Managing Your Eating During Quarantine is HARD
Being stuck at home and becoming one with your couch can provide a relaxing staycation away from what was the normal hustle of daily living, but it can also lead to the formation of unhealthy behaviors. This is a strange, uncertain, and emotional time for all of us. Anxiety and boredom are two contributing factors to overeating and poor food choices. Our brains crave the same level of sensory stimulation we were once provided, even when we are stuck at home, so we often turn to food. We are hardwired to not only crave hyper-palatable and calorically dense foods, but to also overeat them in order to create potential storage for later. This is an evolutionary mechanism that helped our ancestors often go days without eating.
Food and water are now readily available to many of us who are more fortunate, so this gorging on junk food behavior is unnecessary, even though it might feel awesome at the time. Nutrition by the numbers boils down calories in versus calories out. These requirements will be different for all of us, but what seems to be important is an energy balance equation where the calories going into the system should match the calories needed to run the system. When we undereat, we put ourselves in a catabolic or state of breakdown, and when we overeat we will be in a more anabolic or building state. If we are chronically in either state, it can lead to disease so we must find balance.
When trying to manage or change behaviors there needs to be a focused level of self-awareness early on. We are no longer as active as we once were. All of the typical non-exercise movements of our lives have been diminished from the confines of our homes. This means we will all require fewer calories to perform our daily activities, and we will need to find alternatives to increase our physical activity and stave off the loss of hard earned training improvements.
Here are a few simple things you can do in order to help.
Get an idea of what a normal day used to look like for eating and activity. This will provide you with some perspective on how different your nutritional requirements will need to be. Compare this day to your current activity level and eating.
Take an audit of the food in your home. Create a meal plan based on the ingredients you have. Schedule your meals and mark in your calendar when you will cook and eat them. Having a menu and a schedule can help you reduce endless snacking.
Utilize a long term training plan that can give you a trajectory and can become another part of your daily routine. There are many things you can do even when stuck inside to keep training yourself.
We are by no means encouraging you to be a rigid, overly health conscious, disordered eater. We want you to find balance. 80/20 can be a good guiding principle here. Try to strive for healthy habits 80 percent of the time, but still allow yourself to have a donut or ice cream if you want. If you love to bake or cook rich foods, by all means keep doing that, just remember to take the tips we offered into consideration in order to help you moderate. Create a framework that provides you with some much needed perspective and self-awareness, and then do your best to function within that framework most of the time. Be grateful for your health and take care of your bodies at this time. You only get one of them.
We are now offering nutrition consultations to help with all of this. Inquire here if you are interested and we can get you set up with one of our coaches ASAP. Remember our programs are currently open and ready to help you train at home without a gym. Your training is in your control and it is NOT cancelled.