Day’s Verse:
Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.
1 Cor. 14:20

Have you noticed how closely physical and mental well-being are tied? In biking, they have a term called “bonking.” Contrary to your first thought, it actually refers to when your body runs out of nutrients and you start going downhill physically. Runners call this “hitting the wall,” which has fewer alternative definitions than “bonking.”

On long athletic endeavors, the athlete has to continually replenish calories and electrolytes lost through exercise. This means consciously making an effort to eat and drink during the long activity. On my first century (100-mile) ride, I started bonking at about 70 miles. My symptoms:

  • Sudden exhaustion
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling depressed and miserable (more than riding 100 miles would warrant)
  • Feeling like I’ll never make it and I might as well quit
  • Suddenly needing to take a long nap

The insidious thing about these symptoms is that many of them seem reasonable for doing a long, hot ride. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a nap after riding 70+ hilly miles on a hot day? But I heard a story about a professional racer who started bonking. He pulled his bike over in the middle of the race and took a nap.

What’s interesting is how many of the symptoms are mental. I usually know it’s past time to eat or drink when I start feeling hopeless. After I’ve had a snack and some water, not only do my muscles feel ready to take on more hills, but the world looks entirely beneficent.

I’ve known about this food/mental attitude influence for a long time as it pertains to athletic activity. The part I’ve never connected is that this applies in life generally. I don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to appreciate that when I feel inexplicably unhappy, maybe I just need to have a snack. However, now I’ve noticed this linkage, I have to say that it’s absolutely true: I’ve had any number of times when a negative, grumpy, miserable mood changed to a much more positive, chipper, upbeat outlook after pausing and having lunch. I’m not sure why nutrition has such a tight tie to emotions, but it’s clearly a strong link.

So next time you’re feeling a bit moody, take a break and munch an apple (or something else healthy — sugary snacks have their own sugar high problems). It could very well make the difference.

Yum.

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