As I am writing this, we are currently experiencing a Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the country has been under a stay at home order for several weeks. Our normal routines are nonexistent, people have lost their jobs, and many who still have a job are working from home, parents are homeschooling, gyms are closed, church services are online, as well as many other changes. So many changes that we can have no control over can often time cause stress and anxiety.
When we are out of our normal routine or under stress, it can bring up behaviors that have been an issue in the past. For example, if someone has a substance addiction or has anxiety or anger issues, situations like these can intensify the problem. Although it can be a stressful time, it can also be an opportunity to determine why we turn to food, substances, or certain activities during stressful situations.
Is your snacking a problem?
Sometimes we feel guilt around snacking because we have gotten the message from well-meaning parents, friends, or the internet that snacking is bad. I encourage you to decide for yourself whether snacking is a problem for you. If it’s causing unwanted weight weight, insomnia, or making you feel lethargic, etc. then you might need to limit your snacking.
If you decide that snacking is a problem for you, discovering why you want to snack can help you avoid overeating.
Before heading to the pantry for a snack, ask yourselves the following questions:
What am I feeling?
Are you truly hungry or is your blood sugar low? If so, eat a snack
Are you bored? If so, get up and do something productive like cleaning, go for a walk, do a quick workout, paint your nails, write a personal note, update your checkbook, text or call a friend, etc.
What are you eating?
Eating well-balanced meals will help with satiety and curb cravings. If we don’t eat enough or don’t eat a balance of protein, fat, and carbs our blood sugar may be unstable. We may find we are hungry more often. Eating enough at each meal can help.
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation increases cortisol which can make us feel hungry and can cause us to want to eat.
Are you stressed? Stress also increases cortisol and can increase our hunger hormones.
Try these tips whenever you want to snack:
Go to sleep. If you find yourself wanting to eat at night you may just need to go to bed.
Drink water. Sometimes we may think we are hungry, but we are actually dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting for about 20 minutes. If you are still hungry then enjoy a snack.
Chew gum. I find that chewing gum is a great way to keep from snacking.
Don’t keep trigger snacks in the house. Don’t keep snacks in the house that you can’t resist.
Choose a healthy snack.
• Air popped popcorn sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with popcorn seasoning. Organic popcorn is low calorie and high in fiber.
• Greek yogurt with stevia and berries
• Pre-cut veggies
• Ounce of nuts
These are difficult times, but they don’t have to keep us from living a healthy lifestyle. Being mindful and figuring out why we want to eat can help us stay on track even when the Oreos are calling our name.
In health and wellness, Trainer Joy