There has never been a better time to buckle up on your nutrition. We are moving less, spending more time sitting around and taking far too many trips to the fridge. When we are stressed or boredom’s more likely we overindulge or graze.
All the tiny bits of energy we expend add up to our levels of NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is everything outside of sleep, eating and sport, like walking, cleaning the house, climbing stairs) and, under lockdown, our average NEAT has fallen through the floor.
We need to be aware of how the lockdown will be affecting our habits. Lockdown is highly unstable and uncertain, which is likely to have an impact on our mental wellbeing, so we are more naturally inclined to reach for feel-good foods. But we need to be careful of doing this too often, especially given that we don’t know how long we will be living under these conditions.
If you engage in a pattern of over-eating and not exercising, this can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. It can affect your attitude towards exercise which may consequently have an impact on your confidence and how you feel about yourself. This can become a vicious cycle.
What can we do to improve our eating habits in this current climate?
Below we put together some tips to help you stay in control of your eating habits:
- Portion control:
This is a common contributor to a consistent weight gain. When watching our waist line it is important to eat in moderation. If you don’t want to weigh your food, an easier approach is using your hand as a measure. A plate should look something like this:
Protein – 1 palm size – Women
Protein – 2 palm sizes – Men
Veg – 1 fist size – Women
Veg – 2 fist sizes – Men
Carbs – 1 cupped hand – Women
Carbs – 2 cupped hands – Men
Fats – 1 thumb size – Women
Fats – 2 thumb sizes – Men
- Protein with every meal:
Ensure that you include protein with every meal. A good balance of protein will mean a reduction in hunger and snacking, which of course leads to fewer calories being consumed throughout a normal day. Not only that, but just the act of digesting protein burns more calories than any other food.
Protein sources: eggs, cheese, yogurt, meat, poultry, tofu, pulses.
Check out our recipe books for some great meal ideas
- Set meal times:
When we’re spending our days lolling about it home, it can be easy to let structures and schedules fall by the wayside.
But this can be crucial to maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding unnecessary snacking in between meals. Try to structure your day by setting aside times for meals and snacks.
Take your time when having your meal. Chew your food and always apply the 80% full rule, which means don’t eat until you’re about to burst!
- Hydrate: When being stuck indoors it is very easy to forget to drink. Keeping ourselves hydrated is imperative to function at our best. Dehydration effects fat loss, bowel movement and also our skin.
- Move your body: Whether it’s going for your daily walk, follow an online training program or finding an activity you enjoy, the important thing is that you are moving. As mentioned above if we get ourselves in the habit of not moving this will carry on once we come out of lockdown. Exercise is vital at a time when so many continuous hours are spent inside. Exercise is a positive behaviour which releases chemicals like serotonin. A decline in mood is more likely when sitting down for long periods, so the smallest piece of movement can counter against getting low, stressed, depressed or anxious.
If you miss the gym, miss socialising, then get online, Zoom, exercise with someone. Try to live out your values. You can still do them, even in lockdown. There is always a way!!
By eating well, enjoying some tasty treats, and exercising once a day, you’re implementing behaviours which are vital for your psychological and physical wellbeing, habits that will carry you forward once this is all over.