Tap into your mind-body connection with this insightful nutrition advice from Joy Douglas, a registered dietician based in Glen Mills.
This article originally ran in our March 2022 issue and was updated in April 2023.
1. What you eat affects how you feel—and vice versa.
We turn to certain foods based on how we feel, often out of sadness or boredom. But it’s a myth that eating healthier takes too much time. “An apple can be just as easy to grab as a candy bar,” says Joy Douglas, a registered dietician at UPMC. “Tuning in to how you feel after eating foods can help make the change.”
2. Take the time to learn your body’s signs.
It’s easy to overindulge when you’re not actually hungry. And when you’re working from home, food is always there. “If it’s not true physical hunger, you’re never going to feel satisfied by eating, so you overeat,” Douglas says.
3. Slow down.
Stretch meals to at least 20 minutes—and put your full attention on eating. “It should be a big hint that you’re eating too fast if you’re grabbing for seconds when others around you are on their third bite,” says Douglas.
4. Put down the fork between bites.
How do you feel after 20 minutes? It takes time to figure out what’s being satisfied: hunger or a reactive emotion. “No more clean plate clubs or restaurant-size portions,” Douglas says.
5. Find other ways to quell your boredom.
Instead of snacking, choose a hobby or a household task.
6. Set yourself up to succeed.
Stock up on meals for the week so you’re not relying on fast food because you’ve got no other options. And instead of eating out of the bag, “get a bowl and pay attention to portions,” says Douglas.
7. Feed your brain.
The vitamins and minerals in food directly affect brain function and energy. “I love it when people tell me how much energy they have after eating a good meal,” Douglas says.
“It should be a big hint that you’re eating too fast if you’re grabbing for seconds when others around you are on their third bite.”