“Stop stressing, you are going to make yourself sick!” How many of us have heard this before? Did you ever wonder if there were any medical facts to support these words of warning? It turns out that there are. Stressful situations can trigger an increase in the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, these hormone increases can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. And, cortisol increases hunger and causes more of the calories that one consumes to be converted to fat leading to weight gain.
Current stressors and emotional eating
We’re undergoing an unprecedented, stressful time right now because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We are facing challenges and worries that we’ve never been confronted with before. We fear for our health and our family’s health. We are uncertain about the economy and what this means for our own financial situations. We are stressed about homeschooling while trying to work from home. We are trying to keep our children occupied and sheltered from fears while they cannot go to school or see their friends. If there ever was a time when emotional eating would run rampant it is now.
Emotional Eating Strategies
When emotional eating is hard to avoid, here are some strategies to keep yourself on track:
- Give yourself a break. Take each day as it comes, and allow yourself to make mistakes. If you have a bad day and make poor food choices, start with a clean slate the next day.
- Try to stick to a routine. Even if you are working from home, and you do not need to be anywhere by a specific time, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
- Plan out your three meals a day, and only eat in one designated area in your home.
- Try to set up your workstation as far away from the kitchen as possible.
- If possible, get some fresh air, connect with nature, and get your heart pumping.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take your vitamins. Vitamin D and Vitamin C are important for your immune system, so be sure not to be deficient in these.
- Stay connected with family and friends. FaceTime often, set up group virtual chats, enjoy family meals inside your home.
- Try deep breathing exercises or meditation (Headspace and Insight Timer are two commonly used apps for this).
- Get a good night’s sleep. No electronics or screens for 2 hours before you go to bed, limit caffeine and alcohol.
We’re all in this together and at NJBC we’re committed to helping you with your weight loss journey during this time. Take advantage of our Tuesday Talk support groups, sign in to our physician-led informational virtual sessions, and schedule a telemedicine appointment. It is important to stay connected so we can continue to help you improve your health during these stressful times.
For more information, call our office at 908-481-1270.