When trouble times hit us, it weakens us emotionally. Whether the threat is to our body, like with the ongoing corona virus, or it’s emotional like losing a loved one, or going through a breakup. The first thing that suffers is our physical and mental health. When we get compromised emotionally during troubled times, our diet takes the biggest hit. Either we eat too much, too little, or just the wrong foods, wreaking havoc on our lifestyle and health.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lock-down has resulted in increased anxiousness. People’s mental health is taking a hit, which can lead to binge-eating or seeking comfort from unhealthy foods. And since we are unable to exercise as much, or as hard, this new normal may increase various health problems. Weight gain aside, other serious problems like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and high cholesterol are at risk too. Thus, it is important that no matter what troubled times may bring, you fight to stick to a healthy diet.
1. Start with small lifestyle changes
Getting in exercise is good, and maintaining your diet even better. But to remain fit, do some small changes to your lifestyle. For instance, sleep at a reasonable time daily, and wake up on time. Don’t take a naps in the afternoon in excess of 20-30 minutes. Regulate your stress and screen time, and do something creative like reading, painting or dancing. Getting in some “me-time” does wonders for the soul. It might seem little, but the benefits are huge.
It is crucial to get your body moving and heart pumping. So, doing a mixture of aerobics, cardio, and yoga is great. Skip the notion that you must workout for an hour or two and focus on 30-minutes per day.
- Start with a warm-up so that every joint in your body is awake.
- Do some calisthenics
- Increase its intensity and incorporate Pilates and other cardio workouts
- Do at least 5 Surya Namaskar, which are great for burning fat and stretching
- Squats and lunges tone muscles
- Meditate for five minutes after your workout session.
You can also jog for a bit around the block or in your backyard. Heck, some man in Europe ran the equivalent of a marathon on his balcony! Be resourceful. Even silly dancing burns calories while bringing a smile to your face.
3. Eat breakfast
Intermittent fasting might not be the way to go during troubled times. It can create additional stress to the body, and if your hunger is high, could lead to a binge cycle. Starting the day with a healthy and wholesome oats or egg-based breakfast can balance your blood sugar and help keep cravings at bay. Just be sure to choose a balance of protein, fat and carbs.
4. Don’t buy junk food
The saying, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ really works. If you don’t buy junk or processed foods, you won’t eat them when you feel emotional. So, remember this tip when you grocery shop: avoid the junk!
5. Early dinners
One of the best changes you can make is having an early dinner. Have something fulfilling and light, like chicken, salad, turkey, etc. gives your body time to digest before sleeping. And getting good, quality sleep is key for regulating your hunger hormones and reducing anxiety.
6. Start your day with some fruit and nuts
Try starting the day with a banana, or small portion of berries or an apple; it can help with constipation. Also, soak some raisins, walnuts, and almonds the previous night. (Soaking improves digestibility). Eating them first thing in the morning has tons of benefits, like reducing thyroid issues. And, almonds are good for your heart. (Read here about all the benefits of nuts). This combination of carbs and fat, with natural sweetness, also tames a sweet tooth without added sugar.
7. Eliminate the “all or nothing” mindset
You don’t want to have an all or nothing approach to food. If you eat a few unhealthy food items in a day, don’t throw in the towel on the whole day. Get back on track right away! Balance is key, and turning the ship around is much more important during troubled times.
8. Stay mindful
Control your portions, especially when it comes to your favorite foods. Slowly and mindfully enjoy and appreciate the foods you love. Scarfing down anything is hard on your digestion, and often robs you of the joy that particular food brings you.
Pro tip: Try a planner to keep your diet on track and healthy.
In troubled times, choosing health means making choices many times per day. Slipping up from time to time is okay, as long as you don’t let it define you, and stop you from remaining healthy both physically and mentally. Want more tips for creating a diet you love, that works in any season of life? Check out Phase it Up by the 131 Method.
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