Winter Weight Gain/Covid/Stress Eating

For a long time, winter always weighed heavy on my diet, mostly due to inactivity.

The last four years, I'd join a gym to use their cardio and it worked well. The gyms are closed now and I don't know if I'd feel comfortable going back anyways. Face it, gyms are germy. Always has been; always will be.

My home gym is just okay (too many distractions), but I gain weight when I just work the free weights. Sure, muscle mass increases, but I don't like the heavier body weight. I'm more of a quarterback than a fullback.

The last month has been traumatic to my income plan due to the federal changes, so I'm eating for comfort. Healthy enough, mostly, but too much.

I've been skipping logging and omitting many things when I do. Okay..this is beginning to sound like a confessional.

Any sage advice is much appreciated.


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    Hi @Older

    What you're experiencing right now is very common. We don't just eat because we're hungry and/or food tastes good; eating helps to calm us when we're feeling overwhelmed or dealing with other uncomfortable emotions.

    My advice with indulgences that cause overeating is to consider WHEN these will be included, not IF. I suggest people schedule restaurant meals, fun foods (i.e. chips, ice cream), and alcohol in their diet on specific days. The key is to consume the smallest amount that you need to feel satisfied and not deprived. And importantly, it's better to eat these indulgent foods out of the house then to have them in bulk at home and rely on willpower to not eat them.

    For example, perhaps you love chips. Rather than have huge bags at home, consider how often you want to eat chips/week and what days you'll consume them (i.e. Friday night). When that day roles around, go out and buy an individual bag of chips that you eat mindfully.

    In the meantime, it's also worthwhile to consider how you deal with boredom, stress, overwhelm, etc. outside of food.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    I know your trouble. Due to stress I've been eating a lot and sleeping. It's hard sometimes.

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    Don't lose hope! I know WE can!

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    Totally feel your pain on the stress-eating front. These cold, short days can really hit our motivation to stay healthy. For me, it's like my body falls into hibernation mode and craves all the carby comfort foods!

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    But I've been trying to focus on mindful movement lately, even if it's just a short walk or some bodyweight exercises at home. Sometimes getting the blood pumping is all it takes to kick those cravings to the curb. MentalHealth.com has some great tips on managing stress eating too, like relaxation techniques and healthy snack alternatives.

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