How not to comfort eat your way through winter
I don’t know about you but as the weather gets colder, I want to comfort eat... A LOT!
It’s very much “goodbye salads and hello carbs!”. The potential problems with a carb fest are reduced energy, haywire hormones and weight gain….none of which are overly appealing. So, read on for my guide on how not to comfort eat your way through winter which will provide you with some tips on how to nourish yourself whilst still having the foods you want to eat.
Step 1 is to understand what a carb is
Foods break into 3 main food groups which are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. A carbohydrate is anything that breaks down into sugars and is used by the body as fuel.
Carbohydrate foods can then be split further into complex carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates. Complex carbs are an important part of any balanced diet and include oats, bread, pasta, beans, pulses and all fruits and vegetables.
The refined carbs are the ones that are unlikely to provide any goodness to you despite how good they taste! Refined carbs are things like cakes, biscuits, chocolates, sweets and juices.
Step 2 Balancing your carbs
It is totally okay to eat carbs and I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t cut out any food group from the diet except in exceptional circumstances. What’s important is that the carb intake is moderated to just a fist’s worth of the complex carbs per meal. This means that you can have your toast, chips, pasta, or mashed potato but just not masses of them.
This plate guide can really help to visualise how each of our meals should be plated. It also means that you could have more carbs in one meal and less in another which balances out the overall carb consumption per day
Step 3 Eat meals rather than grazing
It’s actually very easy to overeat if your normal eating habits are to graze and eat little and often. The main issue is that your stomach never gets the chance to feel full and so you can easily snack on toast and biscuits with tea and end up consuming more calories than needed. This way of eating also raises blood sugar which promotes fat storage, increases cholesterol and can exacerbate digestive issues.
To help with blood sugar, appetite regulating hormones and brain messages it is great to have 2 or 3 meals which you eat when hungry and eat until you feel comfortably full. You are much less likely to overeat with adopting this method. Obviously this approach won’t suit everyone but if you are a grazer it is a great idea to monitor what you ingest and have smaller portions each time you are eating.
Step 4 Planning
One of THE best ways of eating well is to plan all your meals. It might sound dull but imagine only having to think about food once a week rather than multiple times a day. Meal planning is know to promote healthier eating, it’s often cheaper and definitely less wasteful.
Meal planning is quite straight forward to do and doesn’t need to be rigid. Plan in 7 different breakfasts, lunches and dinners and shop for those ingredients and foods. Then, each day you can choose which of the foods you fancy eating. Having a specific notebook to help with this process can make it even easier. Why not purchase an Apples to Zinc meal planner here
Step 5 Don’t stress if it isn’t perfect
With the best will in the world things don’t always to plan. Someone brings cake into the office, it’s a friends birthday drinks out, you’re running late and a take away is the best option or you just really wanted that big cookie. All of these are normal and perfectly okay in a healthy and balanced diet.
I talk to a lot of my clients about the 80: 20 rule of eating. If eating 3 times a day there are 21 meal occasions in a week. By adopting the 80:20 rule this means that you can have 4 meals off plan and the remainder as your base healthy eating. With this approach you get the flexibility to have some of the comfort foods you crave but without it completely derailing your health. A real result!
Need Help Making Changes?
So, those are my top 5 steps for how not to comfort eat your way through winter. Allow yourself the foods you choose in moderation and you can’t go too far wrong.
Knowing where to start on making changes is not always easy and that is exactly where I can help you. It is hard to change habits but together we can achieve it and get you feeling less frazzled.
Why not book a free call with me to see how I can help you achieve your health aspirations (click here) or join my growing Facebook community of woman who want to feel “Less Frazzle and More Sparkle” (click here)