Online Trainer: 3 Tips to Keep You From Emotional Eating During COVID-19

Let’s face it, it’s a pretty emotional time right now. You can’t go see your family, your friends, maybe you can’t go to work and don’t have the privilege to work at home. There’s nothing to do except sit on your couch, hopefully go for a walk, and try to resist the temptation of the pantry.


 You may have all the intentions of “eating well” when you get up in the morning, but as the day drags on and you start seeing all the COVID-19 updates your will power begins to waver…you start thinking about all the people you are missing and the things you used to be able to do back when the world was “normal”…before you know it you’re doing one of two things: binge eating your favorite comfort foods, or not eating at all because you’re too anxious.


 Sound familiar?


 You’re not alone! Many of our clients are struggling with the same thing: emotional eating. Even though we may start the day with good intentions, all of the input from social media, the news, and newspapers eat away at our willpower.


 Have you ever thought about the fact that you always seem to snack at night? That’s because your willpower is being eaten away at all day, so by the time the night comes it’s easy to give in and indulge. This is totally normal, and the good news is that there are a few steps you can take to help eliminate the desire to binge eat…or at least help you avoid putting yourself in the situation to binge eat.


Control the controllable- both emotionally and physically


 The first thing you need to do is control what you’re putting into your mind. Your mind is where your willpower begins and ends. If you are constantly putting in negative or sad things (like constantly looking at the climbing positive cases and death cases) your anxiety is going to eat away at that willpower making it nearly impossible to resist. Try taking a break from the news and social media for a few days and see if your eating habits go back to normal.


 Now, the thing about willpower is that it is obviously not reliable, which is why you also need to practice controlling other things. The best way to control what you put in your mouth, is to control what you buy at the grocery store. Go to the grocery store in the very beginning of your day when your willpower is high and you (hopefully) haven’t had a lot of time to take in any negativity. Do your best to stick to the “outer-aisles” as we like to say: fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, and some whole grain carb options. If you limit the amount of comfort food you bring into your home, you won’t be able to eat it! 


Pre-plan your meals and snacks


 Another great way to help prevent overeating or over-snacking is to pre-plan your day! We suggest this all the time to our coaching clients who struggle with following their meal plan. Either the night before or first thing in the morning make a list or use a food tracker to plan what you want to eat that day. Plan well-balanced meals and snack that include nutrient dense proteins, carbs, and fats, and then do your best to stick to the plan. Often we choose “unhealthy” snack foods because of convenience. When you’re feeling stressed you don’t always want to figure out what to eat, so this helps alleviate that problem. 


 Setting a timer is also a helpful tool when it comes to making sure you aren’t snacking all day long. Set an alarm to go off every 3-4 hours to alert you when it’s time to eat. Do your best to only eat when the alarm goes off, and in between eating times make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to help with your satiety.


Change your environment


 This strategy is two fold. We know a lot of folks may have trouble resisting comfort food when they live in a house with their spouse who may not be as health conscious, or even their kids who love things like chips and cookies. One way to help avoid having to resist the snacks is to put your food in a completely separate area. Maybe that’s a separate cabinet, or a separate room altogether, but try to find a space where you won’t have to look at the temptations.


 The second part of the strategy is when you feel the need to eat but you know you aren’t hungry and are just eating due to emotional distress, leave the house. We’re not talking go out in public, but maybe go out on your porch and take some deep breaths of fresh air, or take a walk around the block. Taking a change of scenery can do wonders not only for your willpower but for your emotional health as well.


We hope that these three strategies help you stay on track while you’re stuck at home. Make sure to check in on a regular basis as we’ll be posting blogs to support you every few days. And if you want more support, fill out your information and we’ll reach out to see how we can help.


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