Expert explains why we’re having more food cravings in lockdown – and what to do about it

Brits are worried about piling on the pounds…

If you’re anything like us, you’ll no doubt be avoiding the scales as lockdown takes it toll on your waistline.

Hours and hours spent indoors, with just the fridge and the wine rack for company, are certainly starting to show.

However, a health and wellness expert has now explained why us Brits are having more cravings during lockdown.

And she’s also revealed what we can do about them.

Food cravings have risen during lockdown (Credit: Pixabay)

Health and mindfulness coach Louise Murray revealed: “As we go into month two of lockdown, one thing is clear – we are eating more carbs and sugar.”

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She added: “And we are worried how this will impact our health and our weight.”

Louise explained that we’re all on a bit of an “emotional roller coaster” at the moment.

And this is what’s leading to cravings for chocolate, cakes and wine, it seems.

Stress-induced cravings

Louise explained: “When we are stressed, our pituitary gland signals a release of cortisol, our stress hormone. Stress and increased cortisol influence cravings and act as a reward in our brain when we are stressed.”

She added: “Stress also can imbalance our hunger hormones so we can’t identify when we are hungry or full.”

As we go into month two of lockdown, one thing is clear – we are eating more carbs and sugar.

Louise also suggested “re-framing cravings” in a positive way so that we stop punishing ourselves.

Woman drinking wine
Brits are reaching for the wine during lockdown (Credit: Pexels)

She said cravings aren’t just about being greedy and wanting fattening foods.

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A craving might be a message from your body that it’s seeking a particular food to promote health and well-being – for instance craving nourishing soups when you’re not feeling well,” she said.

“But cravings can also be precipitated by your emotional state, physiological state, diet, routine or even your surroundings. When cravings arise, they can be a symptom indicating an imbalance occurring elsewhere,” she said.

Don’t ignore cravings

Louise said if cravings do arise, acknowledge them.

“Ignoring cravings often makes them seem stronger and more powerful. When you make foods you want off-limits, it usually has the opposite effect,” she said.

“Rather than leading you to forget the off-limit foods, you end up preoccupied and less equipped to control yourself when you’re around them,” she added.

It’s also important to realise that, during lockdown, experiencing cravings is entirely normal.

Anyone else piling on the pounds indoors? (Credit: Pixabay)

Louise added that “stress, fatigue, loneliness and even boredom” can lead to food cravings.

However, she reiterates that “food won’t solve the problem”.

“It would be treating a symptom, which works in the short-term but probably isn’t in your best interest in the long-term,” she said.

Instead, she said, you need to build a “mutually loving relationship” with your body.

“Remember, your body loves you unconditionally and does everything it can to keep you alive and functioning,” she said.

“You can deprive it of sleep, but it will still get you up and running the next morning. You can drink too much alcohol, and it will still process it through your system,” she added.

“Next time you experience a craving, try to think of your body as a crying baby who needs tenderness and love. The baby can’t talk, so it’s up to you to respond with love and compassion and try to figure out what’s wrong,” she concluded.

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