So a lot of us have been in our homes more over the last month or so after covid-19 safer at home orders were put in place. This has meant more meals at home, purchasing more groceries than usual, and having access to food all day long for a lot of people. This isn’t a bad thing and frankly is something to be grateful for and of privilege. However, I know that it has been hard and scary for a lot of people. Just look at all of the memes and articles on social media talking about fear of weight gain during this time. It feels like everywhere you look somebody is talking about how to prevent weight gain and stay active while at home more. While taking care of ourselves during this time and always is important. That doesn’t mean micromanaging our weight or going on a diet.
Here are 5 reasons not to go on a diet during this time!
- Our body and brains are already going through a lot right now. Whether you consciously realize this or not we all in a collective trauma at the moment. There is a lot of fear, anxiety and unknowns and that puts an added layer of stress on our body and brain. Dieting also adds unnecessary stress to the body and brain and would be counterproductive.
- Dieting puts you at risk to developing an eating disorder. A lot of people’s eating disorders started when they decided to go on a diet and restrict their intake. Keep in mind this potential risk! If you have never heard of the Minnesota Starvation study, check it out. It does a good job of showing and explaining how restricting intake impacts our brains and can leads to eating disorder behaviors and thoughts.
- Research shows dieting leads to weight cycling, which has been found to contribute to negative health outcomes. The end result of dieting is actually weight gain, not weight loss in the long run. This then leads to cycling between dieting, losing weight, gaining weight back and doing it all over again. This cycle has been found to have a lot of negative outcomes to our health versus maintaining weight, even if that weight is higher than you would like it to be.
- Dieting is time consuming. What else could you spend your time and energy on!? There is a lot happening in the world right now and you may miss out on some precious time by focusing on changing your body.
- Our bodies are highly adaptable and are smarter than we give them credit for. Our bodies know what they are doing and will work to find homeostasis. If we eat a little more at one meal or one day our body knows how to use that for energy, give yourself some grace and compassion during this time. Emotional eating is bound to happen and that is okay! If you notice it has become your only coping skill I would encourage you to reach out to a non-diet dietitian and/or therapist to work on finding other coping skills.
So, what can you do instead?!
Here are 5 things to focus on to take care of yourself without going on a diet!
- Focus on mental health. Take time to reflect, meditate, read, journal, do yoga, talk to support systems, speak with a therapist if needed. Find things that help you manage stress and anxiety during this time.
- Ensure you are eating enough! Meaning adequate meals/snacks that are both satisfying and nourishing, not choosing low calorie or skipping meals/snacks! Restriction leads to inflammation and also inhibits our ability to process emotions effectively.
- Work on getting enough sleep. Maybe try a new sleep routine at night.
- Move your body in ways that feel good and REST. This might mean going for a walk, or a bike ride, or yoga, or maybe an at home fitness video. Just because you have more time on your hands doesn’t mean you should exercise for hours on end, rest is equally as important to movement. Try finding a hobby you enjoy that doesn’t require movement as well!
- Stay connected. While we are all social distancing that doesn’t mean we have to isolate. It is important for our overall well being to stay connected with our loved ones. Set up virtual chats or phone calls regularly if possible.
Lastly, I hope you all can find some grace, compassion, LOVE and kindness for yourselves and others! We are all in this together and learning how to navigate this new to us world!
As always if you have questions or comments please contact us, here!