Science and research have long established a relationship between stress and eating behaviors. The year 2020 has been a stressor for most everyone, as the global coronavirus pandemic has affected each of us on some level or another. While stress can lead to poor eating habits, poor eating habits can negatively impact immunity. A healthy immune system is crucially important to prevent and fight viral infections, making now an opportune time to discuss ways to maintain healthy habits no matter what outside stressors arise.
In recent years, intermittent fasting has become a mainstream option for individuals trying to lose weight or improve their overall health. Intermittent fasting often means skipping the typical time for breakfast, pushing the “break fast” meal until noon or later. So, what’s the deal? Is it better to eat breakfast in the morning or skip it? Beyond the challenge of choosing what to eat, the decision of when to eat adds another level of complexity.
Most people that answer “Yes”, may base this on a fasting glucose test performed as part of a yearly checkup. Unfortunately, this test is far from comprehensive and doesn’t show you a full picture of how you’re managing glucose on a daily basis.
In reality, with proper testing administered nearly 50% of adult Americans over 35 would need to answer “no” to the question. Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity are at an all-time high, mainly due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise.
When I think of cheat meals, my first thought is of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He is known to share his weekly cheat meals on social media, often consisting of massive stacks of pancakes, an entire XXL pizza to himself, or a pyramid of mouth-watering brownies. His weekly nutrition regimen meticulously plans for these enormous calorie loads on Sundays, so as not to throw him off track overall.
It works for him and his goals, but do cheat meals work for everyone? There can be both challenges and benefits to cheat meals, and there are a few tips I recommend to help navigate incorporating “cheats” into your lifestyle.
We eat the way we do for a myriad of underlying reasons, and many of these factors weren’t necessarily in our control when our behavior development around food started. Some human eating behaviors even come from our remote ancestors and instinctual survival needs!
With habits being so deeply rooted, they can be tough to break; but there are some tried-and-true strategies you can implement to make breaking unhealthy habits more manageable.
Calories are the foundation of nutrition. They are units of energy we consume and burn off all day, every day. They are listed at the top of every nutrition label, and they are the notorious defining variable of several diets.
Too much sugar in our diets can be one of the biggest threats to modern health. Yet, in the year of 2020 when stress, anxiety and isolation is high, it’s fair to guess the average intake of 156 pounds of sugar a year, will be higher.
Being educated on the sweet danger of sugar can be the fuel we need to create change.