The stable base for a woman’s resilience to navigate life challenges, is to ensure we have a healthy mind, body and heart.
Having a healthy body, mind and heart involves developing small habits in many areas of life! Two of the best healthy habits for body health we can develop are
- A healthy eating habit
- A healthy and regular exercise routine
During a time of crisis or overwhelm, often our healthy eating habits go out the window! Only to be replaced with comfort zone eating (hello cheese, chocolate, chips…), which often does not bring us any further comfort and only serves to make us feel worse. Sigh.
So- what does “healthy eating” mean?
There are many factors to consider when making ‘healthy choices’ around food. These can include your dietary needs, your age, your gender, your allergies or food intolerances as well as any medical conditions you may have. Starting with a visit to your GP or dietician can be a great place to start to ensure you are meeting your own bodies needs for your health and individual circumstances.
The next simple habits can ensure you are being more mindful and considered with your eating choices!
- Start each day with a glass of filtered water. Drink more water throughout the day. Did you know that it is very common for us to reach for food when we are actually thirsty? Did you know that headaches, fatigue and brain fog can all be symptoms of simple dehydration? Starting each day with a glass of water, with regular water top ups throughout the day can reduce the habitual need to reach for snacks. Simply asking the question- am I hungry or am I really thirsty? It is also quite common for women with pelvic floor problems to reduce their water intake!
- Eat less packaged food and more plant based food. Simply filling your plate with more veges, salad and reducing packaged food can be a simple healthy habit to develop to ensure you have enough nutrient rich food without the chemical additives or sugar.
- Get organised- Often during times of stress or overwhelm we can often turn to mindless eating without planning. We need quick and easy things to reach for in the fridge that support our body health during these times! If your fridge is filled with easy nutritious options, rather than packet snacks or junk food it can help a lot! Get to the supermarket (not when you’re hungry/tired/stressed) and plan it out. Have a few easy freezer options for yourself, healthy snacks and if its all too hard- use great delivery services such as hellofresh.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar can be hidden in so many foods! Sauces, cereals and breakfast foods, muesli bars, not to mention the obvious biscuits, cakes and chocolate. Simply trying to buy your supermarket food from the outside aisles will stop you wandering down the tim-tam aisle- thats a starting point. But if you really crave some sweetness, try replacing sugar with berries or dates, and try using sugar alternatives such as stevia, coconut nectar or xylitol in cooking or hot drinks.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Gasp!!! Yes, reducing your wine and alcohol consumption is a quick and easy way to reduce your calorie intake. That’s not to say we all don’t enjoy a wine from time to time. But enjoy at least 4 alcohol free days a week and limit your intake to one or two glasses at most. The benefit of this is twofold! Firstly, you reduce the load on your liver and reduce your sugar intake. Secondly, you reduce you chance of reaching for salty high fat snacks that often go along with the wine!
- Understand your eating habits. Are you reaching for food when you’re stressed? Bored? Sad? These are all very common habits and rarely does this habit fill the void! Comfort or stress eating can occur as a result of our adrenal glands producing cortisol- which is a known appetite stimulant, causing us to mindlessly eat faster and encouraging fat storage around the abdomen. If we don’t learn effective coping mechanisms to our emotions, turning to food is often an escape or way of blocking or numbing the issue. There are many and varied solutions to this, but the first is recognition! Are you eating because you are hungry? Or are you eating to fill an emotional void or cope? Ask yourself ‘how am I feeling?’ and simply ‘being with’ your own feelings before habitually reaching for food is a good start. Feelings always pass! Try to replace reaching for food with another coping strategy- like going for a walk, slow deep breaths or calling a friend!
- Introduce more mindful eating habits. This means sitting down to eat, pausing to be grateful for the food you have before starting (gratitude changes our brain chemistry and gives us a hit of feel good chemicals!), chewing more slowly and avoiding eating in front of TV (which only contributes to mindless eating!) Like to know more about mindfulness? Watch this short video here!
Healthy food choices can help you grow toward a healthier body, mind and heart!
You are what you eat, and if you eat well you have the energy to do more exercise, you have the energy to cope with the day and you build your resilience!
Like to learn more about womens wellness and resilience? Click here