As the world attempts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are feeling increasingly stressed, which can often lead to coping mechanisms like emotional eating.
This can include binge eating, an increase in snacking between meals or “grazing,” or even under-eating in an attempt to control the things you can control.
Even though we can’t control many of our circumstances right now, we can feel empowered to make positive self nurturing food choices. Practicing deliberate eating behavior that promotes physical and emotional health is critical right now.
What does emotional or “stress eating” look like?
- Eating comfort food to “feel better”
- Eating when you aren’t hungry
- Eating because you’re bored
- Mindless eating while watching TV
- Instead of one cookie you eat the entire bag because you didn’t even taste the first one.
- Waiting until you are overly hungry to eat and then over eating, until you feel bloated or over full
- Binge eating
- Eating at your desk and not savoring your meal, really tasting your food
- “Inhaling your food” vs properly chewing each bite
- Not eating, because you are either too busy, too stressed, or you aren’t hungry, even though you consciously know your body needs fuel
When and if you experience any of the above unwanted eating behavior because of a strong negative emotion, it is helpful to:
Secret #1: Identify the situations that can trigger the behavior, and limit stressors like negative news, emotional outbursts, or over working and under resting.
Secret #2: Ask yourself empowering questions, like:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What am I actually craving beyond food?
- What’s the most empowering choice right now?
- How do I want to feel after eating?
- What can I do to support myself in this moment?
Secret #3: Acknowledge and experience your feelings away from food. You can journal, talk to a friend, and get support.
Here are some questions to journal on:
- What am I grateful for today?
- What can I do to love myself, my body and loved ones today?
- What am I doing to move my body and/or get fresh air today?
- What can I do to laugh or have fun today, even for 5 minutes?
- What expectations can I let go of?
- What thoughts of fear can I release, and what thoughts of empowerment and vision can I think today?
- Have I danced today?
- What sparks joy for me today?
Secret #4: Once you understand your emotional eating triggers, make conscious choices about what you will eat and when. Make a plan in advance (keeping pre-made healthy meals and snacks ready to grab can really help).
Secret #5: Receive and give as much social support as you can from loved ones. Practice one simple act of kindness at least each day. Send a thoughtful text, or call a friend.
Secret #6: Start fresh: If you had a rough moment or day and did not like the way you felt or ate, start again. You can always start acting and eating differently at this exact moment.
Beating yourself up about past eating is not going to be helpful. Instead, encourage yourself to start fresh right now – without judgmental criticisms or self-deprecating thoughts. And reestablish a pattern of eating that both acknowledges the difficult emotions you may be feeling, and encourages mindful eating that feels healthy and positive.
And if you are looking for fun alternatives to process emotions and shift into a positive mood, I asked my amazing Facebook community and got many amazing M’s for magnificent mood management during turbulent times!
- Minimize media
- Mindful breathing
- Music you love
- Movement that uplifts your soul
- Meaningful connections
- Mentorship and support
- Make yourself laugh
- Make love
- Melodious singing 🎤
- Masterful massage
- Meaningful painting
- Maximize gratitude
- Maximize time with pets
- Magic and miracles
- Mulling life’s beauties
- Making healthy food creations
- Magical journeys through reading
- Moonlight baths
- Musical instrument playing
- Magnetizing smile
- Making memories
- Magical sunsets
- Mottos of love
- Monitoring your thoughts
- Manifest miracles
- Master writing skills
- Maximize fun
- Mindful eating
- Major virtual party
- Maze Solving
- MMMMMMMMMM being quarantined with your spouse
- Making jokes
- Mystery Theater Dinner from home
- Mind mapping your vision
- Mud puddle jumping
- Mirror Dance
- Make out Sessions
Here are examples of healthy eating patterns:
- Eating healthy, whole, organic fruits and vegetables and food for fuel
- Eating only when you are truly hungry
- Eating because you know your body needs fuel
- Mindful eating where you savor each bite
- If you choose to eat a treat, you enjoy the one treat, fully taste each bite, and savor the moment (in joyful gratitude).
- Eating at regular times when you are hungry and feeling satisfied
- Eating at the table and savoring your meal, really tasting your food
- Properly chewing each bite, sending love and gratitude to your body and food as you eat
And if you’re looking for extra support right now in your health and wellbeing, I have a special invitation for you.
I’ve opened up space in the Vibrant Healthy Woman Coaching Program for women who want to create their ideal weight by addressing the mind, body & spirit, while increasing confidence, boosting their immune system, abundant energy, and vitality! This is for the new wave of women who want support, accountability and health coaching right now, so they can come out on the other side lighter, calmer, healthier and more confident.
There’s never been a better time to be focusing on our health and wellbeing than right now. To see if this opportunity is right for you, I have opened up my coaching office to provide Complimentary Vibrant Healthy Woman Consultations to offer support. There’s no obligation, just a loving consultant here to support you and explore how we can help you. Click here now to schedule your FREE consultation.
Now it’s your turn! What are some stressors that you’ve found you had to reduce or cut out to have healthier eating behavior? What are your favorite questions (and M’s) that you’ve discovered to empower yourself and turn up your mood? And how have you reached out to others for support and supported others? Leave a comment for our amazing community below. We love to hear from you!