Remaining responsive during coronavirus

This week, we’re pleased to welcome our latest guest blogger and friend of Paycare, Laura Butler, to talk all things nutrition and wellbeing. Laura Butler is a Lifestyle Intervention Consultant and specialises in working with businesses, their staff and individuals to enhance overall health and wellbeing.

 

With COVID-19 seeing many of our eating habits changed over the last few weeks and with nutrition playing a key role in how we operate day-to-day, Laura shares her top tips on how to avoid stress eating while navigating our ways through the current living in which social distancing measures require…

 

Let’s take a read! 😊🍏

 

 

“You may have noticed yourself dipping your hand into the biscuit tin more frequently over the past couple of weeks or perhaps the tightening of your jeans (if you’re not just wearing leggings by default like me) around your waist.

 

If so, you may be suffering from what is being dubbed ‘The quarantine 15’ — the notion that we will all be emerging from lockdown 15lbs heavier!

 

While that kind of weight gain is unlikely, know that this extra eating phenomena is quite normal, you are not alone, and there is something you can do about it…

 

You may be surprised to learn it doesn’t take a huge trauma to kick-start a binge and that there are many different reasons why we eat, not just for physical nourishment. Have you ever noticed yourself eating when you’re not hungry? Out of boredom or the need for distraction? To unwind, relax or de-stress?

 

We are living in a time where life’s pleasures have been stripped away so our brains are looking for ways to bring joy and pleasure into our lives. Food, especially sugary treats and stodgy carbs, release endorphins which give us that quick hit and feel good factor so many of us are craving right now. But that bliss point can become addictive and if you keep it up too long, it will become an unwanted habit.

 

You might be thinking, I have bigger things to think about right now, why is how I eat important?

 

Exactly that. We have big situations and emotions to face. We have people counting on us, whether it’s our partner, children, neighbour, or even our future selves!

 

We are needed, our health is needed. Our ability to show up and serve as our best version is needed. Also eating our emotions might make us feel comforted for a moment, but often overeating can cause feelings of guilt and shame, which we try to numb out further with more eating. It can be a never-ending cycle…

 

If you’re finding yourself overeating because you feel powerless or worried, you’re not alone, but please know that emotional eating doesn’t have to be inevitable right now.

 

Awareness here is key. I am sharing with you the 4-step strategy I share with all of my clients, to help them overcome emotional and over-eating:

 

 

1.  When you find yourself going to the fridge, reaching into the tin etc. PAUSE – get out of your lizard brain and reactive state and give yourself chance to access your creative thinking and not just rushing to numb the feeling or eat to feel better.

 

2.  Ask what am I feeling right now? The feeling behind the one of needing to eat something? Stress? Boredom? Overwhelm? And then check in with your future self. Is this what he/she would want right now? Is this choice going to serve me best? What do I really need? Will I be feeling guilty about this choice? What could I choose to do/eat instead?

It could be an enriching activity like going for a run, reading or a bubble bath. For example, if it is stress and overwhelm you are feeling what would help you relax and feel good, instead of turning to food for the answer?

 

3. When circumstances feel out of control it’s good to focus on the things you can control, even little things. What order can you create? Who can you turn to for support? What would empower you? What can you organise in your own environment to bring that sense of control?

 

4. We also need to apply real self-compassion. Don’t give up on yourself because you feel out of control and ‘there’s nothing you can do about it’. Eating is not the only way to feel good! Overeating is not compassion. Practising daily positive self-talk and even starting a gratitude journal will help you focus in on all the good things right now and serve as a preventative measure to future binge/stress eating.

 

 

Remember, nothing is forever. Now is a great opportunity to bring the balance and focus back to ourselves so we don’t just simply exist but so we can thrive.”

 

***

 

Wow – thanks so much Laura! 🙌 Stress really can impact us in many ways, and eating is shown to have an impact on the quality of our sleep, focus, mood, behaviour, motivation and so much more.

 

We can’t wait to give these inspiring tips a try, when we inevitably head over to the chocolate cupboard for the 105th time, oops! 🍫

 

If you’d like to find out more information around eating, health and wellbeing, or access resources from Laura, please visit www.laurabutlercoaching.co.uk.

 

And remember that as a Paycare Policyholder, if covered, you have access to our Confidential Counselling Helpline, where you can chat confidentially to a counsellor about any problems you may be experiencing — whether it’s stress, bereavement and grief, financial worries or relationship problems.

 

To find out how to access this service, simply login to your MyPaycare area to see your Paycare Policy documents, reach out to your employer or feel free to get in touch with our lovely Customer Services Team 😊

 

Stay safe everyone! 🌈