How to stop snacking during lockdown?
Many people doing my online fitness classes these days tell me that they are snacking much more than normal (and so am I!). First of all, let’s forgive ourselves for that. We live in strange times! None of us has ever experienced coronavirus/Covid-19 lockdown before.
Daily life is challenging right now, whether we still go to work, are furloughed, working in a different pattern or not at all, home schooling frustrated kids, feeling isolated or accommodating others who would normally be out during the day.
In this situation it’s totally normal for us to feel stressed, tired and bored, and so easy to reach for a little snack.
But if you want to tackle that snacking impulse, here are my top tips, based on my experience as a personal trainer and running fitness courses:
Check the trigger for wanting a snack. Are you bored? Tired, cold, stressed? Had an argument? Make a note of it.
Then try to ‘pattern disrupt’ by doing something different: take a walk, do the ironing, read a book, play a game. If you can disrupt your behaviour by distracting yourself, you might forget all about that chocolate bar.
Test whether you are actually hungry: Drink 8oz/250ml of water, then wait for 20 minutes. If you still want something to eat you probably are hungry and so should eat!
Plan to eat regular, balanced meals with healthy fats, good carbs and protein. If you don’t eat enough at mealtimes you will feel hungry and start snacking.
Eat three meals a day with 3-4 hours in between. This should be enough to keep you satisfied and feed your body properly.
Watch your portion size, particularly for carbohydrates like white pasta, rice and potatoes.
Drink lots of water. In my fitness programmes we aim for 2 litres/4 pints a day. It hydrates you and keeps you feeling fuller.
Choose the healthiest possible snacks, including fruit, veggie sticks and nuts (some nuts are hefty on calories – 30g should be plenty.
Put unhealthy snacks out of reach (or just don’t buy any)! Avoid what I call dead, beige food (think about it - you’ll know exactly what kinds of foods I have in mind!).
Last but not least: treat yourself every once in a while. If you really love chocolate, reward yourself with a piece sometimes.
If you completely deny yourself treats, you will eventually crack and eat the whole cake. It’s much more motivating to have something tasty to look forward to, and enjoy it within limits.
By making a note of your triggers, disrupting negative behaviours, eating regularly and well, you can cut the snacking and get to your goals!