“The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”Thomas Edison
We’ve all been there. We suddenly feel the need to snack, regardless of whether or not a meal has just been eaten. It could be late in the evening, when you’re trying to sleep, or even when you’re on the go and at work.
This raises a simple question: Why are we hungry? Why might we have cravings for a particular food or drink? Are we generally hungry? Did we eat a meal that wasn’t filling enough beforehand, or is this just boredom getting the best of us?
A major consequence of the lockdowns imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic is the rise in stress eating and, in some cases, the lack of motivation to eat at all. This has led to unhealthy lifestyles being developed, ultimately affecting both physical and mental health as a result.
Worried that this might sound like something you’ve been affected by? The best thing you can do is keep track of what you eat and drink in a diary or journal. Below are 5 tips on how to record your eating habits.
1. Time and date. Now, this is a no-brainer. Obviously, mentioning the date will be a key factor with recording what you eat and drink, but so is the time. Why? Well, what if you find yourself eating more frequently? Has it been less than an hour before you last ate? Eating late at night could affect your sleeping habits. In fact, it is best not to eat two hours before sleeping, as your body can’t decide if it wants to sleep or digest what you’ve eaten.
2. Specifics. A key factor when it comes to keeping a diary of your meals and possible snacks is to note down what it is you’ve been eating and drinking. At first glance, this might not seem too big of a deal, but this is actually a key part of the diary/journal process, as you may also be recording your calory intake.
For example; if you’ve made yourself a sandwich, you need to think about what is between those two pieces of bread. What type of butter/margarine did you use? How many fillings did you apply? Did you use any condiments like salt, pepper, or even sauces of some kind? As a whole, what measurement of those ingredients did you apply – cups, millilitres, teaspoons or tablespoons? Also, what type of bread is it?
By summarising what you’ve been eating, you will be able to analyse your habits and then find an appropriate solution to them.
3. Environment. Another important factor when keeping track of your dietary practices is recording the place you are eating in, as this could be an influence on your eating issues and overall behaviour. A general rule of thumb is to avoid eating out and instead aim to eat at home as much as possible. Granted, just because you’re eating out doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going with nothing but unhealthy choices, but eating-in guarantees planning your meals in advance and ultimately looking forward to them. This will also mean good portion control and knowing of what all the ingredients are.
However, while eating in the comfort of your home, take note of where you are eating and any other activities, such as watching the TV or a video on the internet. Are you at the kitchen table? The sofa? Your bedroom? These habits, especially if they are frequent and/or for a certain length of time, may explain why you could’ve been gaining weight.
4. Feelings. This is all something we’ve had to do at some point in our lives. We’ve had to comprehend our feelings, in some situation that has occurred. If anything, with the rise of how clear it is that mental health is just as important as physical health, we need to understand our emotions and how we feel. This is yet another clue when recording what you eat and drink in a day, as it provides insight as to why you might have made your choices. Stemming from this are two factors that need to be taken on board:
- Your hunger and fullness levels – what were they like before you ate, and what were they like after? Was the meal or snack you had satisfactory, or do you still feel hungry?
- How did you feel before and after you ate? Were you sad and have now had your mood lifted, or do you still feel low?
5. Breakfast. You’re probably thinking “I should just skip breakfast altogether”, aren’t you? Well, here’s some advice: don’t. By skipping breakfast, let alone any meal, you could negatively impact your body and also affect your eating habits. Another crucial detail with breakfast is to have protein as a part of it so that your body not only repairs and maintains its tissues, but also fends off cravings. Foods that are rich in protein include poultry, lean meats, fish (including seafood), dairy, eggs, nuts, and even beans.
These five tips will be essential to helping you monitor what you eat and drink. Be sure to follow them closely, as you may find your life has dramatically changed for the better in a short span of time!
If this advice hasn’t proven successful or you want more advice, contact Ceed today for more help.