How to stay consistent with your food when you are stressed

By Hannah Wilson

Accredited Practising Sports Dietitian, Founder and Director of All Bodies Services


Hannah Dietitian LaughingAs a dietitian, you’d think I would be 100% all over how to manage my nutrition during the busy weeks. As nice as it would be, this isn’t something you learn in uni. Looking after my own health has been something that I have learnt through trial and error.


As All Bodies has grown my days are no longer filled with just client work, now I’m managing 3 employees, marketing, presentations and business planning. During this transition, I had to be intentional in managing my own nutrition and exercise.


Here’s what I do:

1. Plan food & training 1-2 weeks ahead.

I schedule a time for the gym in my calendar and treat it like any other appointment. I also plan my food for the week ahead so that I can make sure I have the right groceries. On longer days I know that I’ll need more snacks at work and will likely not feel like cooking when I get home. This means that I’ll need to have a meal already prepared or organize with my husband for him to do the cooking.

2. Order groceries through click & collect.

This one is a huge time saver! Once you have your meals planned out, open a Woolworths or Coles tab on your computer and intermittently add groceries to the list when you have a 5-minute gap.

All that’s left to do is stop by the pick-up zone after work the next day (you need to order 1 day ahead).

I also find that this is a great one for preventing those impulse buys which can save calories and your $ budget.

3. Easy & quick meals

As much as I love food and do enjoy the process of cooking, when I’m busy and tired spending a couple of hours in the kitchen is the last thing that I want to do. During these times, I’m the world’s laziest cook, yet I love the flavour and fresh meals. Nothing is easier than spending 5 mins chopping some veg and coating meat in a spice or sauce and letting the oven do the rest of the work.


Here are some ideas for you to try:


Hannah football4. Cook meals in bulk

Personally, I’m not one for a Sunday meal prep, I just prefer to spend my Sundays relaxing or ticking off other jobs.

However, many of my clients find them extremely valuable!


I will instead cook in bulk a couple of nights during the week. Rather than cooking for a single evening’s meal, I’ll cook enough for at least 4 meals. I’ll then create single portions and freeze a few for a night with a later finish or a gym night.


5. Prioritising sleep

This is a tough one at the best of time, let alone when I’m busy! But I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that when I am tired I’m more likely to go for sweets or savoury treats. This is because our body is built for survival and having enough energy is pretty critical for survival. When you’re tired, your body looks for ways to increase energy levels and it knows that sugar gives you a spike in energy and high-fat foods give you a whole lot of energy in a small volume. This leads to those strong cravings or the drive to constantly graze through the day.


Your hunger cues are also affected when you’re tired. Your hunger cues are controlled by 2 key hormones: Leptin & Ghrelin. When you are sleep deprived, these hormones are also affected so that you are hungry more often and full less often.


There are many ways you can manage your busy weeks and months and there is no right and wrong. I’ve found that these strategies work for me but even amongst my clients, each person has found different things work for them. Be curious, strive for growth but be patient. Don’t compare this phase in your life to a phase where you were less busy and life was easier. Seek to learn and improve your self-management skills.


Please reach out if you have any questions!

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