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Surviving lockdown – healthy eating habits & a positive mindset

Healthy eating has been sporadic for many:

When the new restrictions were announced, I temporarily put healthy eating on the back burner and instead bought chocolate. Soul-comforting, dopamine-releasing chocolate. I was armed with hand sanitiser, face masks and a desire to find some joy in this strange time.

Food is more than its nutritional value:

A lot of my clients think I’ve never eaten a slice of cheesy pizza. Some think I’d throw holy water at pastries! I, like many dietitians, love food. That’s why I studied it. Food is comforting and enjoyable. It is a treasured part of our social and cultural experience. Healthy eating is part of that, but there is a much bigger picture.

Our healthy eating habits have changed during the pandemic:

The pandemic and social-isolation have seen many routines upended. Healthy eating habits have altered drastically for many. Some regular foods are harder to obtain. Many people are facing huge financial strain. It’s hardly surprising that convenience foods are ending up on dinner plates.

Covid-19 and weight fluctuation:

I want to challenge the pervasive idea that weight fluctuation is not ok. It is. It’s absolutely normal to be experiencing it in the current climate.

Plan your day for healthy eating:

First thing in the morning, plan your meals and snacks. This can be easily recorded in the ‘notes’ section on your phone.

For example:

Breakfast

  • Porridge

Lunch

  • Superfood frozen meal/vegie omelette
  • Slice of wholemeal toast

Dinner:

  • Grilled fish and sautéed greens

Snacks:

  • 2 pieces of fruit
  • A yoghurt cup
  • A slice of wholemeal bread with peanut butter (if still hungry)

You may not stick to this every day, that is ok. The idea is that you’ve thought about it prior to the 3pm slump. This is often when you crave sour worms for no apparent reason (Just me? Awkward!)

For those times when cooking simply isn’t on the cards:

It helps to have a list of backup meals. This enables a healthy eating option if you don’t have the energy to cook. This may include:

  • Baked beans on toast
  • A pre-made frozen meal
  • A soup/sauce you’ve batch cooked and frozen
  • Boiled eggs and toast

Write a list of snack options and put them somewhere obvious. The fridge door is my favourite place. There are times I’ll encourage someone to include foods they don’t usually gravitate to. There is a time and place for major behaviour change. The middle of a pandemic is unfortunately not it. Choose 3 or 4 options that you know you’ll enjoy and stick to those.

Snack-spiration (sorry):

Check out these snack ideas from the Healthy Food Guide:

https://www.healthyfood.com/advice/smart-snack-solutions/

If the pandemic has got the better of you:

Find other ways ‘fill your emotional tank’ than reaching for food. It is important to regularly check in with yourself. You will learn to notice when you feel emotionally-depleted. At these times it’s important to have activities which bring you pleasure.

This could involve:

  • a date night at home with your partner
  • watching movie you have never seen
  • having a bath
  • getting a few hours to work on your hobby
  • scheduling a zoom call with your close friends.

Look after your mental health:

If you aren’t feeling your usual self, talk to your GP. There are also free counselling services available. More details and contacts can be found here:
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/servicesandsupport/mental-health-services

Mixing up your workout routine:

These uncertain times can make it difficult to find exercise motivation. Our geographical restrictions and cold weather can add to this. YouTube has a huge array of free online workouts. Have fun and get fit from the comfort of your lounge room!

Some of my personal favourites include:

Why not make it a social event? Invite your mates and have a Zoom workout party. Bonus points for going OTT with your outfits!

Keep safe and well:

I hope I’ve eased any concern regarding weight fluctuation during these crazy times.

If you would like dietary guidance, please book an appointment with me: https://portmelbournephysio.com.au/book-online-now/

I offer telehealth consults Tuesdays 12-7pm and Saturdays 8am-12pm.

~ Bella

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