5 Sure-fire Signs That You’re a Human
With the continued COVID-19 conversations, the civil unrest swirling all around us, and the general state of our social and political climate — it may be fair to say that our humanness is being pushed hard and fast past its limitations. We’re exhausting all of our capacities — mental, emotional, and physical — just to keep our heads above water, and it’s just… easier to neglect ourselves for the sake of survival. (A bit contradictory, don’t you think?)
And yet, we know what it takes to keep our bodies fueled and functioning; eating whole nutritious foods and moving our bodies are proven methods for reducing stress and boosting mood. But what do we do during a season when the very things that sustain us, feel like the most impossible tasks?
Well, my proposition? We just do our best.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “well, how do I know when I’m being human? How can I do my best?” consider these five signs (and suggestions for how to manage your humanness):
- You get hungry when you don’t eat for long periods of time. That’s pretty human. Sometimes, despite our best efforts to meal prep and plan for a packed schedule, we don’t eat enough food. Here are some ways you can mitigate accidentally starving yourself:
- Have the mindset that being hungry is not an emergency, and take a moment to find a sustaining selection. You’ll be hard-pressed to not find a healthy option at gas stations and drive-thrus — so slow down and be choosy.
- Hunger may also be a sign of thirst. If this is the case, drink 16oz of water and then reassess.
- Stock up on emergency snacks. If you can predict you’ll be in a pinch at some point, keep shelf-stable staples like protein bars, meat snacks, dried fruits/veggies, nuts and seeds stocked and available (in your desk, in your car, in your purse, etc.).
- You have nutrition slip-ups. That’s pretty human, too. We will all overeat or over-drink from time to time. It’s important to address that this stuff happens, and to not let guilt linger. Each day is a new opportunity to improve — even incrementally. “One” is not always “done”.
- You love dessert and all things sugar. Hey wow, that’s pretty human. When ingested, sugar triggers the release of dopamine, the “pleasure and reward” chemical in the brain — making it not only incredibly tasty, but oh so desirable. Indeed, sugar can be addicting. If you find yourself with insatiable sugar cravings, try to mix up the way you treat yourself:
- Instead of ice cream, try a full-fat greek or icelandic yogurt cup, topped with fruit or granola. Brands like Siggis or Fage have many flavors of single-serving cups that are packed with protein and have minimal sugar. Satisfying your craving while also filling you up so you’re not left wanting more.
- If you’ve got a hankering for a milkshake, pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk. 8oz has about 20g of sugar, which isn’t necessarily low, but a typical large chocolate shake has 60g or more. Another option? Pop a scoop of chocolate protein, some ice, and 8-10oz of the milk of your choosing. It’s that creamy sweetness you’re looking for, but with a protein punch.
- When you’re stressed, you don’t crave broccoli. Confirmed: that is also pretty human. Emotions play a major role in our nutrition choices — so when we feel overwhelmed, we turn to comfort, quick-fix foods. These are foods that are typically high in sugar, high in calories, or high in fat (for similar dopamine-releasing reasons as described above). Challenge yourself to recognize these patterns in your own life, acknowledge them and then find your own way of challenging your patterns. Check out this article from Precision Nutrition for some helpful tips on how to do so.
- You feel like you need someone to keep you accountable to your goals. That’s pretty dang human, y’all. Doing things alone is way harder than doing things with a bud. If you don’t have a buddy you can trust to keep you on track, find someone that you can share your nutrition goals with and ask them if they would be willing to walk alongside you during your wellness journey. If you need accountability beyond your own circle, consider setting up a free intro with our Renew nutrition coach. We got you.
There’s no getting around our humanness, but the sooner we embrace when we err and try to do our best for next time, the better we’ll feel in the end.