Here are some tips to control unhealthy eating habits developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns.
Covid-19 stirred the usual lifestyle and resulted in various changes. From normalizing work-from-home culture to increasing screen time, the pandemic forced us to prioritise our health.
With less chances to step out, and more ideal time – Many people complained about degrading mental health conditions. The lockdown and isolation is still impacting mental health, giving rise to anxiety and depression. Even the post recovery stress is adverse.
Many people are jobless or some are running their own business with less physical exposure and working from from home with longer screen timing.
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In a troubled situation like this, keeping your nutrition in check can be tough Moreover, moving back to the normal life need a proper and good monitoring on your lifestyle Working from home gets , you comfortable, as there is plenty of food available. In addition, unlike in the office, you are free to graze all day along with the work. Moreover, longer screen exposure and continous sitting job add onto the ill effects on your health. This habit can wreak havoc on your waistline, weight loss regime and halt your productivity or growth towards a healthy living.
It is found that increased boredom is linked to emotional overeating. In the crucial time, people are struggling with developing strategies to cope up with various losses, such as losing a job; metabolic health issues; business losses etc.
A detailed study suggests that eating behavior is highly affected when people are either in crisis or stress. The Covid-19 pandemic added to the physiological reasons for turning towards consuming more food.
The body tends to crave high-calorie and high-sugar foods during stressful times, as these foods provide short-term bursts of energy. Stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, which can increase appetite. Moreover, sugary foods generate dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with motivation and reward. Therefore, there is a great need to consider some healthy tips to control side effects of the cause.
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Major challenges and remedies to control unhealthy eating habit developed during Covid-19
• Mindful eating –Avoid working and eating all together. It is always advised to avoid using laptop, television or mobile and concentrate on having a good family time on dining table.
• Avoid adding junk food to your pantry- While buying grocery, try not to pick junk food. During this pandemic situation munching over potato chips, namkeen and cookies etc. became a common practice One can munch on home – made snacks, roasted chana/ foxnuts – makhana / puffed barley / dry fruits / fresh fruits and many more.
• Limit your caffeine intake– while increasing your concentration during work and to stay attentive, we tend to have more of caffeine intake. Too much of caffeine is known to cause headaches, anxiety, digestive issues and even fatigue – none of which is good, but particularly not good when you are trying to work. Instead one can go for herbal tea/ lemon water/ kadha/ buttermilk/ lassi with jaggery/ coconut water/ vegetable juice. This will add good amount of fibre and essential vitamin and minerals.
• Focus on super foods – increase the intake of food that helps to improve your immunity. Superfoods like fresh or dried berries/ golden milk with ginger and garlic/ seasoning with black pepper-ginger-garlic/ vitamin C through guava; amla; oranges; sweet lime or kiwi and many more.
• Do not skip essential meals while working- try to maintain time table keeping the gaps in meals intact of just 2-3 hrs. While working, we tend to forget our meal and in replacement go for munching on junk food, which is not at all advisable. Be particular about breakfast, lunch and dinner with 2 intermitent meals.
• Have proper working area at home-do not work near your kitchen/ on bed as it distracts you and and results into lazy working regime.
• Reminder for water- Ensure to take about 8-10 glasses of water in a whole day. You can also add reminders for that.
• Be wise on snacking – make sure to add good healthy and nutritious snacks on intermittent basis. Along with that, keep the portion size in consideration. Good snacking options include – no oil dhokla/ saute vegetable idli/ humus – palak corn sandwiches/ sprout salad/ dry fruits and seed mixes/ fruit platter etc.
(The author is a lifestyle coach and diet counsellor. She tweets @Bipasha1sugati)