Are you snacking more during lockdown? If so, our latest blog post explains what you can do to help curb your cravings.

Eating is often an emotional response when we feel sad, anxious, overwhelmed or even just bored. With the coronavirus crisis, it’s no surprise that many of us are snacking more than we usually do.

And with the increase in home-working, we have constant access to the fridge which makes it all too easy to indulge.

While a few occasional treats won’t make much difference, consistently eating more, and the wrong types of foods, may make your IBS worse and also lead to weight gain.

Here’s what you can do to stay in control of your eating habits and help to prevent piling on the pounds.

Establish a routine

Try to set and keep to a routine with regular mealtimes throughout the day. This will help to regulate your appetite and avoid reaching for a snack when you first feel a hunger pang.

Try to schedule time for daily activities such as walking, housework, social calls, hobbies and exercise, including time to relax.

Plan your weekly meals

As well as sticking to a routine, plan your meals for the week. As a country, we’re now shopping less often and buying more when we do venture out. Planning your weekly meals will help when you’re in the supermarket to make sure you get everything you need (and ensure you don’t overspend!). And, if you have a menu for the week, you’re less likely to eat between meals.

Eat when you’re hungry and avoid emotional eating

We all know when we’re feeling hungry but perhaps don’t recognise emotional hunger. That’s when you’re bored, stressed, anxious, unhappy or sad, and you eat for that reason, not because you’re actually hungry. Recognising when you do this is the first step in taking action to control it.

Keep busy

Keeping the boredom at bay by keeping busy is a great way to avoid piling on the pounds. If your day is busy, you’ll be less likely to eat as a result of boredom. Your day will have a structure and purpose to it, which is great for the body and the mind.

Focus on your IBS

Now is a great time to focus on your IBS by doing one thing to improve how you manage your condition. This could be keeping a 12-week wellness diary, trying a probiotic or working through our self-care programme.

Choose healthy snacks

Choose healthy snacks such as fruit (keeping to no more than three portions a day) and avoid unhealthy snacks that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

Keep active

Exercising and keeping active is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. There are lots of online workouts to do at home. Get some fresh air by going for a walk, a run, a cycle ride or gardening. Try to vary your workouts, and make sure you’re using different muscle groups.

If you are doing regular exercise you are less likely to undo your good work by eating unhealthy snacks.

Avoid eating in front of the television

Think about how and when you eat. Eating in a stressful environment may trigger your IBS symptoms. If you eat in front of the TV, you’ll eat more and quicker. Take time with your meals and enjoy them. Eat slowly and chew your food. Not only does this help IBS, but it also means you’ll feel fuller for longer.

Keep hydrated

Sipping water throughout the day will help keep you hydrated. Sometimes your body confuses hunger pains for just being thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine as they can exacerbate your IBS symptoms and sugary drinks can lead to weight gain.

Don’t forget self-care

Self-care is more important than ever at the moment. Take time for yourself. This could be reading a book or listening to music or doing an online class such as yoga or Pilates. This may help reduce your stress and anxiety, which will help prevent you from ‘emotional eating’.

Take control

Taking control of what you can will help with the uncertainty and anxiety of daily life at the moment. You can’t control what’s happening, but you can control how you respond to it.

We understand that life is a challenge now, but we are here for you.