A 'food and mood' diary helps break unhealthy habits, says nutritional therapist Amelia Freer, in step two of our Project Me eating plan
I’m hoping that over the course of the last week, you have undone one of your most unforgiving nutritional habits. If so, congratulations for making a positive change! It probably wasn’t as hard as you imagined either.
With five weeks to go, let’s proceed. This week we want to work towards creating new habits to replace the old. But in order to make healthy habits become a way of life, we must understand first why the not-so-healthy habits are so hard to break. What is your major downfall when it comes to healthy eating? Is it lack of willpower? Lack of time to prepare and cook? Overwhelming cravings for unhealthy foods? Or just confusion over what is and isn’t ok to eat? Alternatively, do you start out with good intentions that get pushed aside by emotions such as stress, anxiety, loneliness or feelings of abandonment?
If any of this feels familiar to you then it’s time to start a food and mood diary. I honestly find this is the very best tool in helping my clients to become more engaged and conscious about how they use food. I can tell you all what to eat and what not to eat; but that simply doesn’t cut it in my experience.
We must all connect with our food habits first. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy or complicated – use your phone to take pictures of everything you eat and make a note of how you feel when making that food choice. Or buy a notebook and jot it down, whatever is going on in the day, how you are feeling and how you may wish to turn to food to avoid or manage the situation. There will always be times that we get caught out, unprepared, and lean to lesser healthy food choices, but there are so many times that this is avoidable by taking charge and getting in touch with the root cause of your eating habits.
It’s possible to flip habits to make them positive. In order to remove the negative habits that are holding us back, we must identify them. This week, get in touch with your mood and food and start to use Calgary’s Ditch and Switch suggestions so that you aren’t depriving, just replacing and creating a new habits.
Here's this week's suggested meal plan:
2 poached eggs with 5 steamed asparagus spears and a handful of raw or steamed spinach, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Small cup of soaked prunes (about 7) with a pinch of cinnamon (soak in a little hot water from the kettle and leave to stew for 10 mins)
Mackerel dip (blend smoked mackerel flakes with a little coconut yoghurt, spring onions, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt and pepper) on some flax crackers or gluten free bread such as buckwheat or millet. Coupled with a salad of mixed green leaves, tomato, roasted red pepper, pine nuts and a balsamic and olive oil dressing.
Chilli con carne with lean mince, onion, garlic, red peppers, kidney beans, black eyed beans, chopped tomato, cayenne pepper, paprika (smoked, if you like). Serve with a fresh green and avocado salad with coriander, olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice.
(Make a few batches to freeze for lunches or dinners on busy days)
Snack: Only if needed mid afternoon/post training or before bed
Small handful of pistachio nuts (about 10) and 2 apricots
Ready for the next instalment? Click here to read week 3 of Amelia Freer's summer body plan or head to week 1 if you've missed the series here