The world feels very chaotic right now. We’ve got lots of very big things going on and it’s normal to not feel super motivated when there’s so much uncertainty.
Multiple people have told us they “don’t want to come out of this fatter”, which can be great if that motivates you to move and eat well, but that thought process can be an added stress when our stress levels are at an all time high.
We vow to use our downtime to workout like an athlete and meal prep like a bodybuilder but Netflix and (insert your favourite comfort food) are an easier option!
Instead of this all or nothing guilt-inducing attitude, let’s just work on some simple ways to make each choice a little bit better. Health as a dial (that can go slightly up or down) rather than a switch (to flip on or off). Cool?
Let’s do it…
1. Eat without distractions
When is the last time you *just* ate? No phone, no TV? When distracted, we tend to eat more without realising and feel less satisfied yet still overstuffed!
If full on mindful eating feels like an stretch for you, try using your non-dominant hand to eat one meal each day. This will automatically slow you down but also has the added benefit of increasing brain activity and creativity!
2. Structure your day around meal times
Your days might have just lost a lot of structure which has inadvertently messed up your eating. This one’s for you if you’ve found yourself standing in front of the fridge for the fifth time this hour, hoping the contents are somehow different this time!
You might like to try setting your breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. Throw in a couple more flexible morning and afternoon tea times and see if you can stay out of the kitchen in between these times (unless you’re truly hungry, more on that in a sec).
This once again has some sneaky benefits of giving you more focus! You could also incorporate the Pomodoro technique: set a timer and work solidly for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. After 3-4 work periods, have a bigger break period of 30 minutes (aka lunch!).
3. Are you hungry or bored?
Did you ever come home from school hungry only to have your mum tell you to eat a piece of fruit?
Hunger = gone!
It’s time to be honest with yourself and learn your hunger cues! Hint: that whole multiple trips to the kitchen thing usually indicates boredom. If you are truly hungry, make yourself a meal that is as balanced as possible with the ingredients you have, eat it (mindfully) then find something else to do.
4. Chew your food thoroughly
Digestion begins in our mouths. When you chew your food rather than inhaling it, it takes the pressure off the rest of your digestive system and gives you time to really taste your food! Proper chewing can decrease heartburn, indigestion, bloating and constipation.
5. Enjoy your food
When you’ve stopped really enjoying it, it’s time to stop! This one really refers to those treat foods we tend to eat mindlessly. We keep eating them because they are engineered to make us keep going; the urge for another hit overrides our satiety button. So next time you’re enjoying a food, the moment it stops being as deliciously yummy as the first bite, that’s your sign to put the bag down.
It’ll still be there later (at your next meal/snack time), and you can practice chewing it thoroughly and using your non dominant hand when you are actually hungry!
That’s the thing – practice.
We think that because eating is something we do so often, it should just come naturally to eat well. But once you’ve realised your eating habits aren’t serving you anymore and you try to create new habits? That’s going to take practice!