“But what am I going to do with my life? I know. Will eat some cheese.”
All the Bridget Jones fans probably remember the famous quote that can easily sum up the essence of emotional (over)eating we all sometimes fall victim too.
No matter if we’re feeling sad, empty, stressed, anxious, bored or afraid, reaching out for a bag of potato chips or a box of Oreos, seems to ease our pain and calm us down.
However, during the Coronavirus lockdown, what we’re experiencing is more like an emotional rollercoaster.
And even though stress-eating can activate the pleasure center in our brain and remove an unpleasant emotion temporarily, it can lead to more serious health consequences, in the long run, the one that we would likely try to avoid.
So how can you avoid gaining weight while being stuck in your home? Here are a few tips to begin.
Stock Your Fridge With Real Food
To be prepared to fight the challenge, you should plan your meals ahead.
Try to visualize the meals you and your family could consume for a week. Consider the meals you love, as well as the time you will have to prepare them. With such a plan, you can easily make a shopping list of all the ingredients you need, and avoid impulse shopping or forgetting about essential groceries.
Stock up on food that can stay fresh for a week or longer, such as corn tortillas, instant oatmeals, sturdy fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, sauces, soups and broths, cheese, beans, and legumes.
Explore healthier snack options, such as nuts, seeds, and fruit that can keep you full throughout the day and ease your cravings. Limit the purchase of foods that are tempting calorie bombs, such as cookies, chips, sodas, or ice cream.
If you still find it hard to control your hunger and notice that you’re gaining weight, you may find that the appetite suppressant pills can help you through the hard times.
Schedule Your Workouts
Regular exercise should help you maintain your health and weight goals.
General recommendations for the adults are 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity or at least 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical exercise during a week.
Ensure you schedule your training to meet these requirements.
During coronavirus lockdown, try to keep your outings to the minimum. There are some great exercise sessions you can have in your apartment, with or without some basic equipment.
When your motivation is down, just think about Elisha Nochomovich, a seasoned runner, who spent almost seven hours running a marathon at his 7-meters long balcony. When there is a will, there’s a way!
Develop Positive Stress Management Techniques
As the coronavirus outbreak is a crisis that is not very likely to end soon, you should try to develop positive techniques for dealing with stress and other unpleasant emotions.
One of the efficient ways to deal with your anxiety is learning how to “postpone your worries” and take more control of your emotional triggers.
You can begin by setting an exact hour, location, and length of time for worrying. If, during the day, you become aware of your worries, make a note of them, and try to postpone your thinking to the designated hour. Various mindfulness techniques can help you turn your focus back to the present moment, and continue with the previous activities.
When the worrying time comes, read your notes, and only think about them if you still feel the need to. Try not to spend longer than the set amount of time on your worries.
This is a new skill you need to develop, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up if you find it hard at the beginning.
Also, try to find alternatives to your emotional eating. If boredom is what often triggers you to eat, make a list of activities you can do instead. It may be solving a crossword, or playing a Sudoku game on your phone, whatever drives your attention away from grabbing that chocolate bar.
If it’s loneliness or sadness, have a list of people who you can reach out to, and find comfort in authentic human bonds, rather than the food.
It may seem hard, but keeping yourself fit, physically and mentally healthy is achievable even with the outbreak around.