During this lockdown, how many times a day do we find ourselves lurking around the kitchen after lunch or dinner, just to grab another meal just because we feel like eating?

We reach out to food because it serves as a distraction to cope up with our negative emotions and stress coming from the COVID-19 lockdown, long working hours due to work from home, financial worries, or family health and maybe regret it later which develops a cycle of emotional excessive eating.

“Physical hunger develops over time whereas emotional hunger abrupts suddenly.”

Paying attention to when and how our hunger starts and how we feel after eating will help us differentiate between the two and give the craving some time to pass.

Here are some tips to avoid emotional or stress eating during the lockdown:

1. Giving in to boredom is one of the most common reasons for emotional eating. One should distract ourselves to a healthier habit like going for a walk, reading, listening to music or watching a movie, talking to family or friends, painting or sketching, etc.

2. Writing down what, how much, when, how we are feeling and how hungry we are, will help us analyze our eating pattern and say no to unhealthy foods. 

3. Healthy snack options like have fruits/ nuts/ yoghurt/ poha/ upma/ sprouts chaat/ corn chaat/ khakhra/ vermicelli/ paneer, chicken or egg roll/ fruit salad with nuts/ dhokla/ puffed rice bhel/ moong dal cheela/sabudana khichdi/peanut/ rajgira/ sesame seeds chikki/ makhana/ popcorn/ smoothies/ milkshakes/ laddoos, etc., can be eaten incase one feels hungry between meals. 

4. Avoid buying comfort food like pastries, chocolates, chips, cookies etc.

5. Relaxation exercises including yoga, meditation, deep breathing techniques, or Pranayam, counting on our family and friends for emotional support can lessen the amount of stress we put ourselves through.

Most importantly, we should free ourselves from the current pandemic stress and forgive ourselves for the guilt of emotional eating, stop right there, and start afresh from the next meal.

Links & References:

1. https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-eating#2

2. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm