The age-old saying, “health is wealth,” is more than just a cliche. Researchers are finding more and more connections between finances and health, with symptoms that go far beyond stress. At a time like this, dealing with COVID-19, our finances and health are more important than ever. Not only should we be concerned about our economic and financial health, we should be considering giving our physical and emotional health a boost as well.
COVID-19 has turned our world upside down! When stressful situations of this magnitude arise, unwanted weight gain can occur due to emotional or stress eating. Here’s this weeks health hack for helping you stay fit:
How To Avoid The Quarantine 15
Health hacks for keeping you financially, physically, emotionally, and mentally fit during shelter in place.
TIP #1. MINDUL EATING
Mindful eating is one of the best strategies to fight binge eating. It is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s all about fully experiencing the food and drink you are putting into your body with full awareness and intention. Mindful eating is a practice used to change your relationship with food and teaches you how to savor each bite. It’s the opposite of fast-food and eating on the run.
How to practice mindful eating:
1. It’s not so much about what you are eating; it’s about why are you eating? Ask yourself, “am I hungry, or am I eating out of an emotion (stress, depression, boredom, etc.)”?
2. Eat slowly. Eating slowly allows you to savor each bite. Count the number of times you chew each bite of food. Ideally, aim for 25-32 times to chew per bite. This gives your brain enough time to calculate how much you’re eating so you don’t overeat.
3. Eat when your calm. Digestion shuts down when you are stressed.
4. When you eat, eat! Put away all distractions so you can enjoy and pay attention to the food you’re eating.
5. Listen to your body. Are you content? Do you need more to eat?
Benefits of mindful eating:
1. Better control over your weight by helping to prevent overeating & emotional eating.
2. Improved digestion.
3. Reduces binge eating by identifying true hunger or emotional eating.
4. Enhanced eating experience! You enjoy your food when you pay attention to it and not to other distractions.
TIP #2. Make a weekly meal plan, and an eating schedule.
Creating a meal plan each and eating schedule is an excellent tool to help you gain control over your diet and helps you to establish a routine and maintain a sense of normalcy. It also helps to ensure you are eating balanced meals throughout the day, causes you to be more mindful about food choices, and eliminates grazing. Here’s a sample of what one may look like. (You can also find many free online templates as well.)
Health Hack #3. DE-STRESS
For many people, the pandemic is a stressful time. Too much stress causes the hormone cortisol to increase which makes you hungry, causes belly fat storage and leads to type 2 diabetes. Additionally, stress increases your susceptibility to viral infections. Now is the time to learn healthy stress reducing techniques.
Top 3 ways to quickly lower stress:
1. Deep breathing: Studies show that deep breathing activates the vagus nerve, which can shift your metabolism from fat storage to far burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. Deep breathing is very simple and something you can do anytime and anywhere. Here are two way to practice:
- 5 breaths – Inhale to the count of 5, hold, then exhale out to the count of 5. Do this 5 times. Try this before each time you eat and see if it helps to slow down your eating.
- 4-7-8 method – Inhale to the count of 4, hold to the count of 7, exhale to the count of 8. Please see this guided video for a full demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRPh_GaiL8s
2. Yoga: yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and relaxation. It feels like a full body message and is an excellent way to help you to relax. Just 15 minutes of yoga can have a powerful de-stressing effect on your body. There are many online yoga classes available. Here are a few you can check out:
- Free online yoga
- Online yoga classes with free membership for two months during quarantine
- Gaia online classes offer a good variety of different levels of classes
3. Laughter: A laugh a day keeps stress away! It’s true: laughter is medicine! Laughter triggers healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. When you laugh, you increase your intake of oxygen, your heart, lungs and muscles become stimulated, and your brain increases the release of happy hormones called endorphins. Studies show that laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, diminishes pain, and alleviates stress. What’s amazing about laughter is that nothing works faster to bring your mind and body back into balance. Laughter lightens your burdens, helps you to release anger, it can inspire hope, helps you to connect to others, and keeps you grounded. And best of all it is totally free and available 24/7!
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