Here’s how you can break your stress-eating cycle while in quarantine

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Image: Unsplash

When the whole world was forced to shelter in place, food and nutrition experts predicted what they called the “Quarantine 15,” or the potential 15-pound average weight gain caused by self-isolation.

Snacking too much while stuck at home might sound harmless at first; there isn’t much else to do around the house anyway. However, if unchecked, overeating can lead to serious health strains. Keep your hungry habits at bay with these tips.

Honesty is the best policy

Rectifying our eating habits means recognizing patterns first. Whenever you’re about to grab a pack of potato chips, ask yourself first: “are you really hungry, or are you just bored, tired, or stressed?” If it’s any of the latter three, put down the potato chips immediately, and step out of that space.

It isn’t as easy as it sounds at first, though, but that’s okay. The goal isn’t to stop right then and there, but to build a habit of catching yourself whenever you’re eating. It’s also important that you stay honest about the consequences of going over your own hunger.

What is measured can be managed

Once you’ve developed that sense of awareness whenever you’re eating, it’s time to revise your eating routine. Remember, whatever you measure and calculate, you can also manage and adjust accordingly.

Meaning, it’s time to not only track the when but the what and how much. You might need to consult a dietician to know your daily recommended intake of macro-nutrients like protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and fat (yes, you need fat!), but you can base it on a general average as a start.

Try your best to schedule your meals and portion your food by buying or cooking smaller servings. 

Healthy outlets solve emotional eating

What causes you to eat mindlessly anyway? Is it because you’re stressed from working at home, or are you just bored with nothing better to do?

This is why it’s important to find a healthy outlet. First, it distracts you from constantly snacking, and second, it beats the core source of your stress. 

Meditate, work out, read a book, jog around the house, and most importantly, talk about your feelings and share your goals with friends or family members. After all, feeding your mind is just as important as feeding your body.

We’re all just trying to cope, but that isn’t an excuse to make our bodies bear the burden. Set goals, take small steps, and trust the process!

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