I have been working from home for 3 years and I think I have harnessed the potential to effectively work and stay at home without raiding my kitchen for food at random intervals. I put up a poll on my Instastory asking if people would like me to share my tips on how I avoid raiding my kitchen for food and majority chose ‘yes’ – so here I am, sharing how I avoid raiding my kitchen during the lockdown.
In my opinion, the feeling of boredom, panic, anxiety brought on us by fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic triggers raiding the kitchen for food. A good number of people are turning to emotional eating during this period for simple reasons: it is calming, temporary and it solves boredom. Between boredom, panic, anxiety, stress around uncertainty, working from home, and reduced social interaction, emotional eating happens to be more prevalent.
Emotional eating occurs when we eat food for comfort, to soothe or suppress emotions such as isolation, anger, boredom, or stress. Most of us experience emotional eating at one time or another. However, when emotional eating happens frequently, food becomes the primary coping mechanism for a stressful situation hence you are always raiding your kitchen and eating at random intervals.
HOW DO WE AVOID RAIDING OUR KITCHEN
Have a meal plan
The first step to having a meal plan is identifying what to add to your grocery list. A list that contains all essential class of food that not only keeps you healthy but also helps you plan your meals. I have a monthly grocery list that contains different food I can make at home. If I crave anything, I eat out but with the current situation, the goal is to stay alive and suppress my craving by making do with what I have stocked up at home.
I try to stick to regular meal time with deliberate portions, accustom to managing without food and eat dishes packed with healthy and nutritious ingredients. This period has forced us to survive and it is important for us to know that we should not finish our food and spend all our money on food. I prepare my meals in bulk and storing thereby eliminating time spent in the kitchen. Having a meal plan will help you know when to eat, what to eat and subconsciously not thinking of what to eat keeps you away from raiding the kitchen.
Understanding what triggers us to eat
Keeping a food diary of what we eat, how much we eat, and what we are feeling when we eat can help us identify what triggers comfort eating. For me, it is anxiety whereas for others it is stress, boredom, or sadness.
We can prepare for when we feel compelled to raid our kitchen to eat by following this few steps:
• If you are bored and feel the urge to eat, then do a crossword puzzle for 10 minutes’
• If you feel lonely and start the craving starts, then call a friend.
• If you feel anxious and overwhelmed, then pause and read a book for 10 minutes. Here are other things you can doing: ‘Things To Do: How People Are Coping During The COVID-19 Lockdown‘.
Have a daily routine
Once we know what triggers our emotional eating, we can find new outlets for emotions like engaging in simple activities at home to manage without food. I highly recommend having a daily routine that suits you, keeps you occupied and effectively distract you from thinking about food.
For me, I write down my daily plan that contains my daily task, routines, to do list and meal plans in my journal – that I recently converted to a digital form where I can easily update and share with those who might see it helpful – and I follow my schedule judiciously.
The best tasks to do to take our mind off food are the challenging ones that engages our brain and are good distractor, such as starting a podcast (like my friend recently did), crosswords, chess or scrabble, calling a friend, playing a board game, reading articles, join a challenge etc. Part of my engaging task was writing this tips to share with you and throughout the process of writing to the design of this template I wasn’t thinking about food.
I hope we all stay safe, take the right precautions, and take care of ourselves during this time. Eat responsibly and don’t spend all your money on food.