It can be hard enough at the best of times to stay motivated and focused on your work or business. And for many of us, Covid is making that worse.
When you are anxious or bored it is easier to slip into bad habits, like eating fast food or drinking too much alcohol. It’s a vicious cycle; the more you strip your body of good nutrition, the worse you will feel and the more you may want to compensate with more indulgences!
Trust me; you need to turn those habits upside down. Feeling good is mostly down to getting the basics right in your life. That starts with a good diet, staying active and staying connected.
If that sounds like a message you are ready to hear, you may be asking yourself how to get started. Don’t worry help is at hand. Here are our tips for getting your diet back on track to fuel yourself through good times and bad. Get back in touch with the energy and sense of wellbeing that you need to thrive.
Make That Change
Whether you have started to think about being more active or cutting down on less healthy foods, it can be hard to know where to start. The Internet can be a minefield, with a lot of misleading information. Friends and family will try and steer you to what’s worked for them, but may not work for you.
If your health and fitness level is very run down, then try and seek out objective advice and support from trusted professionals. A personal trainer can give you a baseline on your level of fitness and your GP or a specialist medical company can provide baselines on health indicators, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood screening. If you find that you need additional support or supplements to regain optimum baseline levels you can find reviews of health-related products at CPOE.org. Rankings and comparisons can also be useful.
Alternatively, if you’re just feeling slightly below parr, getting started is more straightforward. Wherever you’re starting from, getting into the right mindset is key.
When changing your health habits and behavior, you will go through these stages:
- Contemplation – starting to believe that your health, energy level, or overall well-being will improve if you develop new habits.
- Preparation – making up your mind and thinking of specific ideas that will work for you and specific goals that you would like to achieve.
- Action – actually making changes where differences in eating, activity, and other behavior last 3 to 6 months.
- Maintenance – having a new routine for a longer period of time where applied changes become the new routine.
Non-conflicting nutrition advice
The truth is that while some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, mental health and energy levels, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important.
The essence of a healthy diet is to replace processed food with natural food whenever possible. Try to avoid eating anything made with more than 5 ingredients.
Aim to get a balanced diet, including the following food groups:
- Proteins – especially as we get older – give us the energy to get up and go while also supporting mood and cognitive function. Plant-based proteins include beans, nuts, quinoa and tofu. If you eat meat, then try to prioritise healthier lean sources of protein, such as chicken and fish.
- Fats – good and healthy fats (such as omega-3) protect your brain and heart and are vital to your physical and emotional health. Those include olive oil, avocado and oily fish.
- Fibers – eating food rich in fiber can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also enhance your skin and help you to lose excessive weight. Sources include whole grains and plants.
- Calcium – not getting enough calcium in your diet can contribute to anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties and osteoporosis. Sources include green leafy vegetables, dairy and fortified bread and plant milks.
- Carbohydrates – complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) are the body’s main source of energy.
When you are eating for wellbeing, you can forget about strict dietary plans and focus instead on the variety, freshness and different colours on your plate.
Changing your diet doesn’t have to be complicated:
- Avoid crash diets because they can cause fatigue, plus you’re missing essential substances and nutrients for normal functioning.
- Limit alcohol and drink more water.
- Don’t snack between meals.
- Use caffeine but delicately because even if it can work as an instant stimulant, drinking too much and after some time of the day can cause problems with insomnia and lack of energy.
- Time-restricted eating. Try not to eat in the evening and lengthen the gap between dinner and breakfast. A longer gap is associated with a whole range of health benefits.
- Avoid supplements if you can and if you’re not at risk of deficiency of vitamins and minerals.
- Eat mindfully. That means giving your meal your full attention. So sit at a table and put your phone out of sight!
Most importantly, remember that changing your diet and eating healthier is all about feeling good, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood.