What Should I Eat As An Introvert?
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Some quick nutrition tips specific to introverts and our unique biology.
As a personal trainer, at least 75% of the questions I get from clients relate to diet. Part of the reason is that there is so much conflicting information out there - even amongst the 'experts'. However, there are a few principles that I consider fundamental truths and it is relatively straightforward to construct a sensible diet plan from that foundation. I will be covering this important topic in future posts. In this post, I will limit myself to sharing a few quick nutrition tips to keep in mind to be a happy, healthy introvert.
Eat carbohydrates at every meal. Because of our habitually low serotonin levels, introverts need regular carbohydrate feedings. Low carb diets can make us depressed, lethargic, unmotivated and more responsive to pain. All of this translates to poor/missed workouts and a low quality of life.
Emphasise carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal. Serotonin's arch-nemesis cortisol serves to mobilise stored carbohydrate (glycogen). The fewer carbs available in your system.the more glycogen you need to mobilise so the more cortisol you need to pump out. When this pattern is repeated frequently, your metabolism will begin to slow which makes losing body fat difficult if not impossible. Of course, cortisol also serves to mobilise your body's other stored energy source (fat) and juggling the balance of these two hormones is where most programs fail the introvert.
Include carbohydrates in your last meal of the day. This flies in the face of what we are told about eating energy foods before we retire for the night. While it is true that they can tend to be readily stored as body fat, this is the time of day when serotonin production is most important to ensure deep, restful sleep. The importance of restorative sleep cannot be overstated for mental health and body composition. So again, it is a delicate balance.
Enjoy small, frequent meals. This will ensure a regular supply of serotonin boosting carbohydrates and keep your insulin levels steady. You probably won't do well on prolonged intermittent fasting protocols - I know I didn't.
Take care of your gut (my wife's least favourite word - so let's go with digestive system). An estimated 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive tract. Fresh fruit and vegetables, fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut, probiotic yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir) and plenty of pure water will all contribute to a healthy digestive system as will avoiding heavily processed foods especially those loaded with sugar and/or saturated fat.
Embrace healthy fats. While reducing your saturated fat intake is a good idea, removal of unsaturated fats from your diet is less prudent. Unsaturated fats are those that tend to be liquid at room temperature. Most vegetable and fish oils are in this category with the most convenient sources being fish oil capsules, salmon, sardines, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Healthy fats are necessary for thousands of biological functions throughout the body and are especially important for introverts to blunt insulin resistance; which halts all fat burning and muscle building attempts.
Go slow to lose the load. If you want to reduce your body fat levels, a gradual reduction of calories to a slight deficit over a longer period of time will serve you better than a crash diet. Going too hard, too fast will chronically elevate your cortisol levels and scupper your fat burning efforts.
As I said in the introduction, nutrition is a massive, labyrinthine topic that I will break down into bite-sized (pun intended) pieces for you in this blog. Register below for updates as I post regularly new content designed to clear away the confusion and help you thrive as an introvert.