By Kristian Gray
The past few weeks have felt at times like we are all living in a Hollywood movie, confined to our homes and in need of the government’s permission to leave the house to buy essentials.
Of course, this is an absolutely necessary step to take to stop the spread of this awful virus across the globe, but unlike Hollywood the stars of this show are us, the ordinary people; unscripted, vulnerable and battling to keep the demons at bay as we face isolation from our friends and loved ones for what is an indefinite period of time.
This isolation has thrown up many challenges already and one of the main ones has been boredom. Stuck in the house, idle, with no work-life balance, people often turn to food in an attempt to ease the boredom and wrestle some sort of control back over life.
I have read many social media posts talking about the ‘#corona10’, an increasingly-popular hashtag referring to the amount of weight people are expecting to put on during this lockdown period and this can be a very distressing.
With 50 per cent of the world’s population now overweight, this is another health crisis that could potentially get worse as weeks and months of inactivity begin to take their toll.
Constant snacking, convenience foods and far more ‘Netflix and chill’ time on your hands could potentially see you gain the dreaded ‘#corona10’ but it doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t have to resign yourself to a slow period of weight gain during this lockdown.
In this current climate, I want to highlight the importance of being ‘mindful’ of what we eat.
Mindful eating is an expression that is becoming commonplace among nutrition professionals the world over as it attempts to tap into the reason why many of us snack constantly throughout the day. It will come as no surprise to learn that one of the most common reasons for snacking is boredom.
I am sure you have already done this. You get up, have breakfast, a cup of coffee, maybe do some chores around the house, help the children with their homework and then you think, ‘what shall I do next’? At this point, you might head to the cupboard, or the fridge, to grab a snack to fill the gap.
It is at this point that mindful eating should kick in. As you walk towards the kitchen, ask yourself the question, ‘why am I going to get a snack, am I actually hungry, or am I just looking for something to do’?
“Mindful eating is a really important part of maintaining a healthy weight because it makes us question why we are eating,” says founder of Keto and Organic Centres, Cyprus Nicolas Tzenios who has been there before, having battled and overcome obesity in his own life.
“I, like many others, would eat simply out of habit; as a reason to fill a gap in my day, and during this extremely challenging period that we are all going through, we are looking for things to do and commonly, that is to have something to eat.”
And with many gaps in the day to fill, it is easy to see how the threat of the ‘#corona10’ is looming large in the minds of many. So, what does Tzenios advise when faced with this issue?
“Firstly, you should always go back to the most obvious question, ‘am I hungry”? If the answer is ‘no’, then walk away from the kitchen and try to find something else to do. In a heartbeat, you have already saved yourself a huge number of calories in the day.
“Secondly and equally as important, is to be mindful of the snack you are going to have. If you are indeed hungry, is the food you are about to eat going to satiate you? Do you eat chocolate to satisfy hunger pangs, or is it to satisfy your sweet tooth?
“Try to eat foods that that will not cause your body to store fat. Nuts are a great snack. Almonds, macadamias and hazelnuts are all healthy and will help you feel full for longer.”
This is great advice. We are now living in what is perhaps the most challenging time the world has faced since the Second World War and there is no need to add to those stresses by allowing your weight to become an issue too.