At first, I thought being housebound because of CV-19 would be like a mini-vacation, a week off for a little time to reset and try to relax from everything going on. Instead, I found myself more overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling more anxious than normal. First I was rummaging through the cupboards and snacking more than usual, then I started to notice I wasn’t eating at all. Any sense of emotional balance went on a hiatus and boy was I noticing it in my nutritional habits. Then came client check-ins and it became very evident that everyone was dealing with this to some degree. As a coach and a positive-supportive outlet for so many individuals, I took personal responsibility for getting my “nutrition team” back on track.
In my most recent blog “Make More Movement From Home“, I highlighted some of my best tips to stay active during isolation. It seemed appropriate to tack on to that and share the advice and insight I provided to my clients with our community in hopes that if you are dealing with similar eating habit struggles, that you can regain control and get back to a sense of nutritional wellbeing,
If you haven’t read my blogs discussing the importance of protein, I encourage you to check them out by visiting the links throughout this section! Protein is an essential macronutrient for muscle building and repair, hormone production, immune function, and energy.
Incorporating 30 grams of protein in at least 2-3 meals daily, you will be supporting your body to maintain lean muscle mass while creating greater satiety between meals. You can learn more about this amazing science here under the Power Up With Protein section.
The higher demand for lean meat sources has made meeting protein intake a bit more challenging, especially at the 30-gram threshold. I have been asked what to do and where the turn for the best possible sources, you can find a full list and more in my blog “Protein: Basics, Benefits, & Sources”. Below are additional options that I regularly recommend:
- BOOST MAX Protein Drink
- Premier Protein Shakes
- Protein Powders – “The Power of Protein”
Something as simple as knowing the best carb sources to pick from will help with cravings and satiety while providing steady blood sugar levels. Using the Glycemic Index you will find the best possible carb sources to help with nutrition/satiety/and kicking cravings. The GI also provides sources that are going to help with avoiding sugar crashes and spikes. Think about insulin (sugar) — we want to avoid super quick digesting carbs as these will cause a quick spike followed by a quick drop, give this list a look.
If you have found yourself struggling with mini-binges — sugar crashes and cravings — feelings of just wanting to go face-first into whatever you are eating and not stop, you aren’t alone and it isn’t all your fault. These types of behaviors are very emotionally driven. When our bodies are lacking dopamine and serotonin they will seek to replenish these levels to bring balance back to our brain. Hormones and memory have a tendency to drive us toward food to cope with these emotional dips because it associates food with happy and positive feelings or emotions and experiences. If our levels are too low, we might lose our control and become compulsive. So how do we get better at identifying when this is happening and work toward preventing it from continuing?
My number one piece of advice when you start to experience urges is to get mindful. STOP. Assess the situation. ASK yourself: “will this help me or hurt me?” — “can I track this?” –“am I actually hungry?”. Breaking Muscle wrote an excellent article further explaining and helping to make sense of what we are experiencing in these moments and what to do to help combat it, you can find that here.
Now even more than ever it will be so easy to let water habits fall to the wayside. And now more than ever is NOT the time to be letting this happen. Water is not only going to help keep us full and help distract the brain when it wants to go and rummage in the cupboards, but water is going to also help keep our metabolisms moving, our brains functioning, and our bodies from becoming bloated. Don’t let this habit go! Remember, water is essential for basic life functions.
START A JOURNAL
This may not seem relevant to nutritional wellness but it actually has a much deeper connection to how we treat our bodies than many realize. Now that we are stuck at home or out of work, it is a great time to start new stress management techniques. Journaling is an excellent means to getting your thoughts and feelings out there, to acknowledge what you are experiencing mentally-emotionally-physically, and allows you to just let things go.
Practicing writing mantras is also a great use for journaling. I encourage you to find something that works for you during this uncertain time. Mental health, emotional health, and physical health all connect to each other. You can learn more about the brain-gut connection here.
DON’T GET LAZY WITH NUTRITIONAL TRACKING
Guys, I can’t say this enough! Don’t get lazy and don’t toss your habits to the wind. Just because we are out of routine and normalcy, doesn’t mean everything in our lives has to become chaotic. Maintain control over what you can, and that includes tracking your food. You are able to continue tracking, regardless of the food sources you are having. If it is something that isn’t the best for you, track it. If it is something that is what is best for you, track that too.
By letting new or well-developed nutrition habits slack, you are setting yourself up for short and long-term failure. Your body deserves to be nourished and treated well, and I encourage you to see the value in the small things that make a big difference.
HAVE A PLAN
If the loss of structure and routine has you spinning and feeling lost, get a plan! Again, you have the ability to control certain things still, and creating a plan is one of them. Map out your day, jot down things you want to do around the house or for yourself, it doesn’t have to be just about food. Create a NEW structure and routine for yourself by making a new plan and stick to it. Remember to include your nutritional elements – meal plans, recipes, calories, and water goals!
SKIP THE GROCERY STORE AND INVEST IN A MEAL PREP SERVICE
Not only will you save time and money, but you will avoid the risks associated with CV-19 and grocery store shopping. Meal prep services provide many benefits including less time in the kitchen, cutting down on food waste, having a healthy alternative to takeout, and more. I covered all there is to know about meal prep services and how to pick the best one in a past blog, you can find that here.
GET NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY
If you are struggling with creating a plan, sticking to your nutritional goals, or finding a sense of motivation and self-accountability, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. The best part about connecting with a nutrition professional is that we are well educated and prepared for times like these, and we know how important individual support and guidance is. I can be reached by email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, feel free to drop a message to my inbox with any questions or inquiries!
Aubree “Aubs” Shofner
Balanced Habits, Coach + Creator