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20 Things You Can Do to Avoid Pandemic Stress Eating

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

By Lisa Goldberg MS, CNS, CDN

What could be worse for your waistline than sheltering in your home with the refrigerator not far from sight?

During this uncertain time that we are living in, do you find yourself opening the door to the fridge countless times a day? Are you turning to food more than ever before because you’re stressed, or you need an activity or you’re just plain bored?

Several months have now passed since we got stay-at-home orders due to coronavirus. Right now, much of the chatter on the internet revolves around gaining “the Quarantine 15” or “the “COVID 19.”

Like many of my clients who struggle with emotional eating and yo-yo dieting, do you find that your eating as of late has nothing to do with being hungry?

You may be using food to cope with the stress of the pandemic because you repeatedly tell yourself that “food makes me feel better,” but in your heart you know that it doesn’t.

If you find your clothes are getting tighter and you’ve decided that you will worry about it later, it’s time to nip it in the bud right now!

Because the truth is, if you are gaining weight from stress and mindless eating, you will only be mad at yourself when the pandemic is over, and your social life resumes. This is 100% avoidable.

Remember, you are responsible for taking care of yourself no matter what is going on in your life.

In fact, it’s even more important that you take care of yourself when times feel hard, because this will make you feel better about the current circumstances and about yourself.

So, what can you do instead of continuing to stress or boredom eat while you are stuck spending more time than usual at home?

Here are 20 things that you can do to avoid eating and distract yourself when you are NOT hungry:

1. Take 5 slow, deep cleansing breathes

2. Go outside (with your mask) for a walk

3. Sit down and journal your feelings and what’s triggering you to eat

4. Walk the dog or play with the cat for an extra 15-20 minutes

5. Take a hot bath or shower

6. Brush your teeth or pop a Listerine strip in your mouth

7. Organize your closets

8. Call someone you care about but can’t visit now to let them know you’re thinking about them.

9. Rearrange pieces of furniture to give your home a new look

10. Stream a new movie, podcast or music video

11. Find a new exercise video workout

12. Turn on the music and dance around the house

13. Start your holiday shopping list

14. Put a cosmetic mask on your face or deep condition your hair

15. Read a good book

16. Do some yoga stretches

17. Take a nap

18. Count your blessings

19 List ten things you can’t wait to do again.

20. Take a look in the mirror and say to yourself “I love you” and remind yourself why food is not the answer to riding out the pandemic.

You will get through this.

Remember, obesity is a comorbidity when it comes to this virus. The reason we are at home is to stay healthy.

So, as I say when I coach my clients, “choose YOU and your health over food you are not hungry for”. You will thank your lucky stars when it’s time to get out of your sweats and get back out in the world.


Lisa Goldberg is a nutritionist and weight-loss accountability coach with a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is an author, certified Nutrition Specialist, a certified Dietician/Nutritionist licensed by New York State, and certified in Adult Weight Management by the American Dietetic Association.

Lisa, who has been coaching clients since 2001, focuses on mindset change, mindful eating and habit and behavior change. She teaches her clients how to break their old patterns around food and eating so that they can end their struggle with emotional eating that leads to yo-yo dieting. Her clients create sustainable lifestyle changes that empower them to change their relationship with food and lose unwanted weight for good.

Lisa is the author of the book Food Fight!! Winning the Battle with Food and Eating to Achieve Sustainable Weight Loss, available on Amazon.

She served as the nutritionist at the New York Stock Exchange where she created HealthCoach, a healthy lunch program that delivered healthy meals to Wall Street traders from 2003-2013.

Lisa is based in New York City. In 2015, she expanded her practice to coach clients remotely and she now coaches clients around the world.

For more information about how to work with Lisa Goldberg, click below:



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