I don’t know what it was about last week.
Maybe it was because daylight savings time made 7 AM feel like 3 in the morning. Or perhaps it was because our bay area weather seemed to fluctuate between grey gloom to hot summer sunshine every couple of hours.
Whatever the cause, I know my biological clock was definitely feeling a little confused and overly sensitive and I found myself noticing changes in my food cravings and energy levels.
I did not want to eat salads for lunch, that was for sure. Warm and comforting foods were calling my name. But what I wanted more than any particular food was to just feel less – BLAH.
Given all I’ve heard about the newest research on the impact of lack of sleep on our hunger hormones, our insulin/blood sugar levels, and blood pressure, the way I was feeling didn’t completely surprise me.
(For more on this topic, check out this article: Circadian Surprise: How Our Body Clocks Help Shape Our Waistlines)
But when losing an hour of sleep is just part of being a member of our modern day society, how do we deal with the backlash of cravings for comfort food, not to mention just feeling plain old crummy, without backsliding into old and unhelpful eating behaviors or finding ourselves in the middle of binge eating pizza?
Here are some of my top tips that help me move through my own moments of low energy, low moods, and cravings for comfort food…
1) Try to remind yourself of exactly why you are feeling low.
Is it lack of sleep? Is it the weather? Was it something someone said to you at work? Are you undergoing stress? Was it something you ate? Give yourself a pause to recognize why you are struggling, remind yourself the feeling is temporary, and give yourself a big internal hug. (I found myself wrapped up in a big, comfortable blanket for one afternoon last week.)
2) Give your body and mind what it needs.
That could be: a nap, going to bed early, an extra glass of water, a walk around the block, some time outside in nature, a call with a friend, a cup of tea, a hot shower, an enjoyable tv show. The possibilities are endless. Nurture yourself just like you would a sick child – with lots of love and compassion.
3) When it is time to eat, take care to stop and take notice of what types of food you are craving.
Remind yourself of the food that you know will help nurture and re-energize your body and what foods might continue to slow you down. Are you craving something warm? Savory? Sweet? If a salad isn’t going to cut it, can you make a healthy soup? Or a veggie scramble? Investigate what your own personal repertoire of “healthy comfort food” looks like and take the time to slow down and enjoy every bite.
While it might take a little while for your body and mind to catch up with these actions, the nurturing steps you take while you are feeling low will help you get back to your normal self in no time.
Don’t feel like you have a repertoire of healthy comfort food? Check out a couple of my personal favorite recipes below:
What are your favorite healthy comfort food alternatives? Share them below!