Tips On How to Manage Emotional Eating During Lockdown due to the Covid 19 Pandemic.
Stress levels, tiredness, boredom and anxiety amongst people of all ages are skyrocketing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hold ‘normal life’ in its grips. How does this translate in our day to day habits? It would seem that this major disruption to our normal routine, with gyms closed and outdoor activity limited, that activity and exercise, a source of relief for many has now all but vanished.
The British Nutrition Foundation survey found that over 63% of people are eating unhealthily because of boredom, and 45% of people saying that stress anxiety and tiredness is a prime factor in eating. Less healthy than normal since the commencement of lockdown.
Stress is innately linked to emotional eating, referring to negative emotions causing one to eat beyond their hunger cues. The psychology behind emotional eating is that one uses food as a mechanism to cope with their emotions and seeks temporary comfort in the fullness they will eventually feel from eating. Difficultly, developing a negative relationship with food, common after bingeing, creates a cycle of emotional eating, further fuelling the problem.
If you are questioning if you are an emotional eater, there are a few key features which may help you understand if you are struggling with either. Physical hunger is characterised by desiring a selection of foods, develops slowly, and you feel ques of fullness and stop eating at such point. While as emotional eating is characterised as coming on abruptly, craving certain foods, bingeing and not recognising fullness sensations and is often attached with guilt afterwards.
Boredom eating, however, is less complex and more so simply eating whether or not you’re hungry, simply for something to do. This is a much easier fix- by structuring your day around activities and tasks that need completing, or simply spending less time in the kitchen, keeping fewer “snack” foods in the house, or alternatively, healthier snacks, boredom eating and potential guilt that can afterwards, is evadable. This is something many of us are guilty of, eating out of boredom, so do not worry if you’ve found yourself in this position, but it is worth identifying if it is becoming a habit and you’re focused on eating more healthily.
If you feel that emotional eating or boredom eating, is a point of concern in your life, begin assessing how you feel when you turn to food. Am I stressed, anxious, bored, or upset, and am I genuinely hungry? If the answer is yes, carry on. Structuring a meal plan is also a great way to keep from excessive or emotionally-charged eating, as well as boredom eating. As best you can in these conditions, exercise and meditation are effective methods of stress and anxiety relief, and if boredom is the problem, keeping busy is just the solution.
While we all want to be our healthiest, fitness may not be able to be pursued in the way we are used to, and a change in routine can be challenging. Despite this, it is imperative to remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and that we must be gentle and kind to our bodies, and nurture them as best we can with nutrient rich food and exercise to help manage emotional eating.
We hope this blog has enabled you to take on some tips to manage emotional eating during this lockdown.
We also have a blog on How Regular Exercise Can Improve our Mental Wellbeing during Lockdown similar to this post which you can view HERE!