Simple ways to nourish yourself
I have had conversations with many friends and clients this week, about what their new normal is going to look like especially when it comes to work. Most people I have spoken to will be working from home for the rest of the year or maybe longer and for some, working from home the majority of the time will be their new normal.
So how can we support ourselves and make small changes whilst working from home? Food is a topic that lots of people have found really difficult. Some don’t have time to eat properly, some don’t know what to cook because they are so used to grabbing a take out lunch whilst they are at work, and some cant seem to stop eating more than they used to – especially sugary products because they are craving the comfort.
Making any nutritional changes can be done in small ways, and this is often the most successful way to navigate changes – it removes the pressure you can put on yourself and takes away those feelings of ‘I have been good today, or I have been bad today’ and simply helps you understand small steps to take, one at a time before moving onto the next step.
Before making any changes, keeping a food and mood diary is a great place to start. You might think this is a week of wasted time, but actually you will see so many things come to light, it will really help you to understand what areas are best to focus on. During the week, keep a log of all the food and liquid that are consumed, and also the time of the day you have had them. As well as this, keep a score out of 10 on several wellbeing subjects – sleep quality, energy when waking, mood, energy after lunch, concentration, levels of stress.
When you have a week of this, you can start to see patterns emerge – ‘I only slept a 5/ 10 for 2 nights, the third day I felt low, craved sugar all day which made me feel so bad about myself I got really stressed that evening because I cant stick to healthy eating.’ Or ‘I slept well, but work was so busy, I only had 3 cups of coffee in the morning, I didn’t have any water and by the time lunch was here, I was so hungry I had to grab some biscuits because I thought I was going to pass out. My energy after lunch was so low, I just kept grazing for the rest of the day, and just wasn’t hungry at dinner.. I don’t think I actually had any water that day, and my protein intake was really low.’
So often, we listen to our internal dialogue say we do drink enough water, and some days we do, or at least we think we do. We can think we are eating enough protein because you have meat/ vegetable proteins for your evening meal, and it is only when you see in black and white what actually goes into your body you can start to understand why you feel the way you do.
When you have it written down, look at making some simple changes first to get your body boosted.
The first area that everyone should focus on should be water intake – unless you are hydrated, you wont have the energy or detoxification system working efficiently which will have a really negative impact on how you feel. Aim for your 2 litres a day and set that as a challenge for 2 weeks even if the rest of your eating pattern is the same.
Next have a look at your protein intake, are you getting enough with breakfast, lunch dinner and snacks to help with the healing and repairing in the body and to stabiles your blood sugar levels?
How reliant are you on coffee and sugar to keep you going? Next focus on reducing these and increase your intake of B vitamins, magnesium and other key nutrients to help with energy production in a natural way.
How are you bowel habits? The next area to focus on is to think about how these are working and help encourage positive movements – the impact of the bacteria in the gut on our overall health is such a big key. The reason it is down the list is because until water intake is up and sugar intake is down, it will be hard to get this balanced.
Finally look at your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially above the ground vegetables and really aim to find an imaginative way to get these in abundance in your diet – try and eat a rainbow of colour throughout the day to help your body thrive with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals it needs.
Small simple steps, that are right for your body, done in a way that makes you feel positive and you can directly feel the impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Its not about being perfect and following a strict diet. Instead, its about understanding your needs, and helping your body to thrive through gentle changes as and when they are right for you.
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