When it comes to your eating habits, Lee Holmes says your stress levels can effect your weight gain and loss just as much as what you put in your mouth.
If you are anything like me, you always tend to get sick at the wrong time. Those weeks when you have way too many deadlines creeping up, to-do lists that are longer than the War and Peace, and so many engagements that you can’t even keep track of anymore.
The anxiety starts to build-up ever so slowly and you can’t think straight. Maybe you feel exhausted, run-down, out of whack or all of the above.
When your emotions are out of balance, you tend to lack energy and drive. This is when you may start to experience rapid weight gain or loss and not even realize it till you try to wriggle into your favourite pair of jeans.
Everyone I meet is suffering from, or has suffered from, some sort of digestive issue. Whether it’s bloating after food, constipation, diarrhea or flatulence, trust me - I've heard it all.
That’s why it’s so important to look at yourself as a whole being; your mind and your body. Look at what you eat, where you eat, why you eat and how you eat. The mind and the body are intrinsically linked, so, how you’re feeling emotionally manifests how you look and feel physically.
Try Lee's Cauliflower and raspberry cheesecake
So how do we stop this tidal wave of emotional eating and lack of energy and get back on track?
We've all heard the word before - mindfulness. It has been proven that by eating mindfully, according to your needs, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to achieve a happier mood, better health and stable weight.
I believe that in order to create balance, we need to take an all round approach to health and find harmony within ourselves and our surroundings.
Here's how to get yourself back on track:
Your body is smarter than you think
When you learn how to identify and tune into your hunger, it would be a lot easier to stabilize your weight. It’s important to acknowledge when you’re opening the fridge out of boredom, other emotions or actual hunger. If you’re unclear whether you’re hungry or not, do something else instead. Try going for a walk or drink a glass of water.
Then, if you still feel hungry, eat. It’s about listening to what you need. Don’t get down on yourself about it though, it’s something to be aware of and to work on every day.
Identify your emotional triggers
If you’ve come home after a stressful day and find yourself reaching for the most comforting snack in the drawer, maybe call a friend or reach for a warm hug instead. We often reach into the fridge and eat something not-so-healthy because it’s comforting. If you become more mindful in these situations, you may find you stop emotional eating and understand you’re craving a sweetness beyond what food can provide.
Learn to love your food
Food should be enjoyed. Being thankful for the beautiful food we eat and choosing foods that make us feel good - foods that are easily digestible, fresh, good quality, delicious and made with love.
Try Lee's Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad
Learning to be more mindful and bringing your full attention to yourself means you can be, really be, in the present moment. Mindful eating is exactly that. It’s a practice of engaging with your food, enjoying every mouthful, feeling the textures in your mouth, noticing the colours on your plate, hey, even smelling the aroma of your food!
Practice disapline and self-control
On a daily basis, I encourage you to make friends with your food. I know how hard it can be to find self-control with food, especially when you’re bombarded with not such healthy food choices left, right and center. But, by becoming aware of your body’s needs and realizing that you need to nourish it with wholesome, real foods, you’ll feel so much better. By doing this, you can find peace with your plate and mind.
If you tend to overeat, now is the time to practice discipline with your quantities. By listening to your inner voice when you’re eating and developing mindful eating habits, you’ll find you can’t always finish everything on your plate...and that’s okay! If you find your weight is spiraling out of control, it may be because you’ve stopped listening to your hunger cues.
Try Lee's Oven-baked peach and berry pancake
Think about where and how you eat
How many times have you sat at your desk, gobbling down your lunch, or chowed down on dinner while watching something mindless on TV? We’re so used to powering through the day and never stopping. But, just because we live in a fast-paced world, doesn’t mean we need to live a fast-paced life.
I know how easy it is to multitask, but it doesn’t mean you have to. If you avoid these things, you may just feel a whole lot happier and a whole lot calmer.
Taking it a step further
If you’re already there and in tune with your food and body, how do you further your mindful eating? It may involve stopping and thinking about the origin of your food being presented on your plate. If you’re cooking, maybe it’s about adding your own flair to what you’re making and being aware of everything you do. Or finding a new recipe to try.