The COVID-19 Belly
The COVID-19 belly is not referring to a 19 inch waist! It’s the belly that is appearing on many Canadians right now. Some people are calling it “COVID Pounds” or “Quarantine 15”. Regardless of what you want to call it, it’s real and it’s happening all over the world. Artists have taken to social media to share their experience labeling it “Quarantine 15”, posting songs and messages about the 15 pounds they expect to gain, the “clothes that no longer fit” and “eating all the cookie dough”.
One post read online “Due to coronavirus, my summer body will be delayed to 2021, thanks for understanding. “
There are many contributing factors to this mindframe. You may have lost your job, had to work longer hours on the front lines, been sent home from college, been separated from loved ones or have been quarantined at home with people that you may have tense relationships with. No matter what your life was like before it has been altered in fundamental ways.
If you’re working from home now, you may be using food to help you transition from one activity to the next. Many people are finding it hard to find their new groove of working at home and being a parent/spouse/homemaker etc. most of us use to have a commute to and from work to serve this purpose. It’s important that you find resourceful ways to transition in between the rolls you have to play.
Start to make a routine with some structure for yourself and practice some self-care rituals that don’t involve food as a cue for the subconscious to switch these roles. You will find it easier to walk away from the computer and leave it behind you at the end of the day. With our work so close, it’s tempting to never leave it. I even found myself scheduling clients at 7 AM and on Sundays. Something I wouldn’t normally do at the office, but now I have more flexibility in my schedule so I can meet the needs of clients that may have young ones at home and a spouse that may still be working. We recognize that each person’s schedule looks different and its purpose is to be proactive in meeting all of your needs. Creating a proactive schedule that you love makes healthy living easy.
You may be stressed, bored or lonely. Shopping for food has become harder and most people have stocked up more than usual to reduce trips to the grocery store. Animals associate chronic stress with famine. The natural thought is to go eat because if you have food you have survived the famine. With more food in the house, isolation and stress can have us eating as if we are getting ready to hibernate.
Finding yourself worried about running out of essentials before the online order comes, putting off a potentially dangerous trip to the grocery store, and many other reasons, there is a newfound urge to not waste food. This can cause us to eat all the food on her plate even if we are full, eating the leftovers in the fridge before they go bad, all of these things are eating just for the sake of eating or not wasting. A good solution to this is to cook smaller portions.
Emotional eating is not a clinical term, but a term we use to describe the phenomenon of eating in response to an emotional state rather than hunger. People naturally eat for a variety of reasons with emotional states only being one of them. There are many more factors that contribute to stress or emotional eating.
The news is keeping people in fear. If you are watching the news often, know that this is not helping your emotional state of mind. Yes people need to stay informed, however too much or too often can contribute to this feeling of chronic stress and famine.
Some of our clients in the weight loss clinic had no idea how to put together an enjoyable workout for themselves at home. Perhaps your routine was stopping at the gym on your way to or from work? Maybe you have just been so used to having a fitness instructor that you don’t know how to begin exercise self directed. The plus side to this is that during this pandemic, many fitness programs are offering free online classes. There is more opportunity now to work out from home than ever. You just have to keep an open mind and start trying some new activities. Creating circuits of activities that you enjoy at home can help. For example skipping rope, hoolahoop, jumping jacks, climbing stairs if you have them or lunges and squats. Put a bunch of activities together that match you and your outcome.
Let’s not forget about science and how stress can affect our hormones Which ultimately could cause us to gain weight regardless of what we eat. When our body reaches a certain stage of stress we begin to create cortisol which is a hormone linked to weight gain. When our bodies are in the state it is harder to make healthy choices and clear decisions. At this stage we may start to crave comfort foods and possibly begin to sabotage ourselves. Please know that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things you can do to keep your stress levels and hormones in check.
Many people are turning to alcohol to cope during these times. Alcohol is full of sugar which we know is bad for our nervous system, sleep and nutrition. For some people it’s food and for others it’s drugs or alcohol. Or maybe you’re just drinking more now because you can. Maybe it’s a rebellious side to you, or perhaps you don’t need to get up early for work anymore or you’re missing a social life and alcohol gives you the feelings that you’re missing right now. Either way you must feel by now that it’s hurting your body. You can’t keep up like that and stay healthy. If you fall into this category it’s time to learn some new coping strategies that are healthier for you.
We all have a need for adventure. Isolation is making it hard for people to meet this need. Are you feeling bored so you turn to food? This is a dangerous recipe with the fridge right around the corner. Satisfying your oral sensory can trick your subconscious mind into feeling like you actually did something fun because it was in your senses. Our subconscious is always trying to serve a positive intention and will look for ways to meet our subconscious needs even if they are not so desirable. Because we have a need for adventure and we receive that stimulation through our senses, instead of turning to food to cure your boredom, use your other senses. Turn up some music, move your body, use visual imagery, aromatherapy or anything else that gets you into your senses.
Have you ever noticed that you gain weight every time some kind of crisis happens in your life? Perhaps you know exactly what your comfort foods are already and just automatically turn to them when the going gets tough. Or maybe you’re one of the thousands of Canadians that have just been so busy for so long that you actually have to learn how to be bored and fill your time with healthy choices.
Regardless of which category you fall under COVID-19 can be an opportunity to learn new healthy habits or allow your old patterns to destroy you. Hypnosis can help you use this time wisely and create a new healthy lifestyle for yourself that you can take forward with you regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Our best advice for the COVID-19 belly:
Get outside, active and in your senses
Five minute water trick
Model thin people – 10 things naturally thin people do
Love a proactive routine
Take action for success
Online hypnosis programs. – Anchor a full and satisfied feeling and reprogram healthier ways of coping
Free resource – DrumFit with Rebecca on YouTube
Now is the best time to make personal improvements, create new habits we can take forward and be good role models to show the younger generations how to make healthy choices through challenging situations. Realistically the world has had many wars and pandemics in the past and I’m sure we are not immune to more in the future. Take this time to recognize where you need to make changes in your lifestyle or coping strategies and let hypnosis show you how to make those changes easy and effortless. Don’t feel stuck. Kawartha Hypnosis can help. Call for your Free Hypnotic Screening and ask about our Service Guarantee (705) 243-4925.