How to avoid overeating during the lockdown

I spoke with a good friend recently, she confessed that she was very worried about gaining weight during the isolation period. She is very aware of what she eats and also tries to exercise regularly. I was surprised when she told me, almost in tears, that she could not help but feel the urge to eat lots of sugary foods, chocolates, cakes, etc. It is difficult to stop eating snacks that make us gain weight, and now that we’re in quarantine it can be worst, however, we should first identify how to avoid overeating during the lockdown

Then I asked her if she had any problems that worried her and if she wanted to talk about it. She replied that she didn’t have any, apart from the usual. In different degrees, we are all concerned about things like the quarantine and the effects COVID-19 and the effect it is having on our economies and health systems. So we started talking about some of the factors that trigger our desire to eat more (Due to anxiety).


In my personal experience, 3 factors make me go to the kitchen and search for something sweet:

1. If I haven’t slept well.

2. Before or after my menstrual cycle.

3. Some concerns I haven’t identified with.

Have you noticed how we get hungrier when we don’t get a goodnight’s rest or have a good sleeping routine in place?


I did more research on the subject and I came across a very interesting article. The author said, that if you get less than 7 hours of sleep, the body changes the way it releases its hormones, the same ones that control appetite:

1) Loss of sleep changes the rhythm and as a result releases hormones that control our appetite.

2) Neurons in the brain begin to slow down, which decreases our reaction times, our decision-making abilities, and reasoning power.

3) The immune system works less efficiently, making you more susceptible to diseases.

4) The stress hormone, cortisol, does not leave the body as quickly as it should, so you begin to feel more stressed, especially at night.

5) The stomach secretes a hormone called ghrelin that tells the brain that you are hungry. When you don’t sleep well, ghrelin is released in large amounts and the satiety hormone leptin is released in smaller amounts. With changes in ghrelin and leptin levels, not only do you feel hungrier but once you are full, your body does not recognize that it is time to stop eating.


Why do you feel hungrier in the days leading up to your period?


According to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, increased appetite during the premenstrual period has a physiological component. Changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone cause a craving for foods rich in carbohydrates and sugars before your period.


The study showed that high levels of progesterone during the premenstrual phase can lead to compulsive eating and body dissatisfaction. In other words, you’re likely to feel more dissatisfied with everything right before your period. This dissatisfaction may trigger a larger-than-normal appetite.


Both sugars and starches cause the body to release serotonin, a chemical that increases the feeling of well-being. These days, eating regularly helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which can stabilize your mood.


Why does anxiety make you want to eat?


When worry and anxiety become excessive, your body is likely to feel stressed, even though you might not realize it. Initially, stress makes your appetite decrease so that your body can cope with the situation. If your stress-level does not decrease, another hormone called cortisol is released. Cortisol increases appetite and can lead to overeating.


High levels of cortisol from stress and can increase the desire to eat sugary or fatty foods. Stress is also associated with increased hunger hormones, which can also contribute to unhealthy food cravings.

What do I do to avoid eating out of anxiety?


  • Identify which thoughts are causing my stress.
  • Talk to someone or write down what I’m feeling in a journal.
  • If I can solve the problem, I write down the steps to solve it and put it in my diary to do so on a given day.
  • If I can’t solve it, I write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. It’s no use worrying about what you can’t solve.
  • Drinking water or tea: that calms the cravings a little, sometimes thirst is disguised as hunger.
  • Sleep: if I haven’t slept well, I try to go to bed earlier that day and do visualization or meditation.
  • I make myself a snack with healthy fat (avocado for example), or if I prepare something sweet, I don’t put too much sugar in it. I try not to buy packaged cookies or cupcakes so that I am not tempted to open them and eat them all at once.


When none of that really helps and I still want to eat something sugary, I try to eat a piece of dark chocolate (the kind with more cocoa than sugar). Besides having magnesium, it’s comfort food.


And when all those techniques fail, and I do eat something very sugary and unhealthy, I set my mindset to experience the pleasure every single bite gives me without blaming myself. And then start again the next day. Life is too short and if I am already eating it, I might as well enjoy it!


Do you think these techniques can help someone maintain healthy eating habits during quarantine? Do you know other tips on how to avoid overeating during the lockdown?  Share this article on Facebook!

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