Stress can hit us at any time. With the lack of proper social contact and support, it’s easy to hit the ice cream, burgers, chocolate box or even alcohol when we have feelings of powerlessness and we can’t cope.
Studies by the EMIO (European Medical Institute for Obesity) show that many modern social conditions can lead to a decrease in essential neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline) leading to increased anxiety and a loss of control of food cravings as our bodies crave stimulation in the form of fats and sugars.
If you feel like you’re in this situation, firstly and most importantly, don’t worry about it. Remember we are in some of the most challenging times in history and you may not need to learn that language or write that book, if it’s adding extra weight to your psyche. Do essential activities and make sure you stay on schedule.
And then when it comes to eating:
- Establish and keep a schedule. Try to eat around 5 meals a day. Suppressing appetite can often lead to pangs of hunger and binge behaviour. Go for smaller, healthy snacks, fruit bowls, smoothies, nuts and even a slice of wholemeal toast with avocado.
- Drink fluids. We are talking 2 litres of water and some infusions will flush toxins from our system and make us feel full and satisfied. Vegetable soups are a great way to get mixed nutrients and have a bit more flavour than simple nutribullet smoothies or juiced drinks.
- Try to limit caffeine consumption. Tea, coffee, Coca-Cola and energy drinks can spike your adrenaline. Great for instant action, but this can also put you into fight or flight and increase edginess and anxiety.
- Get out and get busy. Walks are a great way to diminish cravings, keep your body’s metabolism going and grab a sunshine hit. Find some favourite roots, get a walking buddy in your bubble and remember to socially distance when you’re out and about. And if you jog, don’t forget that your exercise routine doesn’t mean you own the pavement.
- Hit the workout switch. Weights, bodyweight exercise and yoga channel away stress and get the metabolism producing healthy endorphins, which not only gives you a great feeling, but also can reduce stress and help manage anxious feelings.
- Breathwork and meditation is the ideal way to bring your mental state down and access calmness and self-assurance. Techniques like mindfulness or even SOMA breathwork can give you a new perspective on your psychological stresses and allow you to detach and put barriers up between you and anxieties.
- And whilst we are on breathwork, try to apply the same principles to eating. We’ve talked about mindful eating before. Go slowly. Savour every mouthful. Enjoy the taste. Notice when you are full up and don’t eat any more. Feel free to put food in the fridge for another day. There’s plenty you can mix and make with leftovers. We’d also recommend that the phone and the television go off when you’re eating so you can probably engage with eating.
- Plan your weekly menu and stick to it when shopping. And be good to yourself. You can’t be puritanical every day. A little chocolate once in a while (perhaps get one bar of Green and Black’s and eat it in 3 portions) does no harm and stops you then swinging to the other extreme.
- Fruit and vegetables are non-negotiable. As is a little meat. To create those brain chemicals you need a wide range of nutrients across a varied diet. Get everything you need by including all food groups in your diet to ensure you have the best chance of staying mentally strong.
Eat the following foods to avoid anxiety…
Eating the following foods will help combat anxiety – they are rich in magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan (an amino acid that boosts serotonin) boosting neurotransmitter levels in the body:
- Brazil nuts
- Dried fruits
- Whole grains
- Home-made vegetable soups and smoothies
- Fruit smoothies
Remember that 90% practice with 10% slip ups is better than 100% adherence for 2 months before thinking I can’t be bothered and then smothering yourself in cakes and fizzy drinks. Be kind to you above all else.
And for a gentle helping hand on your journey, please give us a call at EMS Fitness and we’ll be more than happy to create a nutrition plan that sits alongside your workout programme. Look forward to hearing from you.