Ep. #74: Intuitive Eating During the Coronavirus

Intuitive eating during the coronavirus.
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I’m coming to you live during nap time today, because we are currently sheltering in place. If you’re not an essential worker, you’re probably home all day every day at the moment too. This can be hard if you have a difficult relationship with food or your body! So today, I’d love to share a bit about intuitive eating during the coronavirus.

Personal Update

We’ve already been home for about two weeks, because Cooper was home sick with a cold. That rolled right into our shelter in place orders, so here we sit!

Overall, I’ve given myself a lot of grace! This first week was really terrifying with what’s happening in the world. I might be more excited about homeschooling or taking some online classes next week, but this week I felt good about just surviving. I took care of the basics, and focused on self-care as much as I was able.

We’ve done lots of FaceTime and connecting with relatives. The days have felt long, but that’s the least of our worries right now.

Eating Intuitively While You’re at Home All. The. Time.

Intuitive eating is still possible during times like this!

Stress, anxiety, and general overwhelm connected to events outside of your control can easily send you straight to the pantry, but intuitive eating can help you take a deep breath and listen to what your body needs instead. It’s not a “diet”, and it’s truly meant to be sustainable during every single season of life. That includes our current coronavirus season!

The ability to not have a strained relationship with food is not just for when things are going great…it’s for times just like these too.

However, this whole ordeal is uncharted territory, and that can easily send you back to old patterns. Even if you WANT to trust your body, it can be hard when there is so much happening. In fact, when I asked online, a lot of you shared that you’re having trouble discerning what you truly need.

So here are my tips:

Be kind to yourself. Your body might be in panic mode after seeing empty shelves or feeling fearful about having access to certain foods. It’s okay. Be gentle with yourself, and trust that you’ll settle in.

If you’re really stressed, and it’s preventing you from listening to your body, what you need to do is address the stress. Don’t fixate on your food choices; think about alleviating that stress! If scrolling social media or having the news on 24/7 is stressing you, take a break. You can turn those things off, or walk away when you need to.

Go back to the things that calm you down. Yoga? A hobby? Taking classes or seeing friends? (Online, of course!) This whole last week I was just kind of surviving, and I didn’t really move at all. Yesterday I realized that I was super stressed, and I needed to move my stagnant energy out.

I didn’t *want* to do it…

But I knew I needed to! Let yourself rest, but don’t be afraid to push yourself a little in order to do things that you know will make you feel better in the long run. I also did some breath work, and we took a family walk around the neighborhood. Watching TV on the couch with my husband seemed more fun, but I’m so glad I got up and did something I knew would feel good!

Stress eating….and boredom eating!

Some of us are stress eating, and others are boredom eating! Personally, I’m home with a 3 year old. Some of the things he most wants to do, aren’t really that fun for me. It can be tempting to load up on snack food to help the time pass!

To keep myself actively engaged, I pulled out an old adult coloring book I had purchased. Cooper will even sit down and color while I’m coloring! It’s super relaxing, and helps me engage with something that calms me down and feels really peaceful.

I also ordered a paint-by-number kit, which I’m super excited about!

Another big item on the to-do list? Cleaning out the garage! Last week was not the time (we have a LOT of stuff in there because our parents had recently given back all the childhood things and other items we had left in their houses). This week, I might start to work on a box a day. It feels good to be productive, and it helps curb the boredom!

Weight Gain During the Coronavirus Quarintine

You might be spending more time on the couch, and that could be adding some pounds. I’ve been seeing so many ads and posts about exercising, restricting certain foods, and other diet-culture messages. Don’t listen!

This is a stressful time, and yes…that might mean you gain a few pounds. That often happens to me when I’m stressed, because my body is trying to hold on to a bit of extra! Sitting at home and stressing over it, or making myself feel guilty for how I’m coping, is NOT a good way to spend my time at home. It’s not good for you either!

I would encourage you to unfollow anyone who is posting tons of weight-related content online right now. I would also encourage you to dig into those beliefs.

You’re not surrounded by other people at the moment, and you have an opportunity to distance yourself from social media (thanks, coronavirus). You could even specifically choose to learn more about intuitive eating. I finally had a chance to start the Anti-Diet Book by Christy Harrison, and the first chapter explains so much about diet culture, and where it comes from. So much of what we think and believe about food is based on really old “science”, or even just straight up lies and fallacies.

I also have my FREE challenge going on; you can learn the 4 simple steps of intuitive eating, and then actually practice them. Quit Dieting for Good, which is my signature program, is also moving to open enrollment. That means you could dive into your food relationship and body image right now, and really take this time to be a bit of a reset.

Above All, Listen to Your Body

Personally, I’m not diving into any courses. It’s hard enough to try and work and have my 3 year old at home. For some people, however, this is an amazing time to dive into something you might otherwise not have the capacity for.

I have been doing lots of reading, and I’m also listening to podcasts around the house! (If you’re enjoying this episode, I’d invite you to go all the way back to episode one and check it out!)

The best thing you can do for yourself is be super kind. Release stress as much as you’re able. Don’t worry about doing quarantine the “right” way, or the way other people are doing it. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t try to make yourself do it all perfectly. Stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy.

Want to chat? I’d love to connect @caitlinballhealth; feel free to DM me and start a conversation!

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