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Introduction

Self-isolation at home is certainly one of the best ways to protect yourself from Covid-19. However, being stuck at home can encourage some unhealthy behaviors, including overeating due to stress and boredom: this is the so-called “emotional hunger”. After all, food offers great comfort during times of stress. However, eating too much regularly can negatively affect your health and increase levels of stress and anxiety.

Pandemic anxiety and stress are also generating many more bruxism phenomena.

Those who frequently overeat and messy and has a bad relationship with nutrition and one's body should ask a nutritionist for support or a doctor. If, however, the attraction to food is only temporary and dictated by the needs of this particular moment, it is possible to improve the situation. Here are some ways to prevent emotional hunger and stress eating when stuck at home.

Stop and reflect

One of the most useful ways to prevent emotional hunger is to try to understand why it appears. There are many reasons why people tend to overeat, including being stressed or bored. If you find yourself eating too often or too much at one meal, take a minute. First, it's important ask yourself if you are eating because you are hungry and need nourishment or if there is another reason. Before eating, pay particular attention to how you feel, for example if you feel agitated, tense, sad, anxious. Simply pausing and evaluating the situation can help you understand what drives you to overeat and can help prevent emotional hunger in the future.

Eliminate temptations

Having tempting foods on hand promotes emotional hunger. Studies conducted in this field have shown that visual exposure to high-calorie foods stimulates the striatum, a part of the brain that modulates impulse control, leading to a increased risk of overeating. For this reason, it is better keep foods particularly temptingsuch as sugary baked goods, sweets, chips and biscuits, out of your field of vision, as in a pantry or closet.

Follow a healthy diet

You shouldn't change your normal meal plan just because you're stuck at home. If you are used to eating three meals a day, try to continue that program even if you are smartworking. While it's easy to stray from your normal eating routine when your daily schedule is disrupted, it's important maintain some semblance of normality when it comes to eating. Sure, you can adjust your diet a bit to accommodate the new normal, but it's best to stick with one regular eating pattern based on individual needs and usual times. If you find yourself snacking constantly, try making a plan that includes at least two solid meals a day.

Don't limit calories too much

One of the most important nutritional rules to follow to prevent emotional hunger is not to deprive your body of food. Often, be overly restrictive with food intake or consuming too few calories can lead to binging on high-calorie foods and overeating. It is never a good idea to follow a highly restrictive diet or deprive yourself of food, especially during times of stress. Research has shown that restrictive dieting is not only ineffective for long-term weight loss, but can also harm physical and mental health and increase stress levels.

Dedicate time to cooking

Not having the opportunity to eat out forces people to cook their own meals at home, which often results in an improvement in overall health. For example, a study on 11,396 people showed that consuming home-cooked meals more frequently in the case study considered was associated with a increased intake of fruit and vegetables. Additionally, it found that people who ate home-cooked meals more than 5 times a week were 28% less likely to be overweight and 24% less likely to have excess body fat, compared to those who ate home-cooked meals home cooked less than 3 times a week. Take advantage of this period to return to or start cooking healthy. Inter alia, cooking can help pass the timedecreasing temptations and emotional hunger.

Hydrate

Being stuck at home gives you more time to focus on healthy habits, including drinking enough fluids. Maintaining proper hydration is important for overall health and can help fight emotional hunger. Indeed, studies have found an association between chronic dehydration and an elevated risk of obesity. Additionally, being dehydrated can lead to changes in mood, attention and energy levels, which can also affect eating habits. To combat dehydration, add a few slices of fresh fruit in water to make its flavor more pleasant: This way you might be more encouraged to drink, without adding a significant amount of sugar or calories to your diet.

Move

Being stuck at home can take a toll on activity levels, causing boredom, stress and a greater risk of emotional hunger. To combat this problem, dedicate time to daily physical activity. If you feel lost due to gym closures, try something new like a home workout on YouTubea nature excursion or simply a walk in your neighborhood. Research has shown that physical activity can increase good mood and reduce stresswhich can reduce your chances of just stress eating.

The Covid pandemic has also increased cases of Diogenes Syndrome.

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