In stressful times like these, when you have extra time on your hands, but you don’t have access to the usual outlets for your nervous energy — such as your favorite workout classes in Mt. Laurel — it can be really easy to let your healthy eating habits slide.

We understand! It’s only natural to reach for comfort foods when we’re feeling anxious, emotional, or just bored. Food symbolizes more than just fuel for many people. It’s a way to soothe ourselves when everything else in our environment feels chaotic and out of control. We give into cravings without even knowing we’re doing it, or why.

To stay fit while you’re cooped up at home during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s important to continue exercising, but it’s equally important to be mindful of what you eat. That’s why your friends at Kennedy Fitness: A Jefferson Health affiliate have put together the following tips to help you avoid emotional eating.  

Stay Hydrated

We can never overemphasize the importance of drinking plenty of water. Many times, when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just dehydrated. Carrying around a refillable water bottle, and continuing to refill it, is a great way to keep those nagging cravings at bay.

Start a Food Journal

Emotional eating is typically done without thinking, so make a point to stay aware of what you put in your mouth. Writing it down makes it real, keeps it organized, and helps you identify what triggers might be behind your constant cravings. Go beyond tracking calories and really describe how you feel at the moment. You can even build your food diary into a regular daily journal if you keep one.

Get Real About Cravings

If you feel yourself craving a snack, examine whether you’re really feeling physically hungry, or experiencing an emotional need. Sit with the craving for a few moments and see if it passes. If your stomach is grumbling away during that time and you haven’t eaten in a while, it’s probably time to cook yourself a healthy meal!

Battle Boredom in Other Ways

If you find yourself with idle hands that instinctively reach into a box of cookies, think of other ways to spend that time. What hobbies have you put on the backburner — sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, reading? Is there a family member or friend you can call or FaceTime to check on or catch up? When was the last time you went for a walk and listened to music? Even taking a drive or playing with your pet in the yard can snap you out of the cycle of unnecessary snacking.

Choose Filling Foods

What you choose to eat at mealtime can help keep you from sneaking back to the fridge or pantry every hour. Pick foods that aren’t just nutritious but also satisfying and will make you feel full and content for a longer period of time. Need menu ideas? We’ve got you covered with this quick slideshow video.

Lean On Your Support System

We need our family and social network now more than ever, and talking with a loved one is the best way we know of to fill an emotional void. Reach out when you’re feeling “off.”

If you’re looking for support in your quest to stay fit during these troubling times, you can count on the team here at Kennedy Fitness. While our fitness facilities in New Jersey are temporarily closed, we are offering free virtual workout classes on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and we’re continuing to post helpful tips here on our website. We’re here to keep you healthy in any way we can!