How you can help yourself and your waistline!

Lockdown is an emotional time isn’t it and there is a large number of us who are comfort eating to deal with their emotions and for the most time, out of complete and utter boredom! You are not alone. Here at Totally Transformed, we are also struggling with boredom and comfort eating and as at the time when this blog was written, we are facing an extension to the social distancing and lockdown measures, its time to stop, take stock and think about what we are eating and drinking. We know we have worked too hard on living a healthy lifestyle prior to all of this to undo all of it, just in time for Summer starting.

So why do we comfort eat?

It’s a vicious cycle, comfort eating may satisfy your emotions for a short while, but feelings of guilt and shame soon bring those emotions back and before you know it, comfort eating has started again. When we are bored, we often find ourselves looking in the kitchen for the next snack too! But again, this feeds into the vicious cycle and we could find ourselves suppressing emotions of guilt by snacking again.

How do we stop boredom and emotional eating?

First of all, we need to try and differentiate between actual hunger and boredom/emotional hunger. Actual hunger is more of a slower process and builds up gradually over a period of time whereas emotional/boredom hunger often presents itself suddenly. When we are genuinely hungry, we don’t necessarily crave a specific food item and when satisfying this hunger, we are generally able to stop eating when we feel full. However when emotional hunger strikes, its generally a very specific (and usually unhealthy) food item we want and we will binge on this item without any feelings of fullness.

It may be a good idea to have healthier snacks at home to ensure that if you are going to snack, that the calorie damage isn’t going to throw you off track.

Changing our behaviour is perhaps the hardest part of comfort eating to combat. Dealing with your emotions is the only way to stop reaching for the “binge” food and to overcome eating as a result of negative emotions and boredom.

When a feeling of hunger strikes, try drinking a glass of water and distracting yourself with an activity you enjoy. We’ve listed some ideas below. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes, then there is a chance that this is genuine hunger and you should eat a healthy balanced meal.

Distractions could include:

  • Finding an outlet to deal with your stress such as writing in a journal, reading a book, listening to your favourite music in a calm part of your house.
  • Finding a new craft – with tutorials in their millions on YouTube, you could find a way to decompress using your creativity
  • Move more – Those of us not in self isolation are allowed to do an hours outdoor exercise per day (practising social distancing guidelines) and we should all make time to use this hour to go for a walk, jog or cycle. Exercise, especially outdoors, is a great way to give yourself the headspace you need to work through your feelings. Its also a well known fact that your body releases endorphins which boost your mood when you exercise.
  • If you are self-isolating, there are an abundance of free exercise videos online that you could participate in. Why not try Yoga or Pilates or even get involved with Joe Wicks’s free PE lesson every day to keep your body moving.
  • Meditation – okay so we know this one isn’t for everyone BUT there are studies which have shown support for guided mindfulness and meditation as a treatment for binge eating and emotional eating. We’ve been recommended to try Jason Stephenson’s “Guided Meditation for Anxiety & Stress“  which uses breathing and visualisation exercises.
comfort eating distractions
Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is proving tough on our mental well being and here at Totally Transformed, we are going through it too. We are working hard to stay positive and we want all of our followers, website visitors and clients to know that we are here for you. If you are finding it tough and want some help or support through this testing time, we are only ever an email, message, call or text away. Stay safe!