It’s coming up two years since the concept of #SBMLunch was first tweeted about and yet I’m still not perfecting this aspect of my well-being. Don’t get me wrong I have lunch, otherwise I would fall over, I just eat it at my desk or in the car, whilst checking emails or reviewing my lists and quite often with my Headteacher planning and hatching our next plan. Very occasionally I might eat in the staff room, but that tends to give me a long list of “can you justs” I would rather avoid or have emailed to me! Since the #SBMStepChallenge I’ve managed a couple of lunch walks with a colleague. A quick walk round the block does blow away the cobwebs, but it is very much subject to whether I’m working at that location, have meetings to attend early afternoon or whether the weather is appealing to me.
Last week we had our June Somerset School Business Leaders network meeting. We invited Dr Rebecca Hiscutt from www.happyeatingclub.com to talk to us about the Mood Food Connection. As a committee we had been very mindful of our member’s well-being. We all knew people who had been off work with stress or had left their jobs with no job to go to, to break the negative cycle of stress they were in. So it seemed the right thing to do to provide some specific well-being support.
Rebecca was an excellent speaker and spoke about productivity, focus, energy and resilience to stress can be influenced by what and when we eat. When we are stressed our ability to absorb nutrients reduces, further exasperating the situation. Rebecca wasn’t talking about food in the calorie counting way or the cholesterol reducing way, she was talking about making small changes, which form good habits, which stabilise your blood sugar levels, boost immunity and increase the number of neurotransmitters in your brain which control how you feel. The science part of eating was really interesting, there is more to eating food than just stopping you from feeling hungry! And I did know this already, don’t get me wrong, but the practical advice she gave seemed simple and easy to do. I think I’ve got caught up in a cycle of eating because otherwise I get hangry (bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger), or eating because I don’t want to feel hungry or eating because I think I deserve a treat because of my tough day. I’ve not been thinking about what I’m eating. As a family we pretty much buy the same food every week as that is easy to do with Tesco online delivery, a couple of clicks here and there and then bingo your weekly shop is at your door. I’ve got into a habit which needs to change. I need to invest some time into identifying the small changes required to refresh the menu, change what I buy, eat slightly differently and improve my mood food connection. There were a number of key points for me:
- increase my intake of salmon, salad (handful with every meal), avocados (maybe my new breakfast?) and eggs;
- eat a rainbow of foods – selection of different colours;
- try green tea (Rebecca suggested adding cold water first then hot water to reduce the bitterness);
- try peanut butter again for the first time in years at home – won’t be able to eat this at school as we are a Nut Free school. Dr Rebecca spoke about how people are put off by the high fat content in nuts, but there are other significant benefits to eating nuts;
- create some smart snacks (seeds, nuts, dried fruit) and store in the car for your go to “stop you being hangry by the time you get home” solution!
I think the smart snacks are a great idea, I know at least once a week I call my boys as I leave work to tell them to start cooking tea as I’m getting hangry!
So I hope this week you enjoy your #SBMLunch, maybe we need to call it #SBMLunchbreak to emphasize the break part of lunch and help reinforce to us that it is a dual message of eating and having a break from our work? Maybe we need to go out for a walk and take our lunch and have #SBMPicnic? What little tweak are you going to do to help your mood food connection? Please share your ideas, I know I want to change my habits.
Academy Business Leader