Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Eating Disorder Triggers

Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Eating Disorder Triggers

Coronavirus and the social distancing measures being used to combat it are creating unprecedented changes to daily life for people around the world. Obviously, the devastating damage to physical health and the world economy are at the forefront of the discussion. But there will be other side effects that will be destructive to people’s mental health as well. One of those areas I have personal experience with is food issues. I will always have some lingering struggles with my relationship with food and over the past few days I have already felt some familiar triggers.

People who have a troubled relationship with food thrive on routine. In my experience, a disruption in routine is the most common cause for me to binge. Combined with stress, economic insecurity, isolation, boredom, and uncertain access to specific foods, this situation is a perfect storm for people with food issues. I have been thinking about these issues over the last few days and wanted to share some tips I think could help to deal with it.

Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Eating Disorder Triggers

Tips for Dealing with Food Issues During Coronavirus

Focus on Health- One potential positive of this catastrophe is the realization of how precious our health is. We always want to do our best to stay healthy and if I try to focus on food as a way to maximize my health, I find myself making better decisions.

Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Eating Disorder Triggers

Create New Healthy Routines

Social distancing is a big change to our daily lives. The first week felt more like having a snow day. But we have to realize this is going to be our reality for the foreseeable future. We can’t just spend the day watching netflix and eating oreos. Everyone should take some time and create a schedule for themselves. Especially, if you are now working from home or taking care of kids, scheduling your time will make the day so much easier. Schedule your work time, your breaks, meals, outdoor time, and leisure time.

Keep Exercising

Being stuck at home all day, especially as we head into Spring is really frustrating. But it doesn’t mean we have to spend all day on the couch. Go outside for a walk and some fresh air. Or if you are used to going to the gym, there are lots of resources for home workouts or yoga you can find on youtube. Keeping our bodies active is really key to mental health.

Don’t Hoard Food

As of now, I don’t think there is any reason to think our food supply will dry up. We won’t have the same access to every ingredient, but we don’t have to buy months worth of snacks. Sometimes having so much food in the house can create a mentality which causes people like us to binge. If you do stock up on food, consider keeping it stored away until you need it.

Reach out For Help Online

Isolation can be disastrous for mental health. If you are used to seeing a therapist, ask them if you can have your sessions on the phone or online. If you go to group support meetings, look into online resources. There are online meetings for OA, and I am sure there will be similar groups popping up out of necessity.

Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself

We are all going to have to do our best to get through the next few months. Everyone is going to struggle one way or another. I think we can find some solace in the fact that we are all in this together. So much of my relationship with food is based on pressure I put on myself and pressure I feel from the outside world. Times like these are a good reminder that there are more important priorities to focus on than our weight or the way we look.

I have so much empathy for everyone struggling with mental health issues during this time. If you have any advice or kind words, please share them. We will all get through this together.

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10 thoughts on “Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Eating Disorder Triggers

  1. Jenea

    Hi Andie,

    This message really touched my soul. I’ve struggled with food addiction and emotional eating my entire life. As a woman of faith, I’ve been relying on my trust and faith in God for protection during this unsettling time especially when it comes to being lockdown in the house with food and making wiser choices . Thank you for being so open about your struggles, it helps some of us that are not so vocal about it but are still struggling to maintain control.

    Hope you and your family are doing well.

    Reply
  2. Denise

    I have a wonderful group of girlfriends and we have a FB message stream that keeps us sane. We are going to FaceTime tonight and have a little happy hour together. It is so important to reach out. Several of us have been having food issues already. I, for one, tried to have some snack foods in the house, and that did not work at all. They will be gone today! And I have created a weekday schedule so I am productive. I don’t want to get to the end of this and think “Wow, I had all this time and didn’t accomplish a damn thing!”

    Reply
  3. Amanda Morey

    Andi-
    I’m so thankful you blogged about this. It’s definitely starting to trigger my BED, but I’m working on using the tools I have. It makes me feel good to have someone out there that gets it. I’ll be praying for you and your family

    Reply
  4. Kate O'Neil

    Hi Andi-

    I too can feel myself wanting to binge. As others have said, it is good to know that I am NOT the only one having these issues… Thank you for that.

    Take care

    Reply
    1. Julie

      Same!! I’ve already binged a few times due to this stress. I deleted the UberEats, GrubHub, and DoorDash apps from my phone today. I told myself that I was supporting local restaurants!!! Which I was……but…..it was really just an excuse to order way too much food & eat myself into a food coma so that I didn’t have to sit with my feelings.

      Reply
  5. Emily L'Hommedieu

    Andie,

    Thank you so much for this post. As someone who has struggled with emotional eating challenges, is now 34 weeks pregnant, and stuck at home this really resonated with me! So much of my daily routine stemmed from my work life, which has been up ended. This week I’ve been returning to one of my favorite books on this topic, “Women, Food, and God” by Geneen Roth. It reminds me to feel what I’m feeling, and eat when I’m hungry… which is almost always these days!! I know that with a little baby on board I have a sacred duty to give him the best I can. It looks like you are expecting too- Congratulations!! I wish you all the best :) You got this beautiful mama!

    Reply
  6. Regan

    I’m so glad you posted this! Although never diagnosed with an eating disorder, I definitely have issues with food. I pigged out all last week while at home. Today I thought – my clothes aren’t going to fit by next week! WHAT AM I DOING??? I am a creature of habit and working from home has disrupted it. I’m apparently coping by eating. It just hit me now what I’m doing! THE CALORIES STILL COUNT EVEN WHILE WORKING AT HOME!!! Thanks for sharing yourself, which in turn spoke to me and helped me figure out what is going haywire with me. Gotta get back in control. Take care!

    Reply
  7. Kelly

    I’ve been thinking it has been a hard time too. Although I didn’t binge last week, I made a number of bad food choices through the stress and feeling out of control of the virus situation.

    Making a concerted effort to reel it back in this week.

    Thanks for posting xx

    Reply
  8. Kay

    This was helpful. I feel like I’ve been struggling with the loss of routine, stability, the stress of whats happening, and meeting all my triggers again face to face. In additional, telling myself these struggles aren’t as important as everything else happening. Figuring a way out of this hole and into adaptation. Thanks for posting and relating.

    Reply
  9. Hayley L Seifert

    Thank you for this. This is my first time to your blog, and am so thrilled I found it. I find myself struggling with mental health and triggers of my past issues with food. It is reassuring to know others are struggling with the same thing.

    Reply

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