in moderation), generally healthy folks can rest assured that our needs will be met. We also won’t starve our bodies or our Girl Boners in the process. THANK GOODNESS!
How much should we eat?
Rather than count calories or grams, I recommend honing in and listening to your body. When we eat primarily whole foods, which provide all of those essential nutrients, and do so mindfully—paying attention to the food, our bodies and our hungry/full signals—we know when enough is enough. If you’re not quite there yet, the ‘plate method’ can be helpful. Fill half of your meal plates with produce, one quarter with a healthy carb, and one quarter with lean protein. (Use fat sources sparingly. Prepare fish or chicken in olive oil, for example, or sprinkle your salad with nuts.) If you carry excess weight, really emphasize fiber-rich foods and amp up your fruit and veggie intake. Mindful eating is another great way to keep our appetites, weight and food portions in check. Instead of focusing on eating less or what to avoid, focus on gratitude, eating more of the super healthy stuff and listening to your body.
One more tip: While you’re increasing your intake of those healthy, fiber-rich foods, do so gradually. Otherwise you might need to bulk up on candles and aromatherapy during playtime *clears throat* – IYKWIM. If you’re wondering about other foods to limit before naked fun, stay tuned! We’ll be delving into that topic soon.
Are you guilty of the above dieting don’ts? Have you noticed a correlation between sex drive and your diet? Any questions for me while I have this fruit and veggie sculpture on my head? (What did you think a nutritionist’s cap would look like?) I adore your thoughts, so share, ask and gab away! ♥ And remember to join me in Girl Boner chit chat on Twitter and Facebook throughout the week. I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time limiting such chatter to Mondays.