In times of stress, some turn to comfort food. But overdoing it can lead to low energy levels, bloating, upset stomach, and, over time, weight gain.
From the election to the pandemic, if you are taking comfort in carbs, you're not alone.
"It's the new joke," said nutritionist Liz Weinandy with Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. "You know, the COVID 15, like the freshmen 15."
Weinandy says junk food hits receptor sites in our brains that make us feel good. Since junk is not good for our bodies, put down the cookies. Or at least don't overdo it.
"Instead of eating a half-gallon of ice cream, eat a dish," said Weinandy.
If you have trouble stopping, pre-portion your snack.
"Definitely making sure you're putting stuff in a small dish," said Weinandy. "Even if you go back couple times, it kind of helps you see 'oh I've had a few dishes of this,' rather than before you know if the bag of chips, or whatever, is gone."
Upgrade your snack or meal by making it healthier. Substitute veggies or fruit or give yourself low-calorie busy snacks to help with cravings.
"sometimes eating some of those busy snacks, especially if you're truly hungry, can definitely help take the edge off," said Weinandy.
Tea can help calm those cravings as well, just watch out for caffeine. And finally, allow for small indulgences.
"A lot of times, if we feel guilty about it, a lot of people just keep stuffing our faces and that ends up being bigger problems in the end," Weinandy said.
Nutritionists say to learn from your mistakes and not to beat yourself up if you over indulge. Instead, put a plan in place to help yourself the next time you face a craving.