About 4 years ago I had had enough. Enough of the cycle of working out to lose weight all the while feeding myself what ever made me feel good: sugar, carbs, and junk food. At some point I decided to make some changes and the willingness to do so started off a chain reaction that is still working for me today.
What changed? If you've gone Paleo or something similar you know the benefits that come from a healthy diet and I'm not just talking about bodyfat. Increased confidence, a general feeling happiness with occasional euphoric sensations are what I personally experienced and noticed as different.
Confidence? How does your diet impact confidence? I don't know exactly. Our bodies are complex integrated systems in which the different inputs: nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress, etc. all impact the way we feel and perform. I noticed the close link between athletic performance and confidence. I started to exercise and train with intent and purpose once I was free from the burden of trying to lose weight. I no longer needed to lose weight. What was left was a desire to become stronger, faster, and better at being an athlete. I found that when I fueled my body with good food, I was able to do more. The more I was able to get from my body physically, the more confident I became. How? On a daily basis, I would approach challenges in the gym (a heavy weight, a new movement, or a goal to be better than I was yesterday) sometimes with a bit of fear but would take them on. It's almost impossible not to build confidence if you are facing fears, and overcoming them regularly. My experience was that this carried over to other areas of my life.
Dreams? Someone else said "A goal is a dream with a deadline". My dream was to create a business that would be a vehicle for self expression. An expression of how diet and exercise can lead to personal transformation. I was less and less willing to have this dream in my head and not make it real. I forced myself to think with intention, to be detailed and clear on the actions needed. I gave myself deadlines. Many of the first steps of creating a business were scary. Similar to other challenges, taking them on built confidence. That got me started and in the game. Of course none of what I just wrote was about perfection. I wasn't anywhere close to perfect and failed multiple times.
Today I try to strengthen my relationship with dreams (what I really want) and reality (taking action). I know that my diet and other inputs are critical to making those things that I want happen. The system (body) seems to positively reinforce. Good inputs lead to good feelings!