For many of us, lockdown has pressed the pause button on our regular good habits. Try as we might, when our routines are thrown a curveball, good intentions take a hike.
Routine makes good habits easier. It keeps us in check with a regular training schedule, consistent meal times, when we work, and when we relax. With our regular routines on lockdown, we find ourselves sleeping late, procrastinating, snacking, napping and using food as a means to feel better and manage a challenging situation. While lockdown is an extraordinary set of circumstances, it will pass. If you are in the nutrition doldrums, use the following thoughts as a starting point to plan for sustainable long-term nutrition habits.
Take stock of where you are in your nutrition game.
It is important from a nutrition perspective to know where you are, where you want to get to, how you are going to get there and WHY. When the times get tough, work and family commitments threaten your progress or – insert any other distraction here – your WHY is what keeps you disciplined and motivated to stay the course.
One small step at a time, every day.
Pick one thing to improve on for a week. For example, a better food choice for breakfast or a sugar-free drink instead of regular soda. Add another the following week, maybe a portion of green vegetables at dinner. Continue to make small adjustments and incremental improvements until all the previously difficult new habits become second nature.
Set yourself up for success.
Remove the barriers to your nutrition success and find methods to make your new habits achievable and sustainable. Strategies include planning your meals in advance and ensuring the ingredients are readily available and easy to throw together. Simplify your meals to save time. A pre-cooked chicken, packet of microwave vegetables and oven-baked chips are a great start to better eating habits if your regular dinner is usually a take-away meal. Consider a healthy meal preparation service if time is an issue and your budget allows.
Mind-set and environment matter.
Take the time to enjoy and savour your food. Knowing how to properly nourish your body is a skill and something we should all learn how to do. Don’t eat in front of your computer and chew your food slowly, being mindful of how you are eating. These aspects of nutrition are just as important as the ratio of macros you eat, whether you are keto or paleo or what your opinion on the Game Changers documentary was.
Remember, proper nutrition is for life. Your continued health and wellness is an evolution and not a four-week plan to a beach body!