Step 1: Give yourself a break! Recognize that this is an incredibly stressful time for EVERYONE. I can’t think of one single person that has not been impacted by this virus. This is something none of us have ever experienced. Our future is uncertain and that fills many of us with daily anxiety. If you find that you are eating to help you cope, you are not alone. Eating is a great distractor.
Step 2: Now that you are aware of it, decide to stop this unhealthy behavior and start processing your emotions in a healthy, productive way. The brain does not like stress. It seeks immediate relief. If you can distract yourself by baking cookies, making mac and cheese, or eating chips the brain sees this as relief and it encourages you to continue to make these choices. This is how you develop bad habits.
Step 3: Pause and ask yourself “Am I physically hungry?” If yes, give yourself something that will nourish your body, not make it feel sluggish or stuffed. If you realize you aren’t physically hungry, go to step 4.
Step 4: Ask yourself “If I am not physically hungry, then what is it I really need?”
I’m bored – I need something to do for the afternoon.
I’m angry – I need to process my anger and I need some alone time.
I’m scared – I need to know my parents are OK.
I’m lonely – I need to connect with a friend or family member.
I’m stressed out – I need to relieve this stress somehow.
I’m anxious – I need to come up with a plan of what I am going to do if I get laid off.
Step 5: Recognize food will only make it better for the time you are chewing. Then the emotion will return. Think of a way to meet your needs other than food.
I’m bored – I need something to fill up the afternoon. I’m going to go sit outside and continue reading the book I just started.
I’m angry – I need to process my anger and I need some alone time. I’m going on a walk and think this through.
I’m scared – I need to know my parents are OK. I’m going to call them now.
I’m lonely – I need to connect with a friend or family member. I’m going to FaceTime my sister.
I’m stressed out – I need to relieve this stress somehow. I’m going to take an online yoga class and then enjoy a nice, hot shower.
I’m anxious – I need to come up with a plan of what I am going to do if I get laid off. I’m going to find my old resume and update it.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I want to extend an invitation to you to join my closed Facebook group called Willpower and Weight Loss Questions. In this group I and my staff share daily tips, recipes, suggestions and provide support for others who are on the journey towards cultivating a healthy relationship with food. I’d love to meet you! Just click on the link below and make sure you answer the qualifying questions. This is a closed, private group.