Are you feeling stressed, swamped under, and anxious with the COVID 19 restrictions and uncertainties?
Are you fearing what the future will bring? Family, relationships, work, financial and health worries?
You aren’t alone.
We are all affected in various degrees. Many of us are complaining of unusual tiredness and weight gain. Many are at home or in quarantine, isolated and sedentary. Maybe sitting for hours either at our computers, or lounging on the sofa binging on Netflix and unhealthy food.
We may be drinking more alcohol, seeking escape with technology to the detriment of the family or our employment, and taking more medication and various drugs to dull the pain. We may be too tired or depressed to exercise.
What can we do to avoid the downward spiral? Here are a few strategies to try.
- Change the activity or what you are viewing that is causing you to crave—until the feeling eases.
- Remind yourself of all the good things that have happened in the past week. What are you thankful for so far today?
- Understand that cravings come in waves. Acknowledge this, then ride the surge knowing that it will pass.
- Take deep breaths and think positive. You can self-talk negative thoughts or positive thoughts. Choose the positive.
- Exercise or take a walk. A study from Nippon Medical School in Tokyo claims that walking in nature reduces anxiety and depression, improves immunity and memory, speeds recovery from illness, increases energy and improves performance. Check with your health professional about the degree of exercise that is most suitable for you, and if you are in lockdown—stay put for the moment!
- Write a pros and cons sheet about your cravings. Be honest! When you see the cons you’ll want to change! Include a slimmer and healthier photo of you. Put them in a prominent place and look at them often.
- Call a supportive member of your family, friend or health professional.
- Start planning a new hobby or passion. What have you always wanted to do? Take the first step.
- Get enough sleep if you aren’t already. (I will have strategies for sleeplessness in later blogs.)
Healthy versus unhealthy food (see Freebies section for extra resources)
- Are you eating because of an emotional craving or because you are genuinely hungry.
- Don’t skip or delay meals. It may trigger overeating for the next.
- If you’re still craving food after a meal, wait twenty minutes for your food to start to digest and signal to your brain that you’ve eaten. However a low calorie meal may not take away the hunger pains.
- Protein reduces your appetite and keeps you satisfied longer. Good protein foods and snacks include: seeds, nuts, cheese, milk drinks, eggs, foods containing quinoa, and meats.
- If you fill up on natural, unprocessed, low sugar and low GI foods, your cravings for the fast, unhealthy options will lessen.
Tip: pile a serving of mixed salad leaves with your lunch. You can buy this at some supermarkets already washed. All you need is a dressing of virgin olive oil and seasoning, if you are in a hurry. If you take your lunch to work and there’s a fridge, store a whole bag of salad for the next few days.
- Brush your teeth. The minty flavor may be enough to take your mind off eating.
- Drink enough water.
- B vitamins can improve your mood and lack of these vitamins can affect your mood. You can find this vitamin in wholegrains, meats, fruits and dark leafy vegetables.
- Craving that extra piece of chocolate cake or another packet of salty snacks? Don’t we all? Try a healthier option or have a hot drink – like tea, herbal tea or coffee. I know coffee can be addictive and needs to be controlled, but it can help reduce the appetite.
Watch out for my post on sugar cravings later in the year. Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
Disclaimer – Please note: This article is not for sufferers of serious drug addictions. Later posts will cover this issue. Remember to ask your health professional for more advice.