The extended isolation is proving difficult for many as it impacts us both physically and mentally. As we spend more time out of our regular routine, the basics of healthy living may come to mind.
Balance and Variety in Food Choices: Our mood affects what we eat. You may find that all of a sudden you have the urge to comfort eat. This consumption of sugary, salty and fatty concoctions invariably will lead to sluggishness and weight gain. No more so than now do we need to do our best to “eat a rainbow” by consuming a diet full of fruits, veggies and whole grains, plant and animal proteins and healthy fats so that we can get as much antioxidants and phytochemicals to boost our health. Frozen veggies and fruits are just as good, if fresh is not readily available. As we are also less active, portion control needs to be closely monitored so as to maintain energy balance. This might mean reducing to 2 sensible meals with a snack a day or 3 much smaller meals a day than you would ordinarily consume.
Keep Hydrated: Not only is hydration important for overall health, it is also a natural appetite suppressant. Keep your beverages low calorie, for example you can add slices of lemon, cucumber, mint leaves or berries to help flavour water. There is also unsweetened tea, coffee or sparkling water as good options to change things up. An adult may need anywhere from 1 to 2 L water/d. We also get 20-30% of the water we need from our food.
Exercise: Staying active is also very important. Exercise benefits both our mind and body as it causes natural feel good hormones to be released. Our aim should be a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical activity. You can take advantage of the permitted times to venture out by taking the dog for a walk or going for a run. If outdoor activity is not possible, then there are many free online exercise options. The point is to not allow yourself to just sit around. Put on your favourite dance music and go wild (no one is watching), or how about those active video games? Doing yard work or house cleaning or horsing around with the kids also counts.
Mindfulness Meditation/Yoga: Mental health is very important. Including mindfulness exercises in your daily routine cuts down the production of the stress hormone cortisone and reduces feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
Sleep: Getting enough sleep, 7-8 hours every night, is also essential for a healthy mind and body. So limit your caffeine intake as it disrupts the body’s ability to sleep deeply, which makes your nightly shut-eye less restful.
Beverly Hill MBA, RD