Overeating during lockdown

How to stop binge/stress/boredom eating during the lockdown

Being in this lockdown is a harsh reality we all have to deal with in our own way.  But let us not throw all our health goals out of the window and eat ad lib, and rather see this as an opportunity to create some great new habits that will last longer then the lockdown.

I have also found myself struggling being at home with easy access to food all the time.  Some of us are not working which can cause “eating when bored syndrome”.  Most of us are also experiencing some degree of stress around this situation which can also lead to overeating.

I have found these few tips very helpful and wanted to share them with you:

  • Start your day well. This sets the tone for the rest of your day.  You are less likely to eat badly the rest of the day if you began it right with for instance a green juice or a balanced breakfast of Oats and fruit.
  • Create some sort of daily routine as well as structure to your eating.  Plan when and what you are going to eat.  Very importantly have a cut off time to stop eating and stick to it.
  • Setup your office away from the kitchen.  Being close to the kitchen can be a really big temptation and send hunger signals to your brain.
  • Eat your vegetables first and really fill up your plate with them.  The fibre from the veggies helps with satiety which means less space for junk.
  • Gradually stop eating processed and sugary foods. In doing so this will also help regulate your blood sugar levels and you will eventually stop craving them.
  • Even if no one sees you it is not ok to eat out of the pot!!!  Always dish your food in a plate and sit down and eat.
  • After eating wait at least 20 minutes to establish if you are still hungry.  Distract yourself by phoning a friend, reading a book or watch a show.  If after 20 minutes you are still hungry then have something.
  • Practice some mindful eating tips that can help prevent over-eating:
    • Always Always sit and eat
    • Don’t do something else like watch TV or be on your phone while eating as this can distract you from your food and also lead to overeating
    • Before you start eating take 3 deep breaths, this helps to create some sense of calmness before     eating as most of us eat way to fast which can lead to overeating.
    • Halfway through your meal put down your knife and fork and take 3 deep breaths again
    • Remember that food is there to be enjoyed and a fundamental part to our human experience. Even healthy food can be delicious and should be delicious!!

“Becoming mindful is the antidote to emotional eating.” Susan Albers PsyD

  • Find non-food ways to deal with stress eg journalling, reading, meditation, yoga etc
  • Remind yourself that your health is of utmost importance during this time.  We are all going to rejoin the world and still be exposed to the virus and other illnesses due to winter.  You want to be at good health when this happens.  Eating processed foods and sugar (what we all crave when stressed or bored) can weaken your immune system.

We are all in this lockdown together, let us learn from each other, encourage each other and share positivity in this negative space we can find ourselves in.  Let us take this time to establish good routines, good eating habits and good mindsets that will stay with us for years to come.