It is March 23.
We have officially hit 7 day of quarantine due to COVID-19 (maybe more for some of you out there).
I have spent a grand total of an average of 7.5 hours on my phone per day since the lockdown.
Watching a plethora of dumb videos on FaceBook.
Reading useless articles on the internet.
Watching marble races.
Times are tough.
This, of course is very, very low on the problem totem pole. Being bored inside, while easy and fun to kid about, is very important in being a master in social distancing. Your boredom, could (and will) save lives. So yes, this lockdown is boring, but important. Stay moving, find new things to learn, find a good book to read, play video games, do whatever you have to do that will keep you in your house as much as possible.
That being said, diet was the last thing I thought I would have to talk about in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. The internet has been taken by storm by at home workouts and tips (myself included), and for good reason. I understand that certain people have been very outspoken about the saturation of at home workout content, and the fact that it’s an engagement grab (yeah, no shit). But there are absolutely people that don’t know how to workout at home, and these videos might promote them to live better and healthier lives in the meantime.
Posting workout videos for people to follow (and to help them grow their audience conversely), is EXTREMELY different than those promoting Coronavirus healing diet and products.
Follow along workouts can be found on my YouTube page (MTEfit)
One is helpful, even if the end goal is selfish (growing an audience), and the other is downright malicious. Anybody who says they have a product or A FUCKING DIET (WHATTTTTTTT) that they claim cures Coronavirus, you have my explicit approval to punch that person in the face. When social distancing is over though of course.
But, all this to say that this is going to be an article about the proper Corona diet (ish). More like tips. You’ll get it later the gist of the article as you go through.
As I stated above, the last thing I thought I would have to talk about as it pertained to this Coronavirus shut in, was diet. I figured with grocery runs being scarcer, and eating out being less prevalent until we flatten the curve, I thought the whole thing would kind of sort itself out.
BOY WAS I WRONG.
Yes, while those above things are true, the reality is while going out is brought to an absolute minimum, the house is STACKED with food at all times, with nothing but ample amounts of time to eat said food.
Therein lies the problem.
When life was normal, and we were able to be out and about, you were working or with your friends or at the gym. There wasn’t time to eat.
Now, there’s nothing but time.
And now that we’ve gone through a full week of quarantine, while I haven’t weighed myself, I can’t help but feel as if I’ve gained some weight.
Welcome to my episode of, True Life: I’m Addicted to Bored Eating.
In this article, I ain’t going to tell you WHAT to eat, or HOW much of it to eat. You know all of this stuff already. Calories are King, eating 12 donuts probably isn’t great for you, etc. etc.
But I am going to tell you how to combat bored eating. Or at least do your best.
Get Lower Calorie Snacks
This is a no brainer, but if all else fails, and you can’t curb your desire to bored eat, or don’t care to, the least you can do, is munch on lower calories things.
Eating Popcorn versus Doritos is probably going to save you loads of calories in the long run (50ish calories per ounce). In this scenario, you’re not really changing your habit, which is the eventual goal, but finding lower calories alternatives to your favorite snacks will at the very least put you in a less compromising position to make progress.
Of course, the extent with which you continue to bored eat, even when choosing a lower calorie alternative will dictate how much progress you make, but any step in the right direction is a good one.
So, if none of the below work, scroll back up and give this a shot.
The first step of fighting addiction, is acknowledging you have a problem.
I. AM. ADDICTED. TO. BORED. EATING.
Say it with me.
The only reason you’ve made it this far is because you’re in the same boat as I am. Don’t be shy. We’re all in this together (High School Musical starts playing).
I’m being hyperbolic here but, sometimes just pinpointing the problem is all you need. Knowing that you’re bored eating, is sometimes all you need to stop.
So, next time you go to your kitchen to grab a bag of Honey BBQ Flavor Twists, acknowledge what you’re doing, look at the bag, say out loud “Not Today, Devil!” and stick the bag back in the pantry.
Quit Mindless Eating
If you tried Tip #1 and you looked at that bag of Fritos and lost that battle, and popped that puppy open, do your best to not sit down in front of a tv while eating those scrumptious treats.
Imagine how many times you sat down in front of a tv (or your phone for that matter), and got lost in a good show or movie. The things you’re seeing on tv are so engaging, that half an hour goes by. An hour. Two hours. All of a sudden you look outside and the sun has gone down. You haven’t showered all day. You crushed 2 bags of chips, a soda, and a couple slices of pizza.
This, my friends, is mindless eating.
It’s kind of like when you’re driving down a road that you’ve driven a million times in your life. You’re there, you’re conscious, you’re reacting, but you’re not entirely present. You’re going through the motions.
Sitting in front of the tv has the same effect. Maybe you’re present in the show or movie you’re watching, but not present in the real world.
Now pair that with a calorically dense snack, and you took out a family sized bag of chips without ever realizing.
Now imagine if you took that same family sized bag into a completely empty room, and stood in there to eat your chips without any outside distraction, the results would be much different.
So interestingly enough, one of the best ways to combat bored eating, is eating when bored.
For some reason chips have been the through line of this article up to this point, so we’ll stick with that same example. Chips are packaged and designed in nice convenient vessels. Bags to be precise.
Unlike some foods, chips can be eaten directly from the original packaging. Outside of the fact that sticking your hands into an opened bag of chips that you don’t intend on finishing is a hot bed for germs, you can also very easily overeat from the bag.
No chip bags are clear, so unless you’re constantly looking down into the bag, you never really know how many chips you’re eating. 20? 30? 34?
But, if you were to pour your chips out onto a plate, you now have control as to how many chips you are eating, and by the time you finish those, we all know your lazy ass isn’t getting up again to get more, so you just saved yourself a bunch of calories. Voila.
Multiple studies have been done that look at eating times and hunger responses. These studies have shown that your body takes about 20 minutes to realize that you’re full. If you’re a human vacuum cleaner when it comes to food like I am, then odds are your demolishing your plate in 3 minutes.
Joey Chestnut watch out.
But what ends up happening, is we are not allowing our bodies to react and adjust accordingly to the amount of food that we are eating.
So maybe you eat WAY more than what your body needed to be full, but you don’t know that until several minutes later when your body finally says “alright chill out up there”. But it’s too late at that point.
Scientists suggest you make meals last at least 20 minutes.
I’m not going to tell you to do that. That might be overkill for some people. Is it the optimal way? Yes, without a doubt. If you feel like you have the patience to do so, you’re more than likely going to have amazing results.
If not, slowing down your eating by even a little bit (enjoy your food people), can still have significant results.
Drink Water (like, lots of it)
Part of the hunger reflex is literally a stretch reflex. AKA if there’s a lot of stuff in your stomach, and your stomach is full to the point of it stretching out, your body will say “okay, we’re full up down here, we don’t need anymore food”.
Of course, that’s an extremely simplified version of what really happens in our bodies, but the encompassing point remains the same. If you feel like you’re overeating, chug a metric ton of water throughout the course of a day.
Water will engage that stretch reflex (to a point) and will push off your need to eat for the time being.
So, if you’re feeling hungry, slam some water, wait 20 minutes, reassess and make your decision from there.
Plus, water is good for you.
Eat When You’re Hungry
Internal Monologue: “Am I hungry right now?”
Internal Monologue: “Am I hungry right now?”
Verdict: Don’t eat
If you think you might be hungry, imagine if the only thing you had in your house was Brussel Sprouts (nobody likes those right?). If you would eat them, then you are hungry. If not, you’re probably bored eating.
Pick Up a Hobby
Everybody knows that if Batman wasn’t rich, odds are he would be a terribly shitty Super Hero.
No money for gadgets.
No time to train because he had to pick up Karen’s shift at his minimum wage job.
No way he could remain anonymous since he works 60 hours a week, etc. etc.
So, I deduce that Batman is so great, because he’s rich.
The same way I can deduce that bored eating is only a problem when you have endless amounts of time.
Take Batman’s money away, he’s just a normal dude probably getting beat up in Gotham City on the daily.
Reduce the amount of free time you have, and all of a sudden bored eating goes away.
Back in the good ole days when things were normal, most people worked 8 hours a day, maybe go to the gym for 1 hour, driving time puts them at another hour.
That’s 10 hours of the 16 hours that you’re awake (assuming you sleep 8 hours), that you’re not eating.
But of course, with the world at a standstill, and millions at home, all we have now is time.
Find a hobby. Get lost in an online course. Get into arts and crafts. Exercise. Write Articles. Make YouTube videos.
Fill. Your. Time.
At the end of the day, it’s going to help you from going stir crazy, and also help you lead a healthier life.
And if all else fails, and we come out the other side of this 5-10 lbs heavier than we went into it, then it just gives us a really good reason to go hard in the gym when we return.