Food, control and Covid.

Lockdown life has had a huge impact on us in so many ways. One thing that I am seeing in my clinical work is the impact on mental health and on eating. I’m sharing this to show that you are NOT ALONE. So many people are struggling and need extra compassion, a listening ear and maybe some professional help too. The more we talk about this the more it becomes ok to talk about it.

– For some people this season of intense anxiety, the loss of so many things and even people has led to a feeling of being out of control. Maybe you’ve been impacted by not being able to socialise, not being able to go to school, take exams, the office, the gym etc… not being able to see friends and family, less access to food items, activities, shops all the things that make life feel normal.

– When we feel out of control it is natural to try and take control back somehow. I’m seeing an increase in the number of people struggling with eating a balanced diet. An increase in restricting food groups and portions sizes. For some not being able to do their normal level of exercise has meant a reduction in eating to try and compensate, sometimes this goes too far and spirals out of control.

– Other people I am working with are struggling with over-eating. Food brings comfort which is no bad thing, but when life seems so out of control that comfort eating can feel out of hand too. Perhaps your weight has increased as you have baked more and been less active, perhaps late at night you have been eating comfort foods to try to bring calm.

– If you are feeling uncomfortable in your body, if you know your eating has changed and you don’t like it, if your mental health is suffering as a result then here are some initial supportive places:

  1. Reach out to a close friend or family member and just ask them to listen, they do not need to have the answers or the fix.
  2. Write down how you feel in a journal. It can help you start to process your thoughts. Try writing back to yourself as if you were a therapist.
  3. The Beat Helpline is open 365 days of the year and there is a live web chat option too.
  4. The Beat Helpfinder is a good resource for local therapists and support groups.
  5. Chat to your GP and ask what support is available.
  6. If you feel you would benefit from some dietitian support get in touch with me priya@dietitianuk.co.uk or look at the freelance dietitians website.

Remember, you are worth it and it is ok to reach out for help.

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