Eating In Isolation: off kilter? No problem.

mindful eating self-love Mar 30, 2020

It may be that in this time of isolation & stay at home you are finding yourself reverting to old habits as regards eating.  First off this is fine and not uncommon at times of uncertainty which we are facing at the moment world-wide.  We’ve lost all routine and are having to go through a period of major adjustment along with the worries of what the world is facing right now.

It may be you are thinking having this time is a good time to lose some weight when you’ve left weight loss as a goal behind, or you may be eating more due to boredom, emotions or feelings of scarcity around food.  You may have found yourself standing staring into the fridge or cupboard looking for inspiration – food probably isn’t what you really need in that situation.

I’ve had both these thought patterns and behaviours.

And that’s fine - there are far worse things you can do than emotionally eat and as Laura Thomas PhD says in her book Just Eat It:

Emotional eating is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong.... way of telling you something is up and you need to address it: it’s a coping mechanism.

How to redress the balance.

To combat these feelings, I’ve gently focussed on what it is I’m really needing and feeling – time, space, a cry, acknowledging feelings of fear and anxiety. 

It is completely understandable that old coping mechanisms have reared and this needs to be approached form a place of understanding and self-compassion.

We’re living through unprecedented times. 

After a few days I realised what was happening and have been more aware and although life is moving at a slower pace (lovely) I have been refocusing my attention on what I really need when I find myself reaching for food.

What am I feeling right now?

What do I need – is it this food or is it something else?

How can I give that to me?

I’ve found I need more quiet time than normal – probably because the house has more people in it than we’ve been used to since September – gone from 3 to 6 overnight.

I’m finding meditation a great tool to help keep me grounded and calm – there are some great online group meditations going on at the moment such as Liz Keates 21 Days 2 Calm on Facebook.  It’s lovely feeling connected to others during the practice.

I’m also taking the opportunity to enjoy family time with everyone being home.

I’m focusing on what I’m grateful for every day – so many things. 

I’m also not being afraid to let myself sit with what I’m feeling – if I cry so be it.  It will pass and it’s better to acknowledge it then suppress it – let it out and you’ll feel release. 

Don’t Stress Around Food (ever)

If you find yourself in a cycle of self-soothing with food don’t stress – this will keep the cycle going.  Respond to the emotions you’re feeling.

Sticking to some sort of meal routine will help maintain contact with the cues we get from our bodies around hunger etc rather than snacking/grazing all day when we will probably not feel satisfied but will conversely not feel true hunger.

However you’re eating remove any feelings of guilt or shame around it. When possible aim to eat in a way that makes you feel good and energized.

To read more see Principles for Day to Day and Food Restriction or Food Freedom

The most important thing at the moment is to stay well. The last thing you need is to stress over the way you’re eating. Remember, this will pass. Stay as connected and grounded as you can and it will be easier. Give yourself what you need. Anything you’re feeling is valid and should be accepted judgement free - by you and anyone else.

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