Posted on 20 Jun 2020 Views 4168 Comments 52
Losing weight is a challenge for anyone – let alone those of us struggling with emotional stress or those of us who would call ourselves ‘emotional eaters’.
Whether it’s financial stress, relationship strain, work challenges, or just the usual ups and downs of life, we all have to deal with emotional stress at some point. However, many people have found their emotional stress levels to be through the roof due to the current coronavirus pandemic. Maybe you are feeling stressed at having to juggle work with homeschooling… perhaps you have lost your job and have no idea how you’ll make ends meet… maybe having your partner working from home is straining your relationship… or perhaps your anxiety levels are simply heightened because you’re worried about catching the virus…
This article aims to provide you with some tips and strategies to get you through those emotional days when you feel drawn to those unhealthy foods you’ve been trying to avoid.
If you’ve ever used distraction techniques to help avoid a kid’s tantrum, you probably know that this can really work… But did you know that this can work for us adults too?! Trying to distract yourself in the moment may help. Some ideas you could try include:
Mindfulness is all about encouraging yourself to live in the moment, become more aware of what you’re eating and take a pause between your triggers (or feelings) and actions. It can be really helpful for emotional eaters. It involves asking questions like “Am I really hungry?” “Am I feeling full?” and “What is making me feel like I want to eat right now?”. The following tips may help you:
Identifying your triggers can be an important first step. Often, it’s things like stress, certain emotions (e.g. loneliness, resentment, anxiety), boredom or childhood habits (or a combination). If you have major issues in this area, seeking counselling would be a logical step forward. You could also try the following ideas:
|Feeling / emotion||Alternatives to try|
|Lonely or depressed||Zoom, phone or message a good friend or family member; someone who always makes you feel good or feel better about yourself or your situation. Looking through your favourite mementoes or photo albums can help you feel better about the good times and what life could be like again.|
|Anxiety||Taking a brisk walk around the block, changing the environment by moving to another room or doing something with your hands, e.g. cooking, reading or colouring|
|Fatigue or exhaustion||Allow yourself to have some time out or time just for you. Make a cup of tea and have a warm bath with some scented oil or candles. Tell the kids you’re having some ‘you time’|
|Boredom||Do something else, or change your immediate environment; read a book, take a walk, go for a cycle, do some craft|
There are a variety of things that can help boost your mood in the general sense. If you are feeling calmer, more in control and more balanced, you will probably be less likely to feel the stress and give in to unhealthy cravings later in the day. Consider the following things:
Exercise is great for busting stress and anxiety and lifting the mood. It releases natural chemicals called endorphins into your body – these are often referred to at the ‘happy hormone’ because they can give you a natural ‘high’! If you don’t already do some regular exercise, start small and build it up, aiming for 30 minutes of ‘huff and puff’ exercise at least five times a week. This includes brisk walking, running (build up with something like couch to 5k), cycling, or a HIIT or aerobic workout (DVD or online video).
If you’re already following a Slim & Save plan, don’t let yourself get product fatigue. Why not try some of the new recipes available on the website? There are lots of amazing recipes that our members have created and posted that will help give you some inspiration and extra variety. If you’re struggling to keep motivated, have you considered switching plans or trying new products to keep things interesting? You could also try experimenting with trying new products – we often hear about people who don’t think they’d enjoy a particular pack but try it and actually realise they really like it.
Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.
How are you coping with the stress of lockdown and COVID-19? Leave your comments below to be in with a chance to win a box of 12 ready-made chocolate shakes (new). Three Winning comments will be chosen on Thursday 25th June at 4 pm.
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