Healthy Eating is something I think we all know we should do, what it means and what we should and shouldn’t be eating. But like many things, knowing about something and actually doing it are not necessarily the same thing.
During lockdown I’ve found it a lot harder to eat healthily. Early on, when I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything, eating something was a way to break the boredom, just something to do. As time passed and stretched, and my world shrunk, eating was one of the few pleasures left, and I found myself thinking about food a lot, and enjoying it more. Across the whole of this period, there have also been times when I’ve felt low and sad, and eating something delicious has been a way to comfort myself and bring some joy into my life.
Like you, I know what I should be eating: lots of fruit and vegetables, not so many cakes and sweets, and not much processed food. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad food, but there is such as thing as a bad diet.
A few things have helped me eat more healthily, and I’ll share them here just in case they might help you too:
Planning: Every week I’ve sat down with a notebook and planned all my meals. I love cooking, so this has been enjoyable rather than a chore. Then I make my shopping list based on this plan. The main reason I do this is because I can’t be trusted in a supermarket without a list: I come home having spent a fortune and with no actual meals. It also helps me think about what I’m going to eat Is it something I actually want to eat? I include lots of snacks in my plan (as healthy as I think I can tolerate) – and the idea here is that I will be less likely to go and buy something when I feel I need it. I’m not sure if I have ever felt like I need an apple or an orange, so I have to avoid buying what I think I need.
Batch Cooking: As well as planning what to buy and what I’m going to eat, if I’m working, I’ll also prepare a lot of food in advance. There are lots of ideas for ‘batch cooking’ online, where you spend a few hours (always at least double what the website will tell you) cooking up delicious meals and putting them in the plastic boxes you’ve got in abundance from all your takeaways. I know I’m not going to want to spend time making a healthy lunch before work, or cooking after work, so having these all ready to go has really helped.
Kindness: I have tried to be kind to myself. For me, speaking to myself kindly has really helped me make better choices. If I am feeling sad and low, I acknowledge this, and wonder how best to comfort myself. This might be with some chocolate – but it might be by phoning a friend, or having a bath or cuddling my dog. And then I am kind to myself about these choices. Being rude to myself about making an unhealthy choice isn’t going to make me feel any better – and the worse I feel, the less likely I am to eat healthily.
So, good luck with eating more healthily. It’s just another way of taking care of yourself: give yourself the delicious healthy food that you and your beautiful body deserve, and whatever you are choosing to eat, make sure you enjoy it!
Here are some places that might be helpful: