Six Tools to Help you Manage your Eating during COVID-19

Friends, these are crazy, crazy times. I have been steadily learning how to stay a float during COVID-19. Extra time is rare these days. Between homeschooling, caring for a newborn, and trying to work my full-time job, I do not have a lot of time to be worried or super-focused on my weight and eating.

I had a good routine before corona.  Everything had to change.

First, I had to readjust my goals. Years later, I hope to look back and be proud I survived this pandemic, while remaining whole of heart and spirit. Survival.

I have committed to one thing–COVID-19 WILL NOT be setting me back RE: eating. Though I have every reason to give myself permission, I do not want to resurrect old habits and older versions of myself that I have worked to put to death. Versions of myself that use food inappropriately.   I wonder if you may be feeling the same as me–struggling with your eating, but being determined to not lose the momentum you had been making before the all this began.

I have been scared. Overwhelmed. Worried that the very fabric of my American life, and things that I had unknowingly relied upon (e.g., the presence of toilet paper whenever I wanted it) would  vanish. I am doing the very best I can. We all are these days.

I know two things: 1) I do not have a lot of time; and 2) I am not going backward. This is not the season for me to plan to run a marathon, or to try new healthy cooking methods. I need easy. I need quick. I need reliable. Maybe you do too.

I am implementing safeguards to help me control myself. I know that this is an EMOTIONAL season, and whenever I feel a flood of emotions, I tend to eat differently. I may not always realize that I use food to cope, or even know that is happening. Though I know eating may be my natural method to use to regulate my emotions, I have acquired a few more tools over the years–prayer, listening to encouraging music, calling a friend, taking a walk, journaling, getting out of the house, taking a nap.

Below, are some additional practices that help me stay in control:

1) Say no to seconds: I eat what I want, but I don’t go back for more. I hate this one. Really, I do. However, when I

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STOP going back for “just a little bit” more, my eating behaviors are much more manageable. A “little bit more” is often underestimated, and it turns out to be a whole lot more. I was doing this for a few weeks and seeing good momentum; I stopped (because I hate it!), but I stopped making as much progress. I realized and I am going to start do this again.

2) Stop eating at the point of fullness: I am ever realizing there is no benefit of eating past the point of fullness. It does not matter WHAT it is: I must stop when I sense my body telling me I had enough. I have to recommit to this daily, and ask God to HELP me because I often want to keep going.

3) Move 3-4 times/week: Some days, all I can do is take a walk. On good days, I try to do some type of workout video. Either way, I move.

4) Cut the Snacks (no grazing): This has been SO helpful. I have been focusing on eating every 3-4 hours. Period. No in-between. I try to aim for one snack per day, between lunch and dinner.  I cut out lots of tempting situations because of this. If I am really hungry in-between meals, I eat a piece of fruit. I practice this regularly, but not rigidly. Grace reigns in this season.

5) Weighing myself regularly: I step on the scale at least twice per week. This is my point of accountability. If I see the numbers going up, then I know I need to make some changes with my eating and physical activity behavior.  Regular weighing facilitates a healthy relationship with my weight. There are no surprises, and I see the consequences of my decisions. Regular weighing + long-term behavior changes = peace with my weight.

6) Weekly calls with my accountability partner. Every week, my partner and I confess (ha!) and tell how each other how our eating has been going. We set goals. We pray together about our struggles. We encourage one another. We swap ideas with one another. This has been one of my most helpful tools in my weight journey.

The end product? I have maintained my weight over these last few months. I wanted it to be more, but I have had to readjust my goals. We survive and care for ourselves in pandemics. I remember–I am doing the best I can. I am loving and being loved by my friends and family. I am enough at all sizes.  

Journey on, friends.

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