Health During Lockdown
During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to try and look after both your physical and mental health, we may have lost a certain element of control in our lives, but we have traded that for a rare opportunity to reflect, learn new skills or take up new or old hobbies. Also, there's never been a better time - or motivator - to look after our health.
This is such a positive opportunity to reflect on our lifestyles and put new habits in place that will lead to better health in the long term.
In the second of our series of blogs, we look at the effect nutrition has on health whilst in lockdown.
Part three, will follow shortly, which looks at sleep. With the final part covering stress management.
One of the biggest aspects that people struggle with is the ability to control the food they eat, from being busy and eating on the go to socialising and enjoying going out and drinking this can be a huge obstacle, especially for people who are looking to drop body fat. We are in control of everything we eat in the current climate, there are no unplanned surprises, that we didn't see coming, and this makes it the opportune moment to get some good habits in place.
Here are a few easy dietary tips to improve health and add immune function.
The first aspect we like to look at is protein. A good aim is to ensure that we have a good protein serving with each meal, protein is great as it adds to immune function and also helps send signals to tell your brain, that its time to stop eating.
Secondly, look at your fruits and vegetables you are getting throughout the day. Realistically, to start with, we should at least be looking to get vegetables in at dinner and a couple of pieces of fruit as a minimum throughout the day. Hitting 5-7 portions a day can be a big jump for some people, so like most things start small then build on it. Make a dietary change, get used to the change, then build on the foundations, a good progression from the above, would be to add a side salad in at lunch, or some berries in your porridge.
Often overlooked is fibre and hydration. Fibre protects against bowel problems and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fibre can help maintain levels of good gut bacteria. Whilst also helping you feel full. Aim for 20-30g a day of fibre to be optimal.
Hydration is often forgotten about. Literally, forgetting to drink is the main issue. The easiest marker for assessing hydration levels, without sounding horrible, is by looking at urine color. If it's dark, you could well be dehydrated. If it's clear then that's great. A tip to ensure you drink is to keep a bottle or cup of liquid, close by at all times. It is often when there's no drink handy that we forget to rehydrate.
The biggest mistake we see with nutrition is the ‘all or nothing’ approach either everything is ‘healthy’ or nothing is, if we can aim for 70-80% of the time we eat good quality food in the right quantities then 20-30% we can eat the food and drink alcohol that we enjoy, that can give us a good balance, with what we need vs what we want, the Zoom/ FaceTime pub quiz with friends is the highlight of my week right now. Be good 80% of the time, so that you can still enjoy the odd treat.
Side note - when looking to lose body fat it is far easier to eat 100 calories less than ‘burn’ the 100 calories.