Trying to eat well during normal times is tough enough but attempting to curb binge eating during COVID is another level of difficulty. The pandemic is a new and unpredictable situation, which makes people respond in different ways. For some people, the anxiety stemming from the pandemic can cause food cravings. For others, feeling lonely because of social distancing can trigger mindless eating. Binge eating as a reaction to stress is not uncommon, but it can be unhealthy.
Binge eating, or emotional eating, is recognized by the Mayo Clinic as a way to keep negative emotions suppressed. A few examples of negative emotions are stress, anger, and fear. Major life events and emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can cause these negative emotions that lead people to binge eat. Fortunately, there are positive coping tools you can use to help curb binge eating. The following are five ideas that can keep you away from the refrigerator during the pandemic.
Five Tips to Help You Curb Binge Eating During COVID
Write It Down
When trying to manage eating behaviors, it helps to document what you eat throughout the day. Seeing things on paper can make people more mindful of what they consume.
Writing down the food you consume can also help you trace back to what triggered any binge eating. After listing out your food over time, you’ll be able to see if a pattern develops. Finding connections between your emotions and when you eat can be easier when it’s all down on paper.
Don’t Skip Meals
The pandemic can throw your schedule off, causing missed meals and late-night snacking. Also, anxiety can keep you from eating when you should. Instead of skipping meals, set scheduled mealtimes, and plan your meals—even snacks. Regular meals prevent you from getting too hungry. Hunger, combined with negative emotions, tends to be a bad combination—leading to binge eating and the consumption of unhealthy foods.
Pandemic eating may mean eating only food that is around your home or what is safe to be delivered. This doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself of delicious food or, maybe, a small treat once in a while. Eat a variety of foods to keep your taste buds satisfied. If you find yourself restricting your diet and eating unsatisfying food day after day, you might end up binging when a situation to overeat presents itself.
Although you might find yourself unable to participate in the activities you used to before the pandemic, it’s no reason to accept boredom. Boredom can lead to overthinking, and overthinking can lead to anxiety. Anxiety can, in turn, cause you to binge eat.
Head boredom off and find a hobby or new activities during the pandemic. Take the opportunity to finish household repairs or chores. Remain fit by exercising according to COVID pandemic guidelines. The key is to remain active and keep yourself from turning to food.
Get Personal and Professional Help
Although support can come in the form of friends and family, the pandemic keeps us away from the people we love when we need them most. You can take advantage of technology and call friends and family. Or you can get help in the form of a therapist or counselor.
Because emotions are so tied to food, obtaining help from a mental health professional can help you deal with feelings and eating habits. Because of the pandemic, many therapists and counselors are available through videoconferencing or text. You can get professional help without leaving your home.
You can also help curb binge eating during COVID with the help of a certified hypnotist. Through hypnotherapy, a certified hypnotist can program your mind to change negative thought patterns about food. Eli Bliliuos from the NYC Hypnosis Center says, “Hypnotherapy can keep your mind from triggering your appetite every time negative emotions appear”. By teaching your mind how to respond to triggers, hypnotherapy helps stop binge eating.
Binge Eating and Emotions
Negative emotions typically trigger binge eating. By keeping ourselves busy, eating regularly, and looking for support, we can curb binge eating during COVID.