Diet and Lockdown: How to Stop Binge Eating

avoid binge eating

Health tips | 26 Mar 2020

The Importance of Diet During Lockdown

11 Tips to Avoid Binge Eating in Lockdown

Being quarantined inside your home glued to the couch with Netflix and a box of donuts seems like the only viable option to pass time lately.

Your current favourite show probably isn’t the only thing you’re bingeing right now. 

Seems great but the downside, however, is increased weight as well as cavities. In times like this when you have to stay at home for weeks with limited physical activity and easy access to the 24 hour fridge, what other options are there? 

There are many hidden blessings to being stuck at home for the next few weeks. This could be the best time to detox from all the pollution of the outside world, time to detox your mind and your life. Take a break from real life and bask in this time you now have for yourself. You can catch up on your reading, lower your carbon footprint, binge watch your favourite shows that you haven’t been able to catch up on and most importantly you have the time to carefully plan and freshly cook all your meals at home.

You can cut down on the takeaways (especially since a lot of them are closed now anyway), start a home workout and start taking care of yourself the way you’ve always wanted to but never had enough time to. Just because gyms are closed down and we’re all out of loo roll doesn’t have to mean we sit in our pyjamas all day binge eating cookie dough ice cream (don’t worry my freezer is fully stocked of ice cream too). 

Stress eating is a thing, binge eating because you’re bored is also a very real thing. And you know what, taking 15 trips to the fridge and eating just because you can, is also a real thing. But, maintaining your weight is as crucial now than it was before the virus outbreak. More importantly once this is all over we all need our summer bodies in shape to get the hell out of the house! 

“I can’t stop eating it’s the stress”

The amount of reports of people overeating and bingeing on junk food is getting higher and higher. The uncertainty of our economy and even our health right now is quite stressful, but eating your way out of it isn’t the best plan. Obviously being stuck at home means you’re probably bored and you are limited to physical activity with easy access to your fridge. Sounds like a dream. 

I am here to convince you that there is a better use of your time at home, in case motivating your summer body wasn’t enough. I will also give you some tips and tricks as to how to stay healthy and somewhat productive while you’re stuck at home over the next few weeks, courtesy of The Neem Tree: 

Follow a structured eating plan 

Try to create a structure to your eating. Plan specific times to eat, set meals and portion sizes. Maybe even having a cutoff time to make sure you don’t overeat without even realising. Looking into intermittent fasting would be a good way to make sure you do not overeat as you will have a time span during the day when you can start eating and when you can stop.

To help manage your eating habits set specific times during the day for each meal and snacks. Using health tracking/ calorie counting apps will also push you to be accountable for everything you are eating and hopefully help you control it a bit better. 

Fresh air

It is really tempting to sit on your couch all day and open a window for 20 minutes and call it fresh air. But your body needs a break and so does your mind. The government is allowing one form of exercise outside per day for a reason! Your body needs it. Even if it is a quick walk around the park down the road, it helps you get out of your pyjamas and out of the house. And it gives you that necessary break out of the environment you are cooped up in.

Extra props to you if you actually manage to go for a run and get those extra endorphins going. I’m currently in bed writing this article for you, but i’ll get to it, eventually. What’s that saying about those who can’t do…? 

Change your clothes! 

Your mind needs to distinguish between work and leisure time. Whether you’re stuck at home ‘relaxing’ or stuck working from home. It’s easy to wake up and work in the same pyjamas you had slept in. Change your clothes like you would a normal day. I would never wear jeans just to stay at home all day so distinguish between day and night outfits, like day pyjamas and night pyjamas. It gets your mind ready to work and not focused on getting back in bed. 

Eat all of your food on a plate

Eating food straight out of the packaging is so tempting but emptying your treats on a plate allows you to be visually accountable for what you are consuming. It may even deter you from opening another packet. 

Limit high calorie snacks

The easiest things to buy right now are junk foods. Supermarkets somehow never run out of stock for them, especially with Easter right round the corner. While you’re at home, of course you are going to want to treat yourself a little. Treat your treats as treats (say that really fast 6 times), rewards even. Treats are not meals. Rewards are not gained by watching a whole season in 2 days… It is important to keep in mind the same diet you had before going into lockdown. Limit the high calorie stuff. Ironically, the low carb alternatives are still fully stocked in supermarkets too. Opt for the healthier versions… 

A little hack for you: After you have eaten your meal, wait 20 minutes and do something else. Run around your garden, do 3 squats, watch a half an episode of friends. If you are truly hungry after that then you definitely need more food, but usually after that time your body recognises that you are full and it stops you from binge eating more food. 

Workout from home

The internet is filled with many tutorials and how to videos that working out without a treadmill and a rowing machine has never been easier. Let’s be honest, no one likes working out. But what else do you have to do right now? We can get our summer bodies in progress so in a couple months from now we can all drink wine on a beach, forgetting the words coronavirus and grateful that you had toned your abs instead of gaining 10 pounds during the hysteria. P.s. learning TikTok dances is also a great workout! 

Working out for 15 minutes at the end of the day does not mean you can binge all the junk food you want during the day and ‘burn it off’ after. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Ditch the snacks for a while, if they aren’t in your home to begin with you won’t be tempted. But even so, try to maintain control. It will work wonders for you even after all this is over. 

Find other ways to panic

Sounds a bit odd but you can make panicking work for you in many ways. There are many different outlets where you can release your stress. Journalling is one of them that works for a lot of people. You could also release all that pent up stress and anxiety on a workout, start yoga, maybe even begin meditating. Funnily enough, since the outbreak, the amount of yoga apps downloaded has increased significantly. It helps!

Maybe it was never for you but now it might be your cure to do something with all this free time the government has so generously given you. You could even discover your love for reading again. Amongst all the panic, many audio book websites and ibook apps aren’t charging for their bestsellers, so you can easily download and begin reading from home. Make this time you have work for you in a good way.  

Keep up with your dental routine

Being at home all day will throw your routine out a whack completely. So, make sure that no matter what time you wake up, whether it may be at noon or later and even if you fall asleep at 4am, we are not here to judge, just make sure you brush your teeth right after you wake up and before you knock out. Remember in times like this a lot of businesses, including dentists, are closed so make sure to keep your oral health as a priority. We don’t want to see you after isolation with 6 new cavities, swollen gums and in need of new teeth. So cut the sugar down and keep brushing. 

Take a look at our blog on 15 ways to keep your teeth healthy!

Don’t keep reading!

It is important to stay up to date with the news and know what is going on in the world especially updates about the spread of the Coronavirus. However, all these headlines are made to get your attention and provoke emotion in you to keep reading more! Take a break from all those headlines that are stressing you out! Obsessing over potentially getting the virus is almost as bad for you as actually getting the virus. Keep in mind you are safe at home, and not endangering anyone else either, focus on that! 

New hobbies

This would be the best time to discover new hobbies. Try writing, jogging, painting, anything to stimulate your mind and distract you from anxious or stressful thoughts that could lead to binge eating. Who knows, after these three weeks you might become an exercise junkie! 

Cook everything from scratch 

You could also discover a love for cooking. Cooking all your meals from scratch will allow you to see all the nutrients you are consuming. You can also meal prep. Cooking everything you eat also deters you from eating a lot of processed freezer food which is so bad for you.