Eating in the Time of Covid-19

In this time of mostly shut-in and limited mobility, there is a need for a new way of eating as too many people are gaining weight sitting around the house. Some people are sitting around eating too many snacks. Other people are eating the same amount of food they used to eat, but are not burning off those calories by doing what they used to do.

I have read the average weight gain over the last months is around ten to twelve pounds. While ten pounds sounds like a lot of weight, for some people, that is extra bites of food every meal. That is not enough extra eating to be noticeable, only enough to sneak on the pounds. Extra calories.

For other people, the problem is bored eating. There is little to do sitting around the house, and snacking becomes a way to stave off boredom. Someone is bored, so they make themselves a snack or grab a bag of chips. They don’t intend to eat much of their snack of choice, but they eat more than they should, and the pounds sneak on. Carbs and fat.

Some people help to manage their boredom by increasing the time spent in food preparation. Whereas this time last year, a quick sandwich may have been a meal, the meal has evolved into a Sunday dinner type event. Someone spending three or more hours making a meal uses up a lot of, “bored” time, but they also are creating a meal that all too often is a calorie and fat dense replacement meal. And the pounds keep coming. Carbs, fat and excess eating.

There is an easy enough fix for this bored eating pattern. It is easy to plan and follow, and the results are surprising. You do not need to spend a lot of time thinking about what you can and can not eat, as we all know that does not work. There is no need to count calories or fat, which as we know, is another path to frustration and failure.

Eat better, snack less

What you do instead is split your meals in half. Splitting your meal in half may not sound like fun, but it is easy and it works. You also get to eat six or more meals a day instead of two or three, so eating snacks or other empty high calorie snack food goes away. You find yourself eating enough and often enough, you find you really do not care to snack because you are not hungry or that bored.

There are two more little additions I find make a huge difference. When the sun sets, eating time is over. Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and the word breakfast was originally two separate words. The two words were, “break” and “fast”. In other words not eating overnight is a form of fasting, and breakfast is essentially, break fast as the first meal of the day.

Not eating after the sun goes down should be followed by not eating until the sun comes up. Unless you are a very early riser and are up before the sun anyway, most of us are sleeping until sometime after sunrise anyway, so this is not an issue.

Splitting your meals in two is fairly easy. Let’s start with breakfast (break fast). This should be a heartier meal of the day, as it provides energy for your body to start and carry you through the day. If you are an egg eater in the morning eat your eggs first by themselves. Wait and hour to two hours and then eat whatever foods you used to eat with your morning egg(s). Toast, potatoes, bacon or sausage, sliced tomatoes, whatever you normally eat in a normal portion. If after eating your egg(s), you find you do not want to cook anything else, have a bowl of cereal or instant oatmeal after that hour has passed.

Repeat for lunch. Whatever your normal lunch is, decide on a way to split your lunch into two smaller lunches. Instead of a sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, perhaps a small salad, and a plain sandwich an hour or so later. Repeat for dinner. Have soup or a salad first, and perhaps an hour later have the main course. Or, eat the main course with a vegetable and have a slice of bread with jelly later.

This isn’t a diet, as the only diet I am aware of is denying yourself food one way or another, this is a way of eating which balances out your meals. You do not feel as full as if eating a whole meal at once (this may take a few weeks to get used to this feeling) , but like all meals about twenty minutes after the first bite, you start to feel like you have eaten, and you become satisfied. You are eating frequently enough, you do not really want to eat in between (snacks), so your weight is balanced, eating only the food you need.

This is a great way to control bored eating. This is a great way to control your intake. This is a great way to eat and not feel bloated or heavy afterward. Your body loves it. Your blood sugar becomes more stable, and you feel better not being bogged down by high calorie junk food. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you or how to make it better.

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