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  • Autumn Barker

The COVID-19 Diaries: The Quarantine Diet

I don't know about the rest of you, but one thing that has changed quite decidedly since working remotely (and being in quarantine) is my diet. Maybe it's stress, boredom, or just being less than 10 feet away from the kitchen, but I find myself wanting to snack. ALL. THE. TIME.

I’ll be the first to admit that I'm not the healthiest eater. Well, I'm not eating Big Macs (I've actually never had a Big Mac, nor do I want to.) for every meal, but faced with a choice between pizza/tacos or a salad, I'm going to choose pizza or tacos. Every single time. You can put money on that. Since working from home, starting my newfound quarantine life, I've found that I'm hungry 24/7. It doesn't make sense because I'm definitely burning fewer calories than I was prior to quarantine, but here we are.

I didn't give it much thought until I talked with some of my other friends (who are much healthier eaters than I am), and they were also experiencing this same need to snack. My theory is that we're looking for comfort in things we didn't before to get us through this crazy time, and most of us are turning to food. It seems that most of us are choosing foods that don't fall into those "good for you" categories (like fruits and vegetables) and turning more to snacks that give us a dopamine rush.

As someone who has previously struggled with an eating disorder and has always had an unhealthy relationship with food, this desire to snack all the time has reemerged a period of self-loathing that I haven’t faced in a while. The old demons I thought I’d laid to rest have come back to haunt me and, instead of being able to bury them by going to the gym, meeting up with a friend, or going to spin class (otherwise known as “spinning away from my problems”), I’ve had to face them.

While it’s definitely been a struggle–and I’ve felt myself being tempted to return to bad habits–it’s also given me the ability to face those demons head-on and remind them that they don’t hold power over me anymore. Recovering from an eating disorder is an everyday, ongoing battle–one that I often lose–but the days where I win are another step toward being a healthier, happier human.

What started out as a goofy post definitely took a turn that I didn’t expect. I don’t usually like to talk about struggles with food, but it occurred to me that I might not be the only one in recovery who is struggling with the kitchen being less than 10 feet away at all times. I hope this post reaches those people and reminds them that they’re not alone; we’re all getting through this together.

I also want to tell them (and myself) that there is no shame in being hungry. It’s okay if you find yourself snacking more than usual. It’s also okay if you gain weight during this time. As I’ve said in previous posts (and will probably say many more times), BE KIND TO YOURSELF and do what you need to do to get through this hard time. Even if it means reaching for that extra cookie.

If you need additional support, there are resources available to help you. I also recommend following the I Weigh Instagram account founded by Jameela Jamil. It's a community filled with fellow survivors, and it brings a lot of positivity into my feed.

We’re all in this together–and together we’ll get through this thing!


Until next time!

-A


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