While self-isolating is the best way to protect against COVID-19, being stuck at home can lead to several unhealthy behaviors, including overeating due to stress and boredom. During the time of stress, many tend to take comfort in food. Overeating regularly can negatively affect your health.
Here are some ways to prevent stress eating:
1. Remove temptation: Having tempting foods within eyesight can lead to frequent snacking and overeating, even when you aren’t hungry. According to some research, visual exposure to high calorie foods stimulates the striatum, a part of your brain that modulates impulse control, which may lead to increased cravings and overeating.
2. Maintain a healthy meal schedule: Your normal eating schedule should be in place even though you are not in your normal routine of stepping out of the house and going on with your daily work life. If you’re used to having three meals a day, try to continue that schedule while you’re working from home. The same goes for if you typically consume only two meals and a snack. If you’re really thrown off and find yourself constantly snacking, try making a schedule.
3. Bring out your inner chef: Not having the option to eat out at restaurants makes you cook more meals yourself. Eating homemade food improves overall health. A study shows that people who ate home-cooked meals more than 5 times per week were 28 percent less likely to be overweight and 24 percent less likely to have excess body fat, compared with those who ate home-cooked meals less than 3 times per week.
4. Stay hydrated: Being at home gives you more time to focus on healthy habits, including drinking enough fluids. Maintain proper hydration to prevent overeating related to stress.
5. Get moving: Increase your activity level with some daily physical activity. This will help you stay away from boredom, stress, and increased snacking frequency.
6. Prevent boredom: When you suddenly find yourself with a lot of extra free time, boredom can quickly set in. Sit back and think what are your hobbies and things you can do at home to keep yourself busy.
7. Practice portion control: It’s common for people to snack on foods directly from the containers in which they were sold, which may lead to overeating. Practice portion control by serving yourself a single portion of food rather than eating out of larger containers.