Stress Eating: How to Avoid Stress in Challenging Circumstances like Lockdown?
To protect ourselves from COVID-19, practising social distancing and staying inside are the best ways to accomplish this. However, being stuck at home for an extended period of time while experiencing increased levels of stress or anxiety due to the outbreak, it’s easy to fall into the trap of eating nothing but junk food.
Due to all the current external pressures the world is throwing at you, the temptation towards eating unhealthy sugary and junk foods increases. This can start to take a toll on your overall health when it becomes habitual and an easy thing for you to settle for regularly.
For those who are wondering what stress eating actually is? Let me give you a short brief before getting started.
What is Stress Eating?
Stress eating is when you eat food to suppress your feelings and to feel good, especially when you are not hungry.
It’s normal to eat comfort food while you are under stress, but the problem arises when you start overeating to soothe any negative feelings. In turn, it leads to a negative impact on your mental and physical health creating a spiral that is very difficult to get out of.
Though binge eating unhealthy processed food might give you a temporary feeling of relaxation or a quick hit of good feelings, in reality, it leads to an increase in overall stress or anxiety levels.
Following a little research into the matter, we have compiled below some ways to avoid stress eating while staying at home.
1. Pay Attention To yourself
The first and foremost thing to do to avoid stress eating is to determine your normal eating habits.
Ask yourself if you are eating out of hunger or just because you are upset, worried, or stressed out because of the constant negative news. Determine the triggers that cause you to eat so-called “comfort foods” which are usually high in sugars, salts, and fats.
If you can acknowledge the source of what is bothering you then you can easily stop your health getting affected.
2. Don’t Stock Unhealthy Food
Since you are asked to practice social distancing and all the cafes or restaurants are already closed down, you don’t have any chance to eat out.
However, some people are therefore stocking up on chips, biscuits, sodas, and artificial drinks to satisfy their unhealthy eating habits which have no health benefits to offer.
If you are eager to stop binge eating unhealthy foods, refrain from doing so. Don’t keep tempting foods in cupboards or your pantry to reduce the exposure of frequent snacking and focus on storing healthy alternatives...
3. Look for Healthy, Sweet Alternatives
It’s natural to crave sweet foods and those that are high in fats. If you are regularly exercising and burning calories, the occasional bit of junk food won’t affect you too much, but you should always try to focus on eating and drinking healthy alternatives.
It’s a great time to try new things and include a few healthy substitutes into your everyday eating habits in order to satisfy your sweet cravings. Some this could include:
- Chemical-free fruit juices
- Dark chocolate
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
4. Establish a Nutritional Plan
Having a proper healthy meal schedule further encourages you to avoid unhealthy food, curb hunger, and provide required nourishment to the body.
Create a weekly meal plan and sticking to it prevents overeating unhealthy food. It also helps you to add variety into your diet and try new recipes you may never have been able to make before.
Finally, avoid following strict diet rules. This is naturally a stressful time so don’t be too harsh on yourself. Do not restrict yourself from eating anything if you’re consuming it once in a while and in moderation. The occasional little treat never hurt anyone after all!
5. Learn to Reduce Boredom
Most likely, people eat comfort foods because they have nothing else to do. It becomes irritating and annoying over time if you don’t know how to keep yourself occupied and entertained.
Indulging in activities to kill boredom is a great idea to relieve stress and therefore reduce stress eating. There are plenty of home-based activities that you can do to reduce stress right now.
In a nutshell, you can avoid unhealthy stress eating by doing all the things that make you happy and boost your mood. Pick up any hobby, explore the creativity that lies within you, or indulge in self-care sessions.
Learn to enjoy your own company and you’ll be able to stave off feelings of boredom for all hours in the day!
6. Stay Hydrated
Though your exposure to the outside world has decreased, that doesn’t mean you should cut down on the usual amount of water that’s recommended.
Apart from numerous health benefits, drinking plenty of water is probably the simplest, most effective way to give a fuller sensation to the stomach thus curbing unnecessary eating. Most of the time when you feel hungry, it is actually that your body just needs rehydrating.
Keep a bottle by your side and drink from it regularly whether you’re working from home or not and pledge to finish it. You’ll be amazed at the reduced feelings of hunger you will have if you just keep drinking fluids regularly.
7. Move Your Body
Exercise is the cure to every health problem, both mental and physical. This is the reason we always encourage our readers to keep up any exercise regime to stay healthy and fit!
In this digital era, going to the gym is not the only option left to exercise because now you can access endless home-based exercise tutorials online that are free to do.
Many celebrities and influencers are also putting up home health care routines on their social media channels that you can easily follow along with. Breeding good exercise habits now means that you’ll benefit from them in the long run, not just during the lockdown.
8. Seek Help from Friends and Family
Our loved ones are often the greatest source of support when we find ourselves in tough situations. On that note, look for guidance and support from your family and friends whenever you feel low.
Everyone is going through tough times and you are not alone. Sharing your concerns helps to loosen the burden of stress you are carrying and helps to promote a more positive mindset.
Now is the best opportunity ever to spend a lot of time with your family and get in touch with those you may have lost contact with through digital devices to get boosts of energy and motivation.
It is quite challenging to put an end to cravings. However, evaluating the circumstances that drive you to overeat despite being actually hungry can help you to prevent forming unhealthy stress eating habits.
Also, try to avoid certain stress-inducing food items and stick to any of the great tips that we have shared in this article to stay healthy.
Remember that overeating will not solve anything. All you need is to be positive and take actions to keep yourself stress or anxiety-free. You will start seeing changes for the better in no time at all!
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