Again in lockdown: Are you at risk of out of overeating and overindulging in alcohol consumption this time around?  And how to stay on track with managing your impulsive and mindless overeating and not to rely on alcohol to get through lockdown. 

Here we are in a lockdown again. The majority of us living on Australia’s East Coast anxiously await daily announcements by our Premiers about the latest outbreak. And again we feel frustration and anxiety as they say things like what NSW Premier Gldys Berejiklian said on the 23rd July: “There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we were hoping they would at this stage.” Some predict we might be in a lockdown for a while. 

Be it as it may, let’s revisit what have we learnt from our experiences in the previous lockdown especially in relation to our self-care, alcohol consumption and eating habits at home. 

Many of us reported disturbance of sleeping patterns, anxiety associated with uncertainty and sudden loss of daily routine, social connections and inability to rely on our typical coping patterns. We know that these and other factors can negatively impact our dietary habits and overreliance on alcohol for coping. In this blog we rely on some of the statistics offered by the  study published in Clinical Nutrition “The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on snacking habits, fast-food and alcohol consumption: A systematic review of the evidence” by Dimitra Rafailia Bakaloudi a, Dhanushya T. Jeyakumar b, Ranil Jayawardena c, d, Michail Chourdakis 

1) Snacking – Increased 

What is interesting is that there are some variations in people’s snacking behaviour, a study whose participants were obese demonstrated an increase in snacking behaviour by 32.7 % and studies with mixed participants (obese and not obese) showed an increase in snacking behaviour by 18.9%.  

You might look at these results and make an assumption that people who already have struggles with their emotional regulation, impulse control and difficulties with controlling their eating habits are even more at risk during lockdowns. And you might be right.

2) Fast food and junk food – Increase in some countries.

It looks like that many people during lockdowns decided to focus on preparing meals at home, like in Italy there was an increase of home-made recipes for pizza and sweets, however in New Zealand people ordered more fast-food, similarly In Canada there was an increase in junk food consumption. This lockdown for us might be a bit different as the Delta strain forces many of the favourite restaurants to shut down, so we might need to go back to researching five easy ingredient Jamie Oliver recipes. 

What to do to address mindless snacking and reliance on fast food: 

  1. Plan your meals 
  2. Wholistic approach to eating
  3. Balanced diet is the key
  4. Learn your triggers: Is it boredom? Anxiety? Stress? Why do you keep on snacking? 
  5. Binge Eating program – Complete our course “Beat the Binge”  to learn to address your lack of control around your eating habits and stop vicious cycle of impulsive and emotional overeating. 

3) Alcohol consumption – Increase at the beginning of the lockdown and in some cases at the end.

In Australia and France there was a tendence to decrease alcohol consumption at the end of the lockdown, however in countries such as USA, Poland and China there was a tendency to gradually increase drinking in some cases almost by 10% each consecutive months in lockdown. 

Do you remember what was it like for you? Did you drink more at the beginning or at the end of the lockdown? What you need to remember is that If you drink too much at the beginning or the end of the lock down you might place yourself more at risk for to “viral and bacterial infections (including COVID-19) due to their impaired immune system”.  

Needless to say that overindulgence in alcohol means you might be more careless with what you eat and might rely on a hangover breakfast to help yourself to feel better. More than that it will affect your routine, productivity, and might create tension with your loved ones, especially those sharing accommodation with you. 

What to do if you tend to drink more than usual in lockdown:

  1. Focus on your fitness and make sure you start each day with some exercise even if it is just going for a walk or jumping on a treadmill or your online classes.  If you think that you need to exercise you might choose to go to bed earlier to honour this commitment. 
  2. Understand why do you rely on alcohol. Stress, Anxiety, Conflict with your partner? 
  3. Stay hydrated, positive, engaged. Lockdown will be over, I guarantee it. 
  4. Learn how to help yourself with our online course Stop Binge Drinking.
  5. Focus on having better relationship with your partner and remember that your doctor, and your psychologist are available via Telehealth. If you struggle to cope give them a call. 

Stay safe!