Health Diary Week 22: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Somewhat Unsettled…

Portrait of my sister (Frida-style) that my Mum painted for art class

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Hey everyone. I hope you’re keeping well. Welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates and some positive smile-provoking experiences…

What’s New

I’ll admit I’ve had a week with feelings of anxiety sometimes creeping in – but then haven’t most of us? It wasn’t helped by becoming unwell last week, starting with a headache, sore throat and gut ache, later with further symptoms of light-headedness, dry cough, slightly tight chest and body aches (no fever). It wasn’t a cold, so I assume it was either mild flu but ‘Probably That Coronavirus’ (no testing for mild cases here yet). Thankfully, at time of writing (Week 23) I’ve progressively felt better.

Me keeping cosy & reading one of my favourite books in the sunny garden during self-isolation

My sleep has been very much disrupted, with late nights, troubled dreams and waking several times. On Saturday night, I woke in the early hours of the morning feeling I couldn’t breathe. I suspect I had a sleep panic attack[1] – panic attacks are highly unusual for me – I was okay after giving myself a calming talk. Usually when I’ve slept poorly, I get hungry and have little willpower, but it wasn’t an issue this week – perhaps a mix of feeling unwell and a bit anxious.

Me asleep, totally exhausted & struggling with altitude sickness at a cafe in Peru after returning from the Inca Trail trek (2008)

Despite feeling a bit rubbish, I was able to occupy my mind through some reading and learning, including a fascinating (free) online NutriWebinar lecture about how diet affects gut microbes and athlete health by Dr Neil Williams from Nottingham Trent University. Next week I start a 3-week (free) online course ‘COVID-19 – Tackling the novel coronavirus’ by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine via Future Learn – I studied ‘Infectious disease and public health’ throughout the final year of my Health Sciences degree, so it’s something I’d be interested in regardless of the current situation.

My continuing professional development certificate: Diet & the gut microbiome in athlete health & performance

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

This week I wasn’t surprised to have lost both body fat and weight – I was expecting to have lost more weight, although on Thursday my weight was at its lowest since this journey started at 164.2 lb (74.5 kg). However, it rose to 165.0 (74.8 kg) by Monday’s weigh-in. Worth noting, is that I haven’t been able to exercise for over a week:

Week 22 results – 10 lb total weight loss – yey!

Food and Nutrition

So, what did I eat? Thankfully, we had plenty of fresh food items that were topped up later in the week with an online delivery. This supported us to consume adequate nutrients, including varied fibre sources – important for helping our gut microbes protect our overall health[2, 3].

Snacks:

Snacking was minimal – once I had mixed unsalted nuts and another time some raw chocolate goji berries.

Breakfast:

I skipped two breakfasts, but others consisted of fruit salad three times, mixed unsalted nuts and a slice of seeded wholegrain toast with coleslaw and tomato – no photos unfortunately.

Lunch:

Lunches were mainly various versions of my My Typical Salad depending on what we had available and once a wholegrain pitta with hummus and slice of toast with coleslaw & beetroot:

Some of my various salad lunches – dependant on what we had available

Dinner:

Our oven temporarily broke – very bad timing given we’re self-isolating! Thankfully it started working again later in the week with a bit of tinkering, but we think it’s ‘on the out’. For dinners: twice we had mixed bean chilli with brown rice, avocado and salsa. A couple of times we had mushroom, pea and potato curry and red lentil dhal with rice. Another meal was  Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausage, stuffing, roast potato, butternut squash, carrot, celeriac and griddled courgette with gravy (similar to Week 21). Also a jacket potato with baked beans and red lentil pasta with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

This week’s dinners: Clockwise: Mushroom, pea & potato curry & red lentil dhal with rice. Mixed bean chilli with brown rice, avocado & salsa. Red lentil pasta with extra virgin olive oil & B12 nutritional yeast flakes (‘nooch’). Jacket potato with baked beans. (A fibre fest!).

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

So that’s the news of what’s on my plate. I’d like to finish this post with some photos taken of things that made me smile whilst recuperating in the garden this week. Until next time, take care all…

Making shapes out of clouds (what do you see?) and that beautiful blue sky:

Busy Bee:

Flowers:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

Week 23>>>
<<<Week 21
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References

1. National Health Service, 2019. Anxiety, fear and panic [online]. Available from: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-panic/.
2. British Nutrition Foundation, 2018. Dietary fibre [online]. Available from: www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/basics/fibre.html.
3. Neyrinck, A., M., Rodriguez, J., Vinoy, S., Maquet, V., Walter, J., Bischoff, S. C., Laville, M. and Delzenne, N. M., 2020. The FiberTAG project: Tagging dietary fibre intake by measuring biomarkers related to the gut microbiota and their interest for health. British Nutrition Foundation: Nutrition Bulletin [online], 45 (1), 59-65. Available from:  https://doi.org/10.1111/nbu.12416.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

13 thoughts on “Health Diary Week 22: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

    • Hi there, thanks so much for the positive comments 🙂 I’d just like to check which part you’d like me to elaborate further on – was it COVID-19 or the gut microbiome and athlete performance? Thanks 🙂

      Like

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