Times are scary and rough on all of us. We are living in the middle of a suspense movie that has become a reality. People are quarantined in their homes, others are out of work, and some are working jobs that expose them first hand to the covid-19 virus. America is stressed out, scared, and depressed. It’s hard to eat healthy when most stores are out of products. Emotions are running high. When emotions are pushed to their limits, it’s easy to sit down and binge on food.
As you know I am a cashier and we are part of the front line workers of this pandemic. People need food, toiletries, medications, and so on. They come in buying cartloads of food with orders ranging from $200 and up. The lines stretch down the aisles and wraparound displays. People are unhappy because we are out of products, they are wearing masks and gloves, and they are scared. During this time I feel like I’m being pushed beyond my limits both physically and mentally.
Before all this started, I worked hard at losing 12 pounds. I was proud of myself, but now I’m finding it very hard to keep the weight off. I’m trying hard to keep to my diet, but I’m finding it difficult. After a day at my crazy job, I want to go home and pass out on my couch and eat junk food like a bag of chips, a bowl of microwave popcorn, and a package of Girl Scout cookies. It would be easy to stress eat until my nerves are decompressed.
My husband, like thousands of others, has been laid off. We applied for unemployment, but we have no idea when that will begin. We had to talk to the bank about our mortgage being late. We also had to go through our bills and see what my check will pay for and which ones we’d have to make arrangements with. I’m stressing like everyone else in this situation, but my stress heightens my anxiety and increases my worrying. I want to shut myself in the house like everyone else and eat unhealthy food.
I try hard not to eat junk food. I even reason with myself. What if I just eat one handful of chips? How about I just eat two cookies? It won’t hurt, right? Just a little junk food won’t put the weight back on. The problem is once I eat one handful I won’t stop. My best bet it to avoid it, but it’s easier just to sit and eat and eat. For some reason when I’m stressed, food seems to be comforting. It’s like I can just eat away the problems, the worries, and the stress. In reality I’d be putting on the pounds and hating how I look which only adds to my awful feelings and my stress.
The hardest time to resist eating bad is at night. Nights seem to be the time when my mind races with worries the most. When I’m at work I have fifteen minutes to eat without tasting, go to the bathroom, and punch in on time. After work when I sit in front of the television or the computer, worries pop up like an annoying ad on the computer. I stress and I want food.
Last Monday when they closed all nonessential businesses, the grocery store was so busy that it seemed like the whole city of Erie was there. I lifted numerous bags of groceries, cases of pop, cases of water, and pet food. By quitting time I was in pain. I put my back, neck, and shoulders out of place. I was in no condition to work the next day. Calling off causes me extra stress and I begin to worry. I worry about not having enough money for our bills, I worry about work getting mad at me, and I worry that my boss will think I’m faking.
While lying on the couch with ice on my back and shoulders all I could think about was junk food, but instead I ate an orange. Wednesday we went grocery shopping and I got apples, strawberries, and bananas to eat instead of junk food.
This pandemic has us all feeling stressed; some of us are trapped in our homes and it would be easy to eat junk food. When you feel like eating, grab a piece of fruit. Don’t let this drive you into unhealthy eating. While you are stocking up on food, add fresh fruits to it. If you are a stress eater don’t sit down with a bag of chips. Instead grab something healthy like fruit, rice cakes, or vegetables.
I’m not going to let the stress of fearful customers and my husband off work lead me back into bad eating habits. I’m going to stay on my healthy path and work on losing weight. This helps me feel good about myself. I’m dancing in the light of recovery as a stronger, healthier person.