Food is so readily available, literally just a step away from us at any move. Add to the mix that we have panic bought half of the supermarket in case they never open again and we are left with cupboards full of fast releasing carb snacks, crisps and sugary treats.
Food can become our companion when we work from home or try to adjust to our new normal with days which have much less structure than usual. We can find when we are not commuting to work, walking, or getting exercise as we would normally, we do not feel hungry at our regular meal times and this can ultimately lead to overeating in the evening time.
So, what do we do? First, we need structure and control over what we are able to - get up at your regular time each morning, get showered, get dressed, go outside and get some air.
Make a plan for the day - this doesn’t have to be laborious and turn into another dreaded task - just simply jot down what you need to complete that day. This will avoid stress later on. Take lunch, and small breaks as this will keep your mood, concentration and focus up.
Here are my top tips to save you from boredom snacking:
1. Resist the urge to open the fridge To take your mind off it do some journaling, paint your nails or do a face mask.
2. Have your bottle of water beside you - Sometimes when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty. Aim to reduce lots of teas and coffees – instead try and have an herbal tea of glass of ice-cold water with a slice of lemon or lime. Wait about 30 minutes and if you still crave that food maybe opt for a healthy prepared option. If you can withstand the initial craving it will pass.
3. Have some healthy low-calorie snacks/lunch prepared - This can prevent you grabbing high salt and sugar processed snacks – things like omelette muffins, wholemeal scones, smoothies made the night before/earlier that morning, handful of mixed nuts, hummus and crudités, homemade soups for lunch. Make sure you are eating enough good fats and protein to keep you full for longer e.g. avocado on wholemeal brown bread.
4. Phone a friend on your break or face time a relative - Keeping in touch can break up the feeling of stress. We can feel overwhelmed. Have a flick through a magazine, do a puzzle to distract your mind. If all else fails brush your teeth again- as foods will taste different and not as enjoyable, it also signals the brain that you are going out or off to bed so less likely to start eating again.
Eating foods affect our levels of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour. Not surprisingly ‘junk’ foods increase these neurotransmitters and feelings of reward. The University of Limerick did a study which illustrated that boredom leads to unhealthy food choices as it distracts us from the boredom itself.
Feeling stressed can also make us go for less nourishing food options - when you are stressed the body produces more cortisol and makes us crave sugary and salty and fatty foods to refuel for further perceived stressful situations, like the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism.
If you’re looking to support your mood you could consider trying a supplement like Cleanmarine For Women. It contains Vitamin B6 which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity while it also contributes to normal psychological function.