Tags: overeating | working | home | telecommuting

How to Avoid Overeating When Working From Home

an obese man grabs his large belly with both hands
(Don Ryan/AP)

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2020 04:23 PM EDT

You may have heard the term, "the COVID-19," a phrase coined to project the number of pounds we might gain during self-isolation. According to industry experts, popcorn sales are up almost 48%, pretzel sales were up 47%, and potato chip sales rose 30% compared to the same period last year, according to NBC's "Today."

No wonder it is tempting to raid the cupboard when you are stuck at home, feeling stressed out.

"A lot of people are struggling with their eating right now — and probably in different ways than they're used to," says Las Vegas-based clinical psychologist Cortney Warren. "There is certainly a great deal of research to suggest that when people are in a crisis situation, when they are highly stressed, one of the first things that will change is their eating behavior."

According to BBC, there are physiological reasons why we grab high-calorie and high-sugar foods during stressful times. These foods provide quick bursts of energy. Stress also leads to elevated cortisol levels, which increases appetite. Another factor in contributing to overeating is increased boredom. People are untethered from their natural coping strategies such as exercise, socializing and spending time in nature so they turn to food.

Here are some tips on how to harness overeating during the COVID crisis:

  • Find social connections. Join a WhatsApp group and share healthy recipe ideas so  you make preparing and eating food a mindful experience instead of a haphazard grab-and-go affair. When you are tempted to snack, try a video chat instead.
  • Establish daily mealtimes. Studies show having three meals a day is associated with fewer symptoms of depression, according to the BBC. Even if you live alone, set up regular meal times and stick to the schedule. 
  • Stock your fridge and pantry strategically. Lisa Young, a registered dietitian in New York told NBC's "Today" it is important to buy healthy staples like frozen and canned vegetables, whole-wheat pasta, nuts and canned fish. Canned soups, as long as they are not creamy, are fine.
  • Do not eat out of the bag. Instead, try portion control by pouring those chips or crackers form that huge box onto a smaller plate. "Once you put it on a plate, sit down and enjoy your snack," Young advised. "You don't eat it standing while watching the latest news reports, stressed out."
  • Allow one treat a day. Young follows the "80/20" rule. Eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself treats 20% of the time. Make your reward air-popped corn, pretzels, or whole-grain crackers. 

This is a stressful time, so do not make things worse by sitting on the couch and eating all day.

"You think you'll feel better after you eat, but then after you eat, you feel worse," Young told NBC's "Today." "It ends up being a totally vicious circle."

Focus on staying healthy and make that your goal, says the expert.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

You may have heard the term, "the COVID-19," a phrase coined to project the number of pounds we might gain during self-isolation.
overeating, working, home, telecommuting
Monday, 04 May 2020 04:23 PM
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