Let's be practical

Having survived into May with our crazy ISO life, I hope you are all well and healthy and finding fun and creative things to do with your extra time at home. For those still out working, on the front line of healthcare and other jobs, I give you a grand thank you and wish for you some downtime and peaceful rest when this all stops being so intense.

For many ISO has combines multiple tasks over and above the norm and the thing I have noticed is clients and friends all taking about how much they are eating and drinking. I am sure some are joking but in all honestly, many are not. Its hard when you are home 24/7 not to wander over the kitchen when you are bored, tired, irritated, frustrated, lonely or (insert other emotion here) and find something to nibble on to distract you (or to drink).

I read somewhere that alcohol sales are up 50% and that frightens me. I like a drink now and then to relax and unwind but from what I am hearing and reading people are having 2-3 drinks most nights and this is taking your consumption to a level that for long term health has many ramifications. The endless snacking will also be doing crazy things to blood sugar levels, waistlines and motivation to exercise.

I am not writing this to make you feel guilty, it is me reaching out to remind you to do OTHER THINGS to support your stress, emotional and mental wellbeing besides consuming alcohol and eating. We are by no means back to regular life or decreased stress levels so let me just go over a few helpful hints to try to tidy up your eating and drinking habits.

The Food Diary

I know it has been done to death, but have you ever actually kept one? There is research showing that if you change nothing diet wise but just write down everything that you eat and drink for a few weeks you will lose weight. The actual act of writing it down often makes you consider what you are about to put in your mouth and maybe not to do so at times. I encourage you to give it a try. There are a plethora of APPS to track your eating such as MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal but in all honestly I love the hand written one that sits on a clipboard in your kitchen so you see it when you go to get some food. Since most of us are still at home for all our meals I think this is a fabulous time to try it.  Here is my latest food diary for you to download which also covers moods, movement, sleep, and a few other things to think about like digestive symptoms and emotions.

Snacking habits/Emotional eating

I think besides alcohol intake this is one of the hardest things. We were taught somewhere along the way that we all need to snack twice a day but the problem was we didn’t decrease the size of our meals when we introduced snacks and now people in general are consuming far more than their body needs. More recent research calls into question if we should be snacking at all or just doing 3 solid meals per day. Many people never let themselves feel hungry as they snack so frequently. Also, the size of someone’s snack needs to be considered. I am not a big calorie counter but when it comes to snacks but I think it needs to be taken into account. Most snacks should only be 150-200 calories (unless you have done a large volume of exercise that day). People will often far exceed this number and then add a coffee on top. When I work with weight loss clients they get ZERO calories in liquid form as its too easy to order of large cappuccino with a sugar and then potentially blow your calorie budget for the day without even realising.

I will list below some of my favourite pointers on healthy snacking and then maybe you want to read a great article on emotional eating/snacking that I have found useful.

Healthy snacking tips

  • No liquid calories
  • Black coffee or tea (or only a dash of chosen milk)
  • Green and herbal teas
  • Miso soup or bone broth
  • Soda water or plain mineral water
  • Stop and ask are you actually hungry or just bored and wanting a distraction
  • Do not have unhealthy snacks available in your home
  • Have something to drink first and see if that satisfies you
  • What emotion are you feeling when you walk into the kitchen looking for food
  • What were you doing right before you thought about having a snack and how did it make you feel
  • Did you get enough sleep last night? Studies show that lack of sleep increases cravings for salt and sugar snacks
  • When did you last have a proper meal?
  • Try for 3 meals and no snacks some days
  • Snack on healthy, high protein foods to help with satiety
  • Be aware that 15 nuts is a snack not the 2-3 handfuls that we can easily keep going back for

Great small snacks

  • Green apple and a tablespoon of nut butter
  • 2 dates and 10 nuts
  • Miso soup
  • Boiled egg
  • Veggie sticks and hummus or baba ganoush
  • Beef jerky (if you eat meat)
  • 15 nuts (unless brazil nuts then only 5)
  • Fresh berries
  • Green juice
  • Small falafel patty 
  • Small bars or other snacks of 150-200 calories maximum

I hope this all helps. Next month I am gearing up to launch my 4 week, BASICS of healthy eating program, I am just putting the finishing touches on it and will then make it available in both a self paced online program as well as a LIVE version to get us all back on track. Keep a look out for more information on my social media or in my next newsletter.

In case you missed my Food Diary download link.. here it is again x