COVID-19: Ways to Curb Emotional Eating During a Quarantine

As the global population comes together to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is gripped with a crippling fear for the future.

What will tomorrow look like? How much worse will it get? Will the world ever recover from this pandemic? Will I lose my job? What will happen to my kids? Will my kids live to see their future? And so on…

As confirmed by the World Health Organization, anxiety and uncertainty are commonly co-occurring symptoms during a health emergency. Social distancing and quarantine can make it worse because you don’t have people around to talk it out with.

As the threat of an economic recession and staggering fatalities becomes real, people search for ways to survive with mass hysteria. You need something to pass the day. One way to do that is to eat uncontrollably and distract your mind with food.

While stress eating may take your worries away during meal times, but they can also add extra pounds to your bodyweight. And sometimes, that extra weight can be impossible to get rid of.

Here are some ways to curb emotional eating during a quarantine.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

What makes you want to grab a bite? Is it the anxiety of losing out on what you have at present that’s making you want to load up on more? Or is it weakness from stressing out so much?

When you eat more during the quarantine, the real question is not to ask how many carbs but why so many carbs. Does food make you feel better or worse? Or is it just a distraction? It’s important that you ask yourself these questions and find an answer.

Acknowledging your feelings is important in finding the right reason behind emotional eating. You don’t want to put on 10 extra pounds only to realize that it could be avoided by orienting your mind away from stresses and onto something productive that grasps your attention.

Once you do that, it’ll become manageable to live through periods of severe anxiety and fear. It’s normal to fear for your life during a pandemic because it’s your survival instinct. But to eat through this fear is not normal. Hear your body and see what it’s trying to tell you through unusual eating habits and hunger routines.

Recognize Your Triggers

Do you check the coronavirus death toll first thing in the morning after you wake up?

How many news channels do you follow for updates on the pandemic?

Have you been watching an economic analysis of the current business lockdown?

If that’s the kind of media content you’re consuming, you’re bound to be at your nerve’s end all day. Excessive information about a situation that cannot be resolved within a day or even a month is impractical. It can add unnecessary hassles in day to day living and make life difficult. You need to cut out such stressors and focus on what you have and not what you can lose. This could be the fundamental trigger in your life which is causing you to eat more.

Running your mind on so many fronts simultaneously also consumes more energy and hence makes you hungry. While it’s good to work your brain, it’s not healthy to exhaust yourself over negative thoughts alone. Recognize your triggers and shut them out piecemeal. Start by cutting down the media that you’re exposed to. Switch to more positive news for different information.

Make Conscious Eating Choices

Once you know that you’re in the habit of eating to cope with stress, you can utilize this to gain more nutrition. That’ll only happen when you start making conscious food choices. You can’t walk into the kitchen mindlessly and grab whatever is left on the counter.

You need to make a mental note of eating fresh greens, seasonal fruits, water, whole grains and something else you like. You may or may not feel better right after eating healthy but it’ll benefit you in the long run. Remember: weaning off bad habits is never an easy thing to do but it is the right thing to do.

Start by noticing how healthy your diet is. If it’s comprised off fast food, oily treats, soft and hard drinks, you need to control your indulgences. Cut down on your alcohol intake. Switch to less oily, more nutritious alternatives than burgers and fries. And start taking supplements to cover your deficiencies.

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