Embracing Quarantine: A Dietitian’s Guideon Navigating the New “Norm”

Part 1 of 4 Part Series

ACKNOWLEDGING CHANGES AND PROTECTING YOUR HEALTH!

Inspire Nutrition

Scenario: For most Americans, two weeks ago, our worlds turned upside down. COVID-19 hit all of us and our lives rapidly changed. Dropping kids off at school and heading to the office now shifted to morning pancakes, logging onto your laptop at home to work your 40+ hour work-week while also singing the ABCs with your children — ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Oh, and don’t forget about the low level of stress that is simmering subconsciously. This is why so many people are shifting to their ultimate vice, FOOD!

Our emotions are running high and constantly shifting. We can describe it best by using a roller coaster analogy. One day you may wake up stressed, trying to think about how you’re going to pay your rent, mortgage or car payment. The next day you are hopeful, putting faith and trust in your higher power. The next day, you are thinking of your aging parents and their underlying medical conditions paired with the fact that the exercise routine you finally have established was now abruptly interrupted. You are not alone! We are ALL experiencing a roller coaster of emotions that would trigger anyone, but especially an emotional eater. No surprise there. On a “normal” day, nearly 90% of our clients struggle with some form of emotional eating.

Now that you’ve had some time to adjust to a somewhat new normal, it’s time to remember that your health matters now more than ever. Now is NOT the time curl up into a ball and wait for the storm to be over. It is time to embrace your new norm and make it work for you!

Any meaningful change needs to start with a level of awareness. Feeling stressed? Most likely, you are finding yourself munching on something salty and/or crunchy without even realizing it until its gone. This behavior is then typically followed by guilt, which typically leads to more eating. You wake up the next day feeling like you are going to take on the world and reset, only to find yourself glued to the news and triggered again. The cycle continues. As nutrition therapists, our goal is to help you stop this cycle by shifting your focus on the opportunity this Pandemic presents to us.

Be aware of the levels of emotions that can range from stress, anger, sadness, moments of hopefulness, back to sadness and so on. And, craft a plan for you to tackle these emotions and carve out some time for you to take care of yourself.

  • Create and follow a schedule. Try to keep your schedule as consistent as possible. This includes your sleeping, eating and exercise times throughout the day. Also, establish and follow a familiar work schedule from home, if possible.
  • Plan your healthy meals. Include healthy fruits, vegetables and proteins. During stressful times, it is easy to gravitate toward comfort foods that often consist of low nutrient, processed carbohydrates.
  • Resist the temptation to graze throughout the day. Be mindful about planning and preparing for mealtimes and resist the temptation that comes with working from home, to mechanically grab snacks all day.
  • Try to stay active. Find some way to increase your movement throughout your day. You don’t have to have a gym in your house. Use your stairs for exercise or put on some music and dance.
  • Change up your scenery. Especially if you are now working from home. Go for a walk or take a break and eat your lunch outside. If the weather is nice, do some yard work or walk your dog.
  • Have fun with cooking. With your spare time, try cooking something new by either using foods you’ve had in your pantry or freezer for a while or trying that new recipe.
  • Remember, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed at this very difficult time. If occasionally turning to a specific food for comfort helps you, then give yourself permission to have some “comfort” food. Then, get right back on track with eating mindfully and healthy.

Inspire Nutrition is a Regional Nutrition Counseling Practice that helps people eat healthy with real food. We specialize in emotional eating and good nutrition to fight diseases. Your insurance company may cover Telehealth sessions with one of our experts from Inspire Nutrition. Call 267-217-1330 or Book your Appointment Online Today!

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