How to improve your relationship with food through this pandemic
With lockdown 2.0 here, many of us are feeling apprehensive that we will repeat the same behaviours as the first and slowly watch our weight creep up as the weeks go by. It seems common that 3 meals a day became a thing of the past along with any form of normality. Many of us also found comfort in food, with emotions running at an all-time high.
But what strategies can you put in place to stop this from happening again?
1. Give yourself permission
The feelings of guilt and shame when it comes to comfort eating can sometimes be the worst part. But have considered giving yourself permission?
Emotional eating is incredibly common in times of difficulty. Food is a form of comfort, so it seems quite reasonable that in challenging times, you give yourself a bit of a break. This doesn’t mean going completely gung-ho at the kitchen cupboards, but if you find yourself snacking a little more or not making the healthiest choices, don’t give yourself a hard time for it. It’s a natural inclination and something that won’t last forever.
2. Engage with coping tools and skills
Emotional eating isn’t a permanent fix when facing life’s challenges. However, you can steadily build up a list of coping tools to help you strengthen your resilience and decrease stress levels. This could include things such as:
- Positive note making
3. Create structure
Often our food intake is dictated by our plans for the day. For example, you always eat your breakfast on the move to work, you always have that piece of fruit before your afternoon meeting. But working from home or not currently working will mean that your structure has vanished. Your appetite might be a little all over the place too, making intuitive eating more challenging that it should naturally be. In light of this, input the structure back into your day. Provide your body with regular nutritious meals in order to boost your health, both physically and mentally. This means not going without a meal or snack for more than 5 hours – you could even mimic your old routine if that’s helpful.
4. Be mindful of what you are eating
This doesn’t need to take a lot of time of energy, it could simply be sitting down to a meal with no noise or distractions and consciously enjoying a meal that you know will sustain you with the energy you need. Pay attention to the taste, texture, colour and smell of your food, savouring each bite.
5. Be kind to yourself
Whether you manage to achieve the things you want to achieve, whether you embark on healthier lifestyle choices, whether you just get through this pandemic by gritting your teeth; give yourself the permission, grace and compassion you would give to anyone else.