Now that we’re here sheltering at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are out of our normal work and eating routines. We’re juggling working from home, schooling our kids or keeping our teenagers busy, worrying about loved ones with underlying health risks for the virus, and wondering when all of this is going to end.
Let’s highlight how this situation can put us at risk for either falling off the Ideal Protein protocol or hijacking our success in maintaining our weight, and then we’ll recommend some strategies to mitigate the risk of derailing your healthy lifestyle.
Overstocked Freezer & Pantry
Forget about the run on toilet paper for a moment. When you or your spouse decided to stock up on supplies, you weren’t in the fresh vegetable section were you? You probably shopped for items that would last a long time, that were easy to prepare, and would make you feel better during this extraordinary public health crisis.
Some not-so-great choices in our household that we purchased for our teenage son were chips, multiple cans of soup and chili, frozen pizzas, popcorn, popcorn, pop-tarts and pancake mix. While we also stocked up on frozen vegetables, meat, rutabaga, and turnips, there is far more temptation than we normally have in our house. Let’s face it, it’s easier to grab a bowl of chips than it is to make rutabaga fries!
Do you find yourself standing in front of the fridge or pantry just looking at the food in there? You probably aren’t hungry, but you stand there anyway just looking. This is a sign of boredom. Think about our current situation, stuck here in the house, sick of watching tv, social media is all the same doom and gloom, so you go to the fridge or pantry and get yourself something to eat.
You’ve all heard of the phrase “eat your feelings.” Some people use food to cope with stress, and some people pair food with a wide spectrum of emotions. If there is chaos, stress or anxiety we can eat to calm down, if we’re lonely, food can be our fried, if we’re sad food can be our comfort. You get the picture.
It’s not the actual eating that’s the problem, it’s the food we choose to “feed” these feelings. We go to foods from our past, that we associate with the love and comfort of home. Chicken soup when we have a cold, ice cream as a treat to a good day etc.
Everybody is stir-crazy, kids need things to do, teenagers are arguing that its “no big deal” to hang out with their friends, we’re adjusting to working at home, or not working at all, there is no end in sight, and we just need a DRINK!
Don’t feel bad, psychologists are saying that the urge to drink right now is “totally normal.” Drinking alcohol is a way to numb the feelings we’re having. When we’re stressed out and we don’t have the social outlets to release that stress, we can resort to checking out, or numbing our feelings with alcohol. The problem with drinking is that while it soothes you in the moment, you wake up to the same stressful situation, but with a hangover. This isn’t going to help your stress.
The Perfect Pandemic
We’re bored, stressed, and we have a house stocked to high heaven with an over-abundance of convenient, comfort foods and alcohol, what do we do to stay on our healthy path?
- Hide your dangerous or “trigger” foods – put them in the garage, or make them harder to reach
- Meal Plan – Write down what you and your family are going to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner.
- Routine – Get into an eating routine. Set times for meals and do your best to stick to those times.
- Don’t eat in front of the TV or your computer
- Slow down, chew your food thoroughly, stop eating when you feel satisfied
- Drink lots of water – Hydration reduces risk of contracting the virus
- Get outside – Fresh air and sunshine do wonders to change your mood
- Exercise Regularly – set up a workout schedule
- Try new healthy recipes – Teach your kids how to cook, rotate cooking responsibilities
- Serve meals on smaller plates – We eat with our eyes, and then with our stomachs
- Get enough sleep – Rest will improve your stress levels
- Talk to a coach – set up a call with one of us to talk through your gameplan