“Since we’ve been in quarantine,” announces Susan, a binge eating client, “I can’t stop overeating. Now that I’m in lockdown, I wish I had lockjaw!”
Danny laughingly echoes the same feeling: “Now that I can’t go to work, I’m involved instead in many diverse activities at home throughout the day — there’s snacking, grazing, munching, nibbling, noshing, chowing down, and sometimes even eating meals!”
Susan and Danny have it right — emotional eating struggles during this time of COVID-19 are alive and well.
In truth, worry, anxiety, fear, grief, boredom, anger and depression are always major triggers for emotional eaters. But when you add a pandemic to these triggers, you have a perfect storm for people struggling with food, eating, and worries about weight gain. And even those “normal” people who don’t have an eating disorder are struggling as well.
Of course, the fear of getting COVID-19 and the worry about loved ones getting sick is paramount in people’s minds. But clients have also expressed that not knowing when the quarantine is going to end is one of the worst parts of this experience. Here are what some clients have discussed:
- Judy: “If I knew when my life would be back to normal, then I could tolerate the next month with more peace of mind. My anxiety would be more manageable and probably my food, too. I’d know this lockdown would have a beginning, middle, and an end, rather than this intolerable ongoing experience.”
- Leslie: “For me the biggest stress is not knowing how to explain to my kids why they can’t see their friends, why we can’t go out to play, and trying to fill up the day with kid-focused activities. It’s driving me crazy — overeating is like my sanctuary, my oasis.”
- Marsha: “Food has always been