Fueling Up with Nutrition

Another tool to add to our toolbox for Maintaining Mental Fitness during the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure we are eating correctly which includes fueling ourselves with nutritious food.   Dr. Bill Howatt from Howatt HR says the basics of nutrition is  to monitor your day to day caloric intake and meal habits, identify the food you eat that helps in fueling your body to take on the day, and knowing nutrition is the biggest contributor to weight management –  so watching caloric intake to maintain physical fitness.

What influences our food choices?

The social determinants of health are the biggest factor influencing overall nutritional risk

Food Addiction is the number one addiction in Canada!  Be aware of mindless eating.  At this point, the focus is on your emotions not nutrition and when feeling stressed be aware of what you are eating.

When you started to need a PHD to eat well?

  • The modern Fad Diet was introduced in the 1930’s.
  • There have been over 100 know “fad diets” since.
  • 1500 books classified as “fad diets” are published each year in the US.
  • The diet industry is worth over $35 Billon each year in the US.

The basic rule of thumb, if a food or supplement is telling you it is healthy it is most likely not.  Characteristics of a Fad Diets can include:

  • Focuses on appearance
  • Promoted by a celebrity
  • Provides no health warning
  • Feels complicated
  • Based on testimonials not research
  • Requires purchase of specific product
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Focus on one food
  • Promoted as the secret

The areas of nutrition that will have the biggest impact on mental fitness include getting back to the basics by eating food with nutritional value to include fruits and vegetables as well as drinking water.  Evaluate eating behaviours by controlling portion size and how fast you eat.  Note the types of sugars consumed such as refined vs natural sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  Consume nutrients that will improve performance such as macro-nutrients, pre/post biotics, and omega 3 and 6.

Four micro-skills to help with good nutritional habits are monitoring food habits, add one fruit or vegetable to each meal, be your own chef as you know what is going into your food, and don’t eat after 7pm.  The after 7 pm rule is only if eating something not for nutrition.  If you are having your final meal of the day from working a long day on farm, this is ok.

Four micro-skills to help if you are caught in an eating loop to feel better include limiting alcohol intake, leverage support groups, and buy only what you need.