I’ve been seeing a lot of really awesome memes floating around about struggling with increased eating during this time of quarantine. While, I personally, appreciate the humor in it all and am grateful for these memes bringing laughter during a dark period of time, I wanted to take a moment to talk about this issue, as it is causing some of us difficulty and potentially increasing emotional struggling during this already tough situation.
While, it’s natural to have increased cravings or changes in appetite during stress, it creates a potentially damaging cycle both physically and emotionally, that we can feel trapped in.
I know it’s difficult to work on shifting behavior patterns right now, but here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
First, Sugar and processed carbohydrates are likely to increase anxiety and reduce our resiliency to stress. Try your best to limit your sugar intake and focus on foods that are higher in protein and healthy fats.
Second, The body’s cues for thirst and hydration can be confused with hunger. Next time you’re reaching for a snack, try sipping on a glass of water or a cup of tea and wait 10 minutes. If you’re still reaching for a snack, go for it. Worst case, you gave yourself a bit of time to hydrate further and consider making a healthier choice.
Third, Mindful eating practices can help improve digestion, decrease stress and help us to make better food choices. To practice Mindful Eating, I want you to try the following at your next meal:
- Sit down at your table and put your phone away. Limit other distractions the best you can.
- Look down at your plate, observe your food and take a few slow deep breaths.
- Take your first bite, put your fork back down and chew slowly.
- While chewing, engage your senses in the process – how does it taste, smell, feel?
- Before picking your fork back up, take another slow deep breath.
- Continue this process of slow bite, fork down, breath until your meal is complete.
After you’re done give yourself a few moments before you get up from the table – process what this experience was like for you. Do you notice any difference in how you feel physically or emotionally? Are you more satiated and satisfied than you normally would be after a meal?
How can you incorporate this practice into your life more frequently?
I hope you find some of these tips helpful for you!
If you’re interested in learning more personalized practices to help support your stress, please reach out. We’re here for you!
Call or text (845) 547-0479 – [email protected] – NourishYourMind.com/Appointment
Jessica C. Sullivan, LCSW
Founder & CEO – Nourish Your Mind