The simple fact that food is so easy to access when you’re at home can lead people to eat more, says McMillan, but stress and anxiety are also in oversupply at the moment, and these too can lead us to seek comfort in the fridge. What’s more, it’s not your imagination that sugary and fatty foods in particular make you feel better.
“These increase the feel-good chemicals in the brain so they make you feel better in the short-term,” says McMillan. “But of course long-term that is a nightmare for physical and mental health if too much of it goes on.”
Make eating well easier by stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy, delicious foods.
Give your gut a break
Grazing your way through the working week, even if the food is relatively healthy, is not ideal. “For the vast majority of us, snacking too often just means we eat more, are never truly hungry or truly satisfied, and we fail to get the balance of foods we need,” says McMillan. “We also want to give our gut a break between meals to digest food.”
Try to stick to a regular eating routine and have a 12-hour fast between dinner and breakfast, as a minimum.
Actually take a break for lunch
While it’s important to eat well McMillan says it’s also important to be kind to yourself in these difficult times.
“This is not about trying to be Insta fit or a diet guru looking fabulous at home every day,” she says. “Go easy on yourself. In my world, coronavirus or not, guilt has no place with food or eating.
“Try not to label foods as good or bad as that implies you are good or bad when you eat them.”
Instead, see foods in a positive light and think more about what you want to be eating more of — real whole foods — and give less attention to what you think you shouldn’t be eating. McMillan recommends leaving your work space to eat in order to enjoy your meal without distractions.
Sorry, no desk snacks
Try to resist the temptation to stock up on treats you know you are at risk of overeating, says McMillan, and keep food items away from your work space.
If the urge to continue eating treats such as chocolate arises, ask yourself if you really want it, and wait 10 minutes, distracting yourself with another activity. If the urge is still there, serve yourself a measured amount and put the rest away, out of sight.
“Healthy eating is at the core of looking after your mental and physical health. We are going to be in this situation for a long time, let’s be honest, and bad eating for months can do a lot of damage.”
Lissa Christopher has more years’ experience as an editor and writer with The Sydney Morning Herald than she cares to count, and is now a print and digital producer for Traveller. She’s a glamper not a camper and wherever she travels she likes to start eating as soon as possible after making it through passport control.