News — distractedeating

Curb the Home Isolation Munchies

Last week we talked about why emotional eating during the COVID-19 outbreak is being experienced by many of us at the moment, especially while we work remotely, socially isolate and juggle ALL the things! 

Maybe you’re working from home, homeschooling (or both!) and your experiencing the lure of the kitchen…the magnetic attraction to the pantry (or wherever you keep your biscuits, chips or other indulgent foods). You might not normally consider yourself an emotional eater, but perhaps the weight of the current situation has caused you to turn to food, or you’re feeling the uncertainty and just want some comfort food! Below are some tips and ideas on how to curb those COVID isolation munchies…

1. Be gentle with yourself

The first thing you need to do is be gentle and kind to yourself. This is an intense time for many of us and it is more than likely that you will look for food for comfort. Accept some comfort food but also know that things won’t go completely back to normal for at least a few more months yet, so remember to stay connected to things that remind you about being healthy (e.g. planning your meals, taking frequent exercise breaks, heading outdoors for fresh air).

 2. Lower your cortisol naturally

The level of anxiety and stress at the moment may be releasing more cortisol (stress hormone) from your system, which over time can do more harm than good (high cortisol is a major driver in weight gain, for example). You can help to relieve your cortisol levels by doing things that produce dopamine and serotonin (neurotransmitters), for example aerobic exercise, time spent in the sunshine, massage, or even hopping on a zoom call with family/friends to get some love that way. Increase your oxytocin (cuddle hormone) levels by laughing, smiling, even a self-massage on your shoulder and temples.

 3. Do little things that will help you to have better choices

For example:

  • Fill a large bowl with fruit and make it extremely accessible to you, where you can see it in full view. Fill it with fruits that you love of course!
  • Take some time to structure your meal times and food planning. Giving yourself more control over this aspect of your life can help you to experience more food freedom, helping you to let go of guilt and anxiety over food.
  • Take a walk during your work calls – anytime your phone rings, pick it up and head straight outside for a walk around the block.
  • Make sure your freezer is stocked with healthy grab and go foods like frozen fruits and veggies, cauliflower rice, healthy snacks.
  • Have a great breakfast. Did you know that regularly skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, obesity and diabetes? For a different breakfast idea try a warm meal of beans and greens, with an egg or tofu scramble on the side. The beans will help you to keep satisfied and properly nourished before lunch. No time? We have 7 day breakfast packs available to order with any meal plan. 

Are You a Distracted Eater?

Are You a Distracted Eater?

 Our world is so chaotic these days that it seems almost indulgent to take the time to eat without distractions. Distractions are normal and expected, especially as most of us spend most of our day multitasking, even when we eat – aka distracted eating.

What a lot of us don’t know is that distracted eating can actually cause us to overeat later on, but paying attention while eating a meal is linked to eating less. These findings have been reported in many studies, including one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eating mindlessly (or while distracted) can mean not tuning into our signs and signals that help us register fullness. The result is we tend to over eat at the time or later on, as we graze and snack on more foods in a search for satisfaction.

Are you a distracted eater?  Do these sound familiar to you?

  • Eating breakfast in the car on the way to work
  • Eating lunch at your desk while working
  • Eating dinner in front of the TV, or while on your phone
  • Having important conversations while eating a meal

Although some of these situations are sometimes unavoidable and just a part of our busy lives, it’s important to try to create time for eating without distractions. 

If you practice eating without distractions, you will recognise fullness and feel more satisfied with eating less.  You may also notice other subtle signals or cues like noticing hunger, or noticing if certain foods don't agree with you (bloating, burping, light headedness).

Savouring meals with all their multi-sensory aspects also helps to eat more mindfully. Notice the taste, the aroma of the food, the different textures and of course the wonderful tastes!

When we eat slowly and without distraction, we often digest our food better too.

So there's plenty of reasons to notice if you are distracted eater and to see if you can instead plan to eat sitting down, chewing slowly, without distraction as often as you can.