By now we’ve all seen the jokes about getting the “Quarantine Fifteen,” or other weight-gain internet humor about being stuck inside because of social distancing. While we all have to laugh through these hard situations, there are some who might be struggling with mental health issues about diets and body image, especially right now.
If you’ve ever felt pressure from yourself or others to be a certain weight or look a certain way, this can certainly impact your thoughts about food. Eating disorders affect people of every age, race and gender, and can show up in a lot of different ways. Disordered eating is a sign that someone might be at the beginning stages of an eating disorder. Even some behaviors that are considered normal, like counting calories or getting anxious over missing the gym, might actually lead to unhealthy ways of thinking about food.
Eating disorder experts say that it’s important to think in positive ways about staying healthy, rather than feeling down on ourselves when we eat the “wrong” thing. Here are some some additional steps you can take toward keeping your relationship with food healthy and positive. They include:
- Keeping a food journal to document what foods you eat, plus how you felt that day.
- Doing away with “Cheat Days,” and allowing yourself to eat “treat” foods in moderation.
- Getting rid of foods in the house that tempt you away from your health goals.
- Taking control of your food by cooking it yourself.
- Focusing on what your body can do, rather than how it looks.
- Talking with your friends and family if you are having negative thoughts about yourself.
If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression over the foods you eat and your weight, there are resources that can help you. The NEDA has a Screening Tool that can reveal if your thoughts may be leading you into an eating disorder. You may also want to enlist the help of a therapist in order to work through these emotions.