Covid-19 pound-emic

In just under three weeks the world turned upside down.  Unprecedented everythings.  Market crashes.  Travel restrictions.  Provincial emergencies.  School closures.  Business shutdowns.

The only certainty in the world right now is uncertainty, and uncertainty is most certainly anxiety provoking.  And when anxiety runs high, our emotions run amuck.  And when our emotions run amuck, many of us (myself included) seek solace from our favorite comfort foods.

Fortunately for me, I am in self-isolation having recently returned from a trip to Florida. Which means, my groceries are being purchased for me by family members who follows the list and skip impromptu buys.  Thus, my favorite comfort foods are not in the house.

There is nothing like being told you must stay home to make one feel restless.  I know I am restless, because even though I know there are no comfort foods in the house, I still find myself rummaging about the kitchen.  The fridge is almost bare, but I check it anyway.  And guess what?  It’s still almost bare every time I look.

Despite all the uncertainly in the world right now, I believe one thing is certain – it’s easier to not gain weight than to have to lose it later when this is all over.  It’s never over – there will always be some excuse.   Right now it happens to be Covid-19 that has us isolated and raiding the refrigerator.  Next it will be celebrations when social distancing is lifted.  Then it will be Thanksgiving.  Then it will Christmas.  Then New Years…

Let’s avoid the Covid-19 pound-emic.  You can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic a better version of yourself.

But how?

  1. Recognize that heightened anxiety is normal when uncertainly is rampant in the world. Eating is not the solution.  Remember – eat to nourish, not console.  Now is the perfect time to learn how to feel emotions, not eat to avoid emotions.  If you can learn that during these troubled times, then stress eating will be a thing of the past.
  2. Put up a “the Kitchen is Closed” sign. Don’t be poking around in the fridge and pantry – banish yourself from the kitchen except for specific mealtime hours.
  3. If you are new to working at home, if at all possible, do not work in the kitchen.
  4. Get up and get dressed – don’t laze around in your jammies.
  5. Design a routine for your day. If your routine doesn’t work, change it up until you find what works well for your work, your sanity and your waistline.
  6. Drink tea or coffee, they are known to have appetite suppressant effects. (Caution – not too late at night!)
  7. Drink water since we often confuse thirst with hunger.
  8. Remember hunger comes and goes in waves, and hunger is never an emergency.
  9. Don’t snack. When you catch yourself reaching for the abandoned Halloween candy the kids don’t like, remember you really don’t like that stuff either.
  10. Find a way to de-stress. Even when social distancing or self-isolating, you are permitted to take a brisk walk – just keep 6 feet away from others.  Start a deep breathing practice.  Start journaling your thoughts.  Start a gratitude journal.  Skip the news updates every few minutes.  (Covid-19 is not going anywhere in the next 24 hours.)  Insist on quiet time for yourself.
  11. Find a way to stay connected virtually with friends and family. Try using your cell phone as a phone not a camera for a change.
  12. Sleep hygiene is crucial. Get up at the same time every morning.  Go to bed at the same time every night.  Insist on 7 – 9 hours nightly – it allows your brain to reboot.

Covid-19 has toppled and is reordering our values and priorities.  Believe you can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic a stronger and healthier you!

It is your choice!  And choice is a beautiful thing.

Have a safe week!  Stay home.
Live life, Love life… Always
Dr Karen