Nutrition & Well-being tips

Hi F45 members,

I have had the pleasure of knowing Annie and Wayde for several years now, and I have to say what a wonderful job they have done by building the F45 team in Maida Vale. Their determination and passion for what they do is so inspiring, and it is people like you as members who also make it an incredible community to be part of.

I am honoured to be invited to share some nutrition and well-being advice with you all as we are in our second lockdown in London and working from home.

Working and/or being confined to our homes more than usual comes with many distractions, and most days can feel very much the same. However, we can use it to our advantage, and come out on the other side feeling good!

One of the major distractions at home is food. Often, we can turn to food when we are bored and with it being so accessible, it can become a mindless cycle of poor food choices without consciously realising it.

Our lifestyle also matters just as much, if not more than our nutrition too. I will touch more on this later in my well-being tips.

Nutrition

To get started, I have put together some tips on keeping your nutrition on track:

Master your environment

Create an environment in your home that is organised, so you know exactly what foods you already have, and to make space for the foods you need. Clean out your fridge and food cupboards, get rid of out-of-date foods, and put things in order. A clean and organised kitchen is a good starting point.

Assess yourself

A good way to identify any habits you need to change is to take note of your food and drink intake for a week, and your energy levels. Spot any trends – perhaps the 3 o’clock binge in the afternoon which makes us feel lethargic for our evening workout. Whatever they may be, bring light to them and be conscious of it. I believe that we shouldn’t try to erase our bad habits. Instead, we build better habits and focus more time on them. Eventually, the bad habits will diminish.

Know what you need

Have a look at this eatwell guide, consider how your current diet compares to each food group. Take a note of the foods you need to eat less of, and make a shopping list for those you need more of. This is just a guide for a larger group. For a tailored approach, keep a food diary, and people like me will consider your personal needs and can advise you on areas you need to focus on to improve your nutrition.

Plan ahead

Choose a day every week where you can plan your meals for the week ahead. Planning prevents us from making last minute bad choices, it saves us time, and stops food from going to waste. Get a chalkboard for your kitchen, or a magnetic whiteboard for your fridge, and write your menu for the week. Put your daily F45 workouts on there too! Be flexible, swap meals around depending on your taste buds that day, and if you want to, treat yourself to a takeaway night during the week, it is all about finding the right balance and making sure you are happy and in control.

Get creative

If you are stuck on meal ideas, invest in a couple of recipe books that are quick and easy, or have a look online for videos and recipes for inspiration. If you are short on time, companies like Mindful Chef and Hello Fresh provide everything for you and deliver it straight to your door, all you need to do is cook it. There is a variety of recipes to choose from (including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free) and it is a fun, healthy, and creative way to get cooking.

Keep hydrated

Being sedentary more than usual can often mean we do not keep hydrated enough. Make sure you are getting the minimum 2 litres a day, and more if you are exercising. Try some herbal teas, they are great to sip on throughout the day and they contribute to your daily water intake, unlike caffeinated coffee and tea. To know more about our body’s fuel and its benefits, click here.

Get supported

If you need to change some habits at home, sometimes the people surrounding us can play a part in this. We might live with partners or flatmates, family, and friends who may indirectly affect the way we eat, what we eat, and how much we eat. If you notice something needs to change, it is good to let the people know around you, so they can support you. It might mean you have to take control of your own cooking for a while, or try and get them involved, and motivate them too.

Everybody is different and we all require different foods based on our lifestyle and personal needs. Short-term crash diets don’t usually work as they are not sustainable long term. It is important to cultivate a positive relationship with food, rather than the start-and-stop cycle of diets. If we find a healthy consistency and understanding of what our body needs, there is no need to avoid “bad” foods. Instead, we can indulge every now and then, and enjoy food for what it forms part of; traditions, celebrations, connecting with others, and so much more. I have kept these tips broad for you as a wider group, however, if you would like a long-term plan that suits you personally, please send me an email at hello@youfirstnutrition.com.

Well-being

Our lifestyle forms part of our well-being, and it plays a vital role in our nutritional health. Each of these have a flow-on effect with one another, for example, if we don’t get a good night sleep or our mindset doesn’t feel right, then we can form unhealthy food habits.

Here are a few of my top well-being tips:

Put yourself first

Putting yourself first may seem to some people a little hard to do, but with practice, you will soon discover that focusing on your self-care is so important and it will filter through into other areas of your life. It helps you to build a positive relationship with yourself and you can improve on this at any point, it is never too late. This is the core of my business and one of the first blog posts I put together, here.

Sleep well

Sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. It gives our bodies the chance to rejuvenate, recover, and should make us feel refreshed and alert the next day. Sometimes, our sleep can be affected for various reasons, but if we try to get the best night sleep we can, it will give you a solid foundation for healthy well-being. Click here for tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.

Start your day right

Practice healthy habits in the morning to ensure your day gets off to the right start. A few examples could be, drink a big glass of water to re-hydrate after your sleep, take 2 minutes to practice your gratitude, set your intentions for the day, keep a notepad next to your bed and write things down. Try these things before reaching for your phone/screens first thing in the morning, it does wonders for the mindset. Have a shower, freshen up, and particularly if you are working from home, take a short walk outside or do a morning workout to clear your mind before starting work.

Stress Management

Long-term stress leads to elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. Cortisol suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system, essentially blocking it from kicking into gear. As well as your F45 classes, try to do at least one other stress-reducing activity every day. This can be a short walk around the block to get some fresh air, meditation, listening to your favourite music, taking a hot bath and having a glass of wine, whatever it is that makes you feel better, take the time for you, and do it every day.

Exercise regularly

This goes without saying and you have the amazing support of F45 for this. Exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It increases your endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) which makes it a great way to manage stress too. More exercise leads to more health benefits, so aim high!

Alcohol in moderation

If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation, and give your body the recovery it needs. High levels of alcohol consumption can weaken your body’s ability to fight infection and will slow down your recovery time if you get sick. According to the UK CMO’s, they advise it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week. Find a good balance, enjoy yourself, and take care of your body too.

Quit smoking

Smoking affects our health and increases the chances of cardiovascular disease and heart problems. As with any toxins, the chemicals released by cigarette smoke can interfere with the growth and function of the immune cells too, meaning you will take much longer to recover from an illness if you were faced with it. If you currently smoke, there are many resources available to help you kick your habit. Contact your GP for more advice. On a lighter note, smoking does affects the taste buds, so one of the big advantages to quitting is being able to appreciate and enjoy the flavours of your food more.

Stay connected

Especially during times like these when we are not allowed to physically see our loved ones or travel to see our family and friends, staying connected to those around us is essential for our well-being. These days with so much technology at our fingertips, it is so easy to keep in touch, take the time to connect, and re-connect. A simple phone call with a loved one will do wonders for your well-being.

Find a passion or hobby

Finding a passion or hobby is a wonderful way to distract yourself from the mundanity of being confined to our homes. This can be absolutely anything you desire, and try to set aside some time every day to enjoy it. Something as simple as keeping a journal of your future travel destinations and goals, learning a new musical instrument, or trying a new sport. Use the time to your advantage and try something new, you never know where it might lead.

Look after your mental health

2020 has been a challenging year for people’s mental health. Thankfully, the stigma on mental health is being lifted so people can feel they can talk about it more openly. We all have up and down days, but if the down moments are starting to outweigh the ups, then speak to someone close to you and seek some advice. There are plenty of ways to work on your mental health as a daily practice, even if you are not feeling low. It will help to strengthen your mindset when you are faced with challenges. The above tips mentioned contribute to your mental health, alongside things like practicing gratitude and mindfulness, which are both very powerful. Click here for tips on mindfulness.

I hope these nutrition and well-being tips can help you through these ever-changing times. If you need any personal advice, I would love to hear from you. My email is hello@youfirstnutrition.com

Some blogs I have written recently also include Superfoods, Vitamin D, Collagen, Strength training, Foods to boost your immune system, and From the farm to your plate. These are accessible through my website www.youfirstnutrition.com and you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more nutrition & well-being advice.

Aimee x

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