LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dietitians are offering advice to anyone fearing the dreaded “Quarantine 15” pounds of weight gain while staying healthy at home. Mindless eating and stress — or emotional — eating is something the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Karen Bryla McNees, EdD, RD, commonly hears from her clients.
She offers this advice: when working from home, set up your work station far from the kitchen and food if possible. Get food stored away, out of sight. Don’t eat straight from the bag or container, but instead portion the snacks. Start being healthy when grocery shopping, and don’t buy the items you feel you can’t resist binging.
McNees says emotional eating is a scientific thing.
“Eating in response to stress actually does serve a bit of a purpose for us. It actually does create a biochemical response in the brain that helps us feel soothed, okay. So we do actually get a reward for doing that. The problem is, food is the easy and enjoyable way to get that response in the brain. But there are other ways to get that response in the brain,” she says.
However, she adds that there are other ways to achieve a soothing effect. Taking a walk, talking to a friend, or watching a funny video can also trigger the same results as stress eating.
Dietitians in UK are doing online presentations during the pandemic. There’s a presentation at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, titled How to Tame Emotional Eating.