Finding Food Balance in Quarantine

I’m using my time during quarantine to work on my 2020 goal of being able to run a 10k. I’ve been researching the best way to do it, so that I don’t burn out and to prevent injuries.

But despite my efforts to get to my goal, including strength training and scheduling longer runs, I’ve gained some weight.

I’ve been at this weight before, about 3 years ago. But I had lost about 10 pounds during the course of a year, really doing nothing but eating clean a majority of the time and going on walks and doing yoga.

Since then, over the last year, I’ve slowly started to gain some weight back, but I was ok with it.

Until quarantine, when the pounds started to pack on faster.

Not only can I see it, mostly on my belly, but I can feel it too, in my arms and in my thighs. I have to admit, it does feel a little uncomfortable. My clothes are feeling a little more snug and I don’t want to get to the point where I have to buy new ones. But even though I’ve been at this weight before, it’s never really felt like me.

I think what caused it was my increased snacking while I work. Being at home, it’s harder for me to say no to a fig bar or gold fish crackers, or both. And looking back, that was definitely boredom eating.

But I think I ate for other reasons too. Reasons that I’ve always gone back to when eating.

One day I took some time to write out reasons why I eat, besides for being hungry of course.

I came to realize that a major reason why I over eat is fear of food waste. I would maybe have an extra cookie or more pasta because I don’t want it to be thrown away.

Part of it is because I don’t want to throw away perfectly good food. Another part of it is guilt for having food in the first place, where other people in the world have nothing. And the other part of it is, it’s like wasting money. I paid for this food only for it to be thrown away? No I’m going to eat it, even if I’m enjoying it less.

It was relief to identify this fear so that I could research and find a way to think differently about it. (I found this blog post that was really helpful.)

The purpose of this exercise I made myself do was to help me not think about food so much. I tend to do that, especially when I want to lose weight. There’s something food related always on my mind: If I eat this for breakfast, then what should I eat for lunch, etc. I’m not exactly hungry right now, but I know we have this particular food in the house, maybe I should just eat if before it gets thrown away? If I eat this healthy food now, then I’ll deserve to have something sweet later

It would just go on and on in my head and I realized it was not good for my mental health. I realized my relationship with food had to be tended to in order for me to finally think of food for what it is: fuel for my body and pleasure for my senses.

I also can’t get hard on myself for gaining weight during this time. We’ve all had to change our routines in the wake of this quarantine. There’s also a lot to worry about. It’s natural for your body to change and adapt. But I’m thankful that I’m not losing weight due to being sick.

As for more encouragement, I found some accounts on instagram of people who show that they’ve gained weight once they’ve stopped focusing so much on results and turned to working out for fun and stopped their strict diet. Now they focus on maintaining a balance diet, which includes those foods that may not be deemed healthy.

Quarantine has brought on some weight gain for me, but it also has helped me take time to dive deep into areas of my mental health that had to be taken care of. The goal is to find balance. And I feel like slowly, but surely, I’m finally finding it and accepting it.

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