I'm in full stay-at-home mode due to the coronavirus... and also apparently in full emotional-eating mode. I'm not even the type of person who usually has trouble with emotional eating! But the stress of the world coupled with being at home all day long is just getting to me, and I can't help the non-stop snacking. Do you have any suggestions on how I can dial it back?
Stress Eating in San Antonio
Hi SE in SA,
I know EXACTLY what you mean. My usual go-to foods aren't doing it for me these days, and nothing seems to make me feel as good as two slices of toast! Here's the thing: The situation we're in is not normal, and trying to pretend it is
isn't doing anybody any favors. My feeling is that right now, we need a little extra comfort. This is not the time to focus on completely avoiding things that make us feel good. Instead, let's find a middle ground between being gentle with ourselves AND not enabling ourselves to just eat whatever whenever. If you’re looking for ways to cut back on the excess eating, here are my top tips…
Set Healthy Boundaries for Yourself
A strict diet with lots of rules is always intimidating, but especially now. Setting a guideline or two that you can stick to can be a really useful way to rein yourself in. For me, that means sticking to my 8-hour eating window, as part of the intermittent fasting
I do. Even though I might be eating comfort foods that I ordinarily wouldn't, I'm not going overboard, because when that window is over for the day, the kitchen is closed. Find a boundary that works for you. Maybe it’s no snacks after dinner, not eating your kid’s food, or just promising yourself you’ll only eat from a plate or bowl (not out of a bag or container). Small steps are still steps, and everything counts.
Keep Busy: Be Productive or Just Have Some Fun
If boredom eating is your pitfall, find some activities to do. The other day, I decided to tackle "the drawer” -- the one everybody has that turns into a catch-all for anything and everything. Not only did I clear up some space and get more organized, it was also a helpful distraction from thinking about everything else going on. If you don’t feel like being super productive, that’s okay… Now is a great time to discover a new hobby. Break out your best arts & crafts supplies (I’ve been eyeing this foodie coloring book
), read a magazine (the latest HG magazine
can be ordered online)… My friend John has been doing puzzles for a change of pace! There's more out there than just Netflix. (Although I have been watching my fair share of TV!)
Stay Out of the Kitchen
If you have a tendency to hang out in your kitchen (or anywhere in close proximity to a lot of food), relocate. I typically operate from my kitchen table when I'm working at home, but I had to put a stop to that during this stay-at-home spell. I was way too aware of the nearby food, and putting some distance between it and myself has helped a lot.
Now is a great time to prioritize extra physical activity. Staying at home often means you move around a lot less than usual. Pushing yourself to be a little more active will make you feel better, and the calories burned will help balance out any additional food you’re eating. I have been paying close attention to my FitBit
and getting so many steps in. I get outside for a walk at least once a day, and I’m constantly Housewalking
. Another smart option: Check out some free workout videos online. If stress is getting to you, now might be the perfect time to finally give yoga a try!
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