Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
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Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Finding compassion for cake eating in lockdown
by Harriet Frew on May 19th, 2020

Experiencing devastating grief or rushing your child to A and E, after an accident or news that shatters your world in a heartbeat – this is acute stress.

The panic and overwhelm that primes your body to flee and react, as it would helpfully have done, when fleeing from the predator, in days gone by.

Your appetite is nil. Eating’s not even a consideration, as the survival instinct dominates.
Chronic stress is somewhat different. It doesn’t dismantle your world in one fail swoop, but it drips steadily, niggling away at your wellbeing like a persistent child asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ for the 25th time in 15 minutes.

It gnaws in your head, with a persistent buzz that sits heavily, and irritability levels run close to the surface. It drains your energy and often renders the normal ways of self-care redundant.
If you’re in lockdown (and thankfully well and healthy), then it’s no surprise that chronic stress levels are bubbling, with home-schooling and family claustrophobia or aching loneliness predominating.

Food can be an understandable short-cut to lift mood or soothe anxiety, to get you through the day.

You might find yourself desperately craving pastries or chocolate, or simply just wanting to eat, when you know that you’re not hungry.

You find yourself making regular trips to the kitchen, opening and closing the fridge door.
This isn’t a post to berate or chastise you, for using food to soothe.

Eating is an understandable coping strategy, in times of stress.

I know that I’ve been chomping more, on salt and vinegar crisps and KitKats and Chewits (they still make your teeth stick together) and merrily enjoying every scrumptious bite.

I try to eat intuitively and if this is what I’m craving, then I have no plans to deny myself. We’re not going to be in lockdown forever.

If your chomping is getting a little out of hand, then it’s definitely a time to offer yourself a bit of kindness and understanding in relation to this.

There might be feelings to be soothed or standards to be eased. For 98% of us, a pandemic is not going to be the time to write that memoir or read the lifeworks of Shakespeare or learn fluent Japanese.

Even considering such productivity can send you running to the fridge, in a self-sabotaging panic because you feel that you’re failing at life.

Don’t judge or criticise yourself about eating but rather be curious and self-understanding.
Maybe think about what you need, to reduce the stress just a little. Do get out in the sunshine and move gently every day.


Make time for the little pleasures that can sustain and lift your mood.

Reach out to a dear friend on Zoom, who really understands.

Slow down and breathe. Ask yourself, ‘How do I feel right now? What can I do to take care of myself best?’

Offer yourself the consideration and thought that you would show your closest friend, beloved pet, or precious child.


Posted in Corona virus, lockdown    Tagged with emotional eating, lockdown, cake, compassion


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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.