Food can be friend or foe – the choice is yours! A thick shake can either help your body or harm your body depending on what you think…
5 min read
Food is such a powerful thing in our lives and it is SO sadly overlooked. What we eat can definitely hep reduce stress, but how, when and why we eat is the magical answer to our stress-free prayers.
We spend most of our time focusing on work, a little bit of time on exercise, even less time on ourselves and a tiny amount of time on what we eat. If we were all educated enough on the foods that our body needs to sustain itself and reach it’s maximum potential, we’d all be superheroes! But the reality is, we do not spend enough time researching and identifying what suits our bodies and lifestyles best – this is a complete travesty because we could reduce stress in our lives so easily!
Our body is like a flower, if you water the flower with fizzy drinks, plant it in dried out soil and shove it in the sun, it will not thrive. If you plant it in nourishing, enriched soil, water it with the right amount of water and place it in just enough sunlight, it will blossom and bloom. You can’t expect your body to run at 100% when all you’ve given it is food that drains its’ resources, but you CAN expect it to last all day, with the right amount of energy and focus if you do feed it with food that keeps everything running smoothly.
PLAN YOUR FOOD
No-one expects you to spend every evening reading books and articles and journals and sites trying to work out the ‘perfect’ foods for you to thrive BUT it is 100% worthwhile learning ways in which you can start making little changes in your diet to increase that energy and focus. This means you can spend your day being as efficient and as in control as you can possibly be!
The quickest way to reduce stress, is to create a plan for yourself. The easiest way to do this is to get yourself a mentor to do it all for you… but for those of us who like to explore in our own time, here is a 10 minute activity you can do that will reduce decision making overload, reduce convenience eating (which we all know leads to that icky afternoon sluggishness and unnecessary squidgy belly) and increase a sense of control – all making it FAR easier to find your Sweet Spot and live in peace.
Create a list of foods under each:
- Snacks (try and eat one in between breakfast and lunch, and one in between lunch and dinner)
Write down under each about 5 different options that are quick, easy and nutritious. To save time, me and my partner make enough food at dinner so we can eat it at lunch the next day – kill two birds with one stone! Having a plan takes the thinking out of your day, therefore removing one more stressful, frustrating task. It also means you don’t end up snacking on that sugar filled sushi or packet of chips… (this used to be me every day, but now it’s only once a week. Twice at most…). You’ll also end up saving more money for your new house or car 🙂
If that all sounds like too much work and you want the easy option (who doesn’t?) then I’ve made a meal plan for you. Click here and I’ll send it your way 🙂
If you’re wanting to take it to the next step and really reduce stress in your mind and body, it’s worth looking into what time you’re eating. Research has found that eating just before you go to bed can affect your overall metabolism and ultimately create stress for your body. Stress whilst you are sleeping affects the quality of sleep which directly reduces concentration and alertness – it’s all a vicious cycle! Your blood sugar increases, which means you’ll experience a sugar crash whilst you’re asleep. This adrenal exhaustion means 40 million of us consistently struggle with chronic sleep issues, and it’s such a simple thing we can change – make your last meal around or shortly after nightfall and you’re good to go!
Add this knowledge to the plan you have for your daily diet, and you’re getting closer and closer to a stress-free life and happiness in your mind and body. Goodbye afternoon coffee and restless nights!
The mindset around why you eat and how you eat is also fundamental to getting the most out of your food and helps to reduce stress in the body – imagine drinking a thick shake and your body actually thinking it was great for it?! Your mindset is EVERYTHING when it comes to food. An unhealthy, rushed meal that you perceive as unhealthy, will affect your body unhealthily (I know, it sounds obvious). However, an unhealthy rushed meal that you perceive as healthy, actually affects your body in a totally different way. Your mind is so wonderfully powerful, that is has the ability to completely alter how food affects your body. Dr. Crum (a fantastic mindset investigator) conducted research that explored exactly how food affects the body, based on mindset. She found that the exact same milkshake, advertised differently, had completely different affects on the body.
If you want to completely harness the power of food, start by thinking of your food as your friend (cutesie but it sticks). Start each meal by thinking,‘This food is my energy. I am filling my body with nutritious food that will keep me going until the end of the day, it will increase my alertness and it will keep me fit and healthy. It is my fuel’.
The thought processes trigger responses in your body to affect what is being put into it (this doesn’t mean we can all start eating masses of donuts and fried chicken, but it helps to train your brain into getting the most out of your body). Mentally repeating thoughts based on how you want to feel about eating can be so powerful, if you’d like some inspiration on affirmations then check this out.
How you eat is a whole other treat! Once you’ve created an easy plan for yourself, stopped eating late at night, started tricking your brain into getting the most out of food the final gift to reduce stress is to eat with mindfulness. Say goodbye to that feeling of disappointment after a rushed meal, the dissatisfaction over not choosing the right food or the sadness after not even noticing you’ve eaten anything because the TV or work has distracted you. And then of course say goodbye to feeling guilty.
Mindful eating teaches us to be in the moment, to enjoy what we have in our possession and to be completely grateful for it. This last little trick is all about eating with intention. With every mouthful, be conscious of how the food feels in your mouth, how it smells around you, how the cutlery (or food) feels in your hands, how it looks on your plate and DUH! How it all tastes. Doing this creates a link between your mind and body which means your body knows when it is full (so you don’t over-eat and have to tackle food coma). It also reduces the stress and anxiety our body and mind feels because we start to regain control over ourselves.
To start mindful eating, here are a few tips:
- Start with your morning tea or coffee (or fruit juice – whatever you drink when you start the day!) and notice how it feels in your hands, how it smells and how it tastes.
- If you are reading or watching telly, pause doing that for 5 minutes whilst you eat, and then watch again and then eat again
- DON’T pick up another forkful until you’ve finished the one you’ve eaten – focus on the food in your mouth when it’s in your mouth.
- Try eating at least one meal a week mindfully, away from any distractions and in silence. If you have a busy family life and the office is always hectic, maybe you could find a quiet area in a nearby park, or even park your car up in a nice picturesque spot.
These are POWERFUL tactics to reduce stress in your mind and body using little tricks and changes. So simple, yet so amazingly effective. Of course there are a million ways you can overhaul your diet and swap out foods that don’t serve you anymore but these are just a few ways you can start so you can become 100% in control, reduce that stress, tackle that frustration and increase clarity so ultimately you can take on anything and everything that comes your way. Want that promotion? You’ve got it. Want to final get that side hustle started? Of course you can. Want to lose weight and fall in love with yourself again? No question.
To start your on path to Find your Sweet Spot, sign up to my weekly wellness tips below or reach out to me and we’ll make it happen 🙂