When I was studying Advanced Nutrition we discussed other ways that cause weight gain or changes in sleep and mood - it's not always your diet that is to blame.
Think about what you do first thing in the morning. Do you immediately leap out of bed, reach for your phone, turn on the TV or radio, make coffee or pick something up and start reading? Do you rush to work, commuting on a train, drinking more coffee, maybe eat breakfast standing up, then sit and a computer for most of the day, drinking more coffee, not getting any fresh air, not taking any time to stop and breathe? Do you repeat the same cycle for 5 days a week then spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday drinking away the stress?
A toxic lifestyle pattern is subliminally addictive and a lot of us won't actually realise that we are in any kind of cycle. There are tell-tale signs you can look for; stress, disrupted sleep, lack of concentration, short-temper, constant snacking, feeling flat, unmotivated or unhappy.
So how can we remove ourselves from this vicious circle? There are a few adjustments you can make which may help.
1. A calm, peaceful morning routine has been proven to help with anxiety and stress. Try waiting 5 minutes before encountering any technology. Looking out of your window or even taking a short walk will awaken your senses gently. Deep breathing and mediation may work for you too (I us Headspace). And of course, any kind of exercise will help too, even some yoga or stretching.
2. On your journey to work and throughout the day, taking breaths and using visualisation techniques can help when dealing with stressful situations. Don't pay too much attention to anything or anyone negative - it ain't worth it.
3. Set an alarm for every 30 minutes and get up from your desk to stretch/go outside/get a drink. It'll give you eyes a rest and do wonders for your neck and spine.
4. Eat a diet rich in protein, leafy greens, complex carbs and fresh produce. Remember diet isn't only about your waistline - the nutrients in foods such as oily fish help with your mood and brain functions.
5. Try not to look at a screen at least 20 minutes before you go to sleep. And make sure you get at least 7 hours!
6. Sugar and alcoholic drinks are our go-to (yes me too!) when it comes to stress but they are just fuelling the fire more. Alcohol is a depressant and sugary foods cause spikes in energy which affect your mood. Focus on removing as much of these substances as you can from your body.
I hope some of this has been helpful - please do feel free to email me if you would like to talk further.