Stress and extra pounds go together like peanut butter and jelly. And while peanut butter and jelly probably sounds pretty good right about now, it’s important to note that stress-eating leads to unwanted weight gain. Right now, many people are looking for simple, straightforward ways to avoid going off the rails with their diet and lifestyle.
Firstly, remember that it’s unhealthy to apply shame to the situation. It’s incredibly common to self-soothe through eating when routines are radically changed and security feels stripped away. And shame will only exacerbate those negative feelings. Knowing that you’re not alone can be helpful. The pandemic drastically changed many people’s lives overnight, so weight gain and stress eating are predictable outcomes.
Luckily, there are some practical (and even enjoyable) habits we can adopt to help with those unwanted pounds, lack of energy, and lethargy. Let’s take a look.
Curb Your SnacksYes… Everything in moderation. But especially snacks. Being out of our normal routines can wreak havoc on our eating schedules. Instead of a well-structured meal system, many people free-graze without borders in stressful seasons. While it’s easy to think a chip here and a Twinkie there are harmless, the scale seems to tell us otherwise.
Experts recommend placing a limit on your daily snack allowance. This will not only help stave off unwanted pounds, but it will let you retain your appetite for proper meals that contain more nutritive content. Also, making a list of healthy snacks helps. Mix it up and keep it fresh! Here are a few snacks to reach for instead of donuts or chips:
- Cucumber slices dipped in hummus
- Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt or a smoothie
- Tomato slices with smoked salmon – salmon sliders!
- Red bell pepper with guacamole
- Apple slices with nut butter
- Cottage cheese with flax seeds and cinnamon
- Baby carrots with bleu cheese
Get Creative In The KitchenA sure-fire way to lose momentum with healthy eating is boredom and lack of structure. Without a plan, most people tend to graze on salty, sugary food with very little nutritive content. During anxious times, you might find that you enjoy trying new things in the kitchen.
Juicing or making smoothies is a fun way of adding some healthy variety to your regimen. Preparing your meals in advance is another great way to stay on track. With a healthy, nutritious meal already ready-to-serve, you take the guesswork out of mealtime. Decision fatigue is a real thing and can lead to poor choices in the diet department.
Move-In New WaysEven if you can’t lift at the gym or participate in your favorite Pilates class, you can still get moving. It may take some brainstorming, but check out these creative ways to exercise while at home:
- Jump rope: excellent cardio, tons of calories burned
- Mini trampoline: you can jump, jog, or dance your way to fitness
- Take an online pilates or yoga class: the practice doesn’t have to stop just because you’re at home!
- A long, brisk walk around the neighborhood, preferably with a furry friend
Mind Your ThoughtsThoughts of hopelessness and isolation can lead to depression, a more sedentary lifestyle, and unwanted weight gain. Keeping in touch with friends and family members who are supportive, kind, and affirming makes a huge difference in your overall health.
It’s important to practice self-care even if it’s a small action like listening to your favorite music, lighting some candles, or luxuriating in an Epsom salt bath. When you activate a positive mindset, you’ll be more likely to make healthy choices, move your body freely, and avoid quarantine weight gain.