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How to stop overeating your way through lockdown

Overeating? We are deep into lockdown, and while some of us might be jumping around with Joe Wicks or doing online yoga classes, most of us are admitting we’re overeating, and drinking more alcohol than normal.

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Overeating? Well we are deep into lockdown – we’ve now been stuck inside for almost a month!

And while we might be jumping around with Joe Wicks or doing online yoga classes, most of us are admitting we’re overeating, and drinking more alcohol than normal. 

What type of overeating are you prone to?

  • Stress eating (chocolate, sugar or carbs mostly)
  • ‘Working from home’ eating (taking mini breaks to the kitchen)
  • ‘I must bake’ eating (you’re never going to resist that freshly made cake or cookie!)
  • or just plain boredom eating (something to do!)

Most of us can get away with overeating for a while. But I’m hearing a lot of women say they’re worried about the impact on their health and their hormones, and the thought of getting back into their jeans or work clothes after all this is too much!

You may not be ready yet, and that’s fine, but if you’re at that ‘enough is enough’ stage, it might be time to do something.

I can’t wave a magic wand for you, but I can give you some tips to help change the unhealthy lockdown habits.

11 Tips to stop overeating;

  1. Start your day with a healthy smoothie. If you’ve got a blender, you can knock up a healthy smoothie with what you’ve got in your fridge/cupboards (choose veg over fruit apart from berries).  Starting your day this way will help balance your blood sugar, stop the cravings and limit the overeating.
  2. Purge your ‘naughty’ cupboard – I know you’ve got one! Get rid of the temptations. Sugar is your enemy. Make it hard to snack on the unhealthy stuff, replace them with nuts, seeds and healthy snacks.
  3. Keep a food journal – studies have shown that if you record what you eat, you’re much less likely to fall into overeating habits.  MySymptomsFoodDiary is an App that also tracks your symptoms.
  4. Eat 2 or 3 meals a day – it’s so easy to ‘graze’ your way through the day, but all that does is produce more insulin (your fat storing hormone). Eating 2 or 3 times a day (twice a day if you’re doing an overnight fast) allows your digestive system to rest, and your body to use up your fat stores instead of your sugar stores. Fill yourself up on vegetables (half your plate), protein, healthy fats and low GL carbs at each meal. If you have to snack, go for the nuts, seeds, hummus, crudites, fruit options.
  5. Drink more water – many times we think we are hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Every time you go to the kitchen for a snack, drink a pint of water first. You may not need that snack after all. Same goes for that ‘6pm’ craving for a glass of wine. Drink the water first.
  6. Swap chocolate for Magnesium – your chocolate cravings could be due to a magnesium deficiency! Try nuts & seeds instead, or take a supplement.
  7. Have regular alcohol free nights – it’s easy to get into the habit of drinking every night (just a glass or two?), I’m struggling with this one myself – but those drinks add up. AND alcohol won’t help your sleep, energy, brain function, mood or weight. Get strict on your alcohol free nights of the week, and when you are drinking, make sure you’re well hydrated.
  8. Don’t eat after 7pm – if your schedule allows, try to eat your last meal as early as possible. And don’t eat or drink after that time. This allows your body to enjoy a nice long fast overnight. Time Restricted Eating is when you can leave 12-16 hours before eating breakfast, and if you can do this a few times a week, it’s going to be great for your overall health and also your weight.
  9. Switch off daily – I know I say this a lot, but now more than ever it’s vital that you take some time each day to switch off your stress response. Stress can trigger overeating, especially the sugar and carbs. Go for your daily walk, sign up for that online class (yoga, pilates, HIIT, Zumba), sit quietly and listen to a mindfulness app, or your favourite chillout playlist. Or sit and read a book. Do something to relax. 
  10. Keep moving –  I know sitting on the sofa and bingeing Netflix is what most of us want to do right now. But movement and exercise is vital for your mood! Even if you just get outside and go for a walk, do that. Daylight and nature can really help to regulate your body clock, improve your mood and help you sleep better.
  11. Get lots of sleep – this is a time to rest and replenish. If you can, sleep as much as you need to. In normal times, our sleep gets sacrificed. Use this time to find your natural sleep pattern, and don’t feel guilty if you sleep in late now and then! Give your body as much rest as it needs. A relaxed body will help to regulate your hunger hormones and improve weight loss. If you’re struggling to sleep, these tips might help.

I don’t expect you to do all of these things, and you may be doing some of them already. Just try a few new ones and see how you get on.

Most of all, don’t beat yourself up about how you’re dealing with this lockdown situation. Everyone is in a different situation with different challenges. You must do what you can to survive it and come out in one piece!  

If that means gaining a few extra pounds, then so be it. You’ve got plenty of time to sort it out later if you have to. I just wanted to give you a few tips if you’re wanting to address it now.

If you’re needing some help or structure to getting back on track, I’m going to be running a live 30 days to Happy Hormones programme from 4th May. (If you’re already a member, and want to have a refresh, then do join us and we’ll go through it all together). 

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