Hi, I’m Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness personal training studio. And today, I just wanted to address a common question that’s coming up. How do we eat better when we have other things on our mind? In the state of where we’re at right now, things are spinning so fast. Everything changes every day, it feels like, and we’re definitely all kind of upside down and inside out. We’ve been turned around on where we work, how we work, how we see people, when we can see people. The world is just a little crazy right now.

But last week, I took kind of a different mindset approach to this. I started trying to retrain my brain to think more positively. So I started looking at this as a unique opportunity rather than a crazy world that we’re living in right now. And when you start to reframe your mindset on that, it really does kind of shine through. It’s a unique opportunity. We have opportunity to be more creative, to be more innovative, to do things a little differently, maybe stretch our limitations on what we know or what we are used to doing, living in our comfort zone. So there’s a lot of things there, but eating is always a piece of that puzzle, isn’t it? Whether we’re in normal times or we’re in unique times, eating will always be a piece of that puzzle.

And what I’m hearing right now is a lot of people falling back into, especially, emotional eating habits where we’re either depressed, or bored, or frustrated. And we happen to be at home with our pantry and our kitchen all the time. So we’re just constantly going in and eating. So obviously, I think most of you would agree that that is probably not the solution to our problems. As Americans, as people, as humans, we tend to not understand how to process our emotions very well a lot of times. And so our mindset actually leads to a lot of that emotional eating that we’re going through.

So what we’ve got to realize is that food is not the ultimate comfort. It is always there. It doesn’t talk back. It doesn’t do ugly things. But it doesn’t comfort you in the way that you need to be comforted, because it doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t fix the emotion. Eating does not take away your boredom. It doesn’t take away your frustration, your anger, your depression. All it is, is filling a void, and you can fill that void as much as you want, but it’s still a void. It still never gets full.

So how do we eat better when we’re staying at home? How do we manage this system? Well, I came up with a few ideas for you today. Hopefully it’ll be a little food for thought, if you will, that will help you to move forward, have some forward progress, and have a small success for the day. So first off is eating real food versus processed food. So real food is always better for you. Processed, up for grabs on that one, up for debate. Some processed foods are okay, some processed foods are not. But really, are you going to get the same level of nutrition and health from a processed food? Really not.

What do we have available to us is the first thing, right? So we look at what’s available in the store. Maybe the stores are all back to normal. You got everything that you normally buy. That’s great. But maybe they’re not. Maybe you’re missing a few things. What can you purchase instead of a processed good, or what is your best choice when it comes to those processed goods? So real versus processed, real is better. Trying to stay as close as you can to that, but not aiming for perfection. It’s not a black and white world.

Number one, as far as eating at home, outside of making sure that you have those choices already made, is to plan your meals and your snacks ahead of time. So plan it out, have it written down, if you will. I have a child that’s very type A, that if I could write down the meals and snacks for the next month, it would make her elated. She would know exactly what we were going to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all snacks in between, and she would have it prepared and ready for everyone because that’s just who she is. But if you plan them ahead of time, you not only save on your grocery bill because you know what you’re purchasing, but you also have in your mind kind of a solid plan of okay, these things are on my to-do list for today and these things are not. And so, in a way, mentally, that kind of helps to shift the game just a little bit.
Number two is to block your kitchen and your pantry time. Now this takes some willpower because, like I said, more of this is mental than it is physical cravings. If you are hungry, then you would probably agree to eat seared salmon and broccoli and brown rice if you were hungry enough, right? But if you are hungry and you go for ice cream or brownies, you’re probably not actually hungry. It’s probably more an emotion happening. So we want to make sure and block off our kitchen and pantry time and say, “Okay, if it’s not time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner during this window of time, I’m not going to go in there. I have to go somewhere else, but I can’t go in there.” And just staying out of the kitchen will really help you to avoid overeating right now.

Number three is to make sure that each of your meals that you are eating, hopefully at least three of them, are balanced, that you have protein, vegetables, healthy fats. Now starchy carbs can come in, but we don’t want that to be the main piece of our plate. We want our plate to be filled with those proteins, vegetables, healthy fats. And when we do that, we’re not only going to give our body the energy we need, we’re going to fill our body the way that it needs to be filled, we’re going to nourish our body with what it needs in order to be nourished. And that, right there, is going to leave you full longer, because you’re giving it everything that it needs, instead of grabbing a few crackers here, or a few chips over there, or whatever it may be.

Number four is to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. Our goal is half of your body weight in ounces every day, and if we’re not drinking enough water, our body may still cry out as though it’s hungry because it has to have water in order to do all of its processes. We are more than half water, so we have to have water coming in. And if you’re drinking sodas, or tea, or coffee, because all of those are diuretics, then you got the caffeine on top of the sugars. We won’t get started on all that. But if you’re not drinking enough water, your body cannot sustain life. So it starts to cry out for other sources where it can get water from, which would be food, so it can squeeze every drop of water out of food if it has to. Don’t make it that hard for your body. Get it some water. If you drink more water, you’ll have less cravings. You won’t take in as many sugary beverages. You won’t have as many calorie-laden beverages. So therefore you will not be having excess calories that you don’t need right now.

Number five is kind of a big one. Depending on your goal set, plan at least one joyful meal a week. Meal. Not a day, not a weekend, but a meal. Something that really tastes good to you. And it doesn’t have to be birthday cake or pie. It could just be your favorite dinner. Something to really let loose on, and just feel like, “Man, I got a lot of satisfaction out of that meal.” So make sure and plan something that feels good to you. Now if you are strictly trying to lose weight, or really trying to push that, maybe move that meal to every 10 days or so. But definitely add it in there just because mentally it will help you to feel less deprived, and it’ll help you to kind of push forward.

All right. Couple of bonuses here. If you are feeling those cravings coming on, there are two big things to do. Number one is to step away from your devices. If you’ve been sitting, staring at a computer, or a phone, or a tablet for a long time, which most of the time we do because we sit down and we say, “Oh, it’ll just be a few minutes,” and a few hours later we end up hopping up, get away from those devices. Go take some time outside. Get in the sunshine, get away from those devices, because your body does not like sitting at those devices all day long. It’s just not happy.

Number two is to distract yourself with an activity. So just like getting up and going outside, maybe go for a walk, get in some exercise, go do your workout, go do your stretch routine, or go read a book. Go do some sewing, or knitting, or whatever it is that you do to calm down and to feel good. Something that you enjoy doing as a hobby. Go and do that. If you get out of the same routine, you’ll start to see less cravings. And what I mean by that is if you are used to walking in the door from work and going to the kitchen, grabbing some chips, and then going and sitting on the couch and eating those chips, well, if all you do is take the chips out of the picture, but you walk in the door, you walk through the kitchen, you go to the couch, you sit down, your brain’s still going to be like, “Where are my chips at? That’s what I do.” We’re very habitual beings.

So we need to get out of the couch. We need to get out of that room. Go to a different room and do something different, or go outside. Please go outside and enjoy the sunshine. So many people are taking this shelter in place to mean that they can’t step outside. Step out on your front porch, step out on your lawn, go walk around a park, go walk down the street, whatever you need to do. But we need to get outside. We need to feel good.

So if you have questions about that, or need some help on understanding nutrition better, understanding how to keep losing weight during this time, or how to maintain the health that you have right now, please give us a call. 806-322-3188. Custom Fitness is still training. We are doing online training where it’s virtual, where we can see you, and you can see us. It is a platform that we’ve been doing for the last eight years, and we would love to be able to help you through these times with just some simple advice and tips. Feel free to let me know if there’s any other topics that you’d like to hear about because I’ll be posting regularly. Have a great day.