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Many people have turned to comfort eating due to the loneliness imposed by numerous lockdowns and worries of contracting coronavirus and even grieving its victims. 

However, experts noted recently attributed six poor eating habits to the coronavirus pandemic. These are:

  • Mindless eating and snacking;
  • Increased food consumption;
  • Generalized decrease in appetite or dietary intake;
  • Eating to cope;
  • Pandemic-related reductions in dietary intake; and
  • A re-emergence or marked increase in eating disorder symptoms.
Eating in Space
(Photo: ESA/via Getty Images)
IN SPACE: Seen in this undated ESA handout out photo European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andre Kuipers (R) and his NASA colleague Michael Foale eat Dutch cheese for breakfast onboard the International Space Station.

Experts say the most worrying results include a slight rise or re-emergence in eating disorders, which kill about 10,200 people per year. That's one person per 52 minutes, on average.

Researchers published their study, titled "Disordered Eating In a Population‐Based Sample of Young Adults During the COVID‐19 Outbreak," in the International Journal of Eating Disorder.

Observation

According to research, more than half of Britons failed to control their weight during the first "stay at home" order.

In the last year, the eating disorder charity Beat noted a 302 percent surge in calls to its helpline.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota described "six patterns relating to disordered eating during the pandemic" after surveying over 700 individuals.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Principal Investigator of Project EAT, said in a NewsMedical report that there had been a lot of focus on obesity and its connection with COVID-19. 

"Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates across all psychiatric health concerns, and therefore, it is important to try to make links between the consequences of the pandemic and disordered eating behaviors," researcher Melissa Simone from the University of Minnesota said in a report.

Findings

The study sought to explain possible correlations between stress, psychological pain, financial problems, and improvements in eating behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic through the interpretation of both qualitative and quantitative evidence.

About 8% of those surveyed recorded extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors, 53% reported less severe unhealthy weight control behaviors, and 14% reported binge feeding.

According to the report, these effects were also linked to poorer stress control, increased depressive symptoms, and mild to severe financial problems.

"The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely persist long beyond the dissemination of a vaccine," Simone said. 

Simeone added eating disorder prevention, and recovery efforts must be affordable, conveniently available, and broadly disseminated to those at risk. As a result, online or mobile-based interventions can prove to be efficient and convenient modes of targeted intervention.

How to Curb Binge Eating Amid COVID-19

VeryWellMind suggested several steps to alleviate the effects of emotional eating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALSO READ: Can't Stop Binge Eating? Here's How to Curb Emotional Eating  

Accept Things As It Is

Acceptance is the first step. It's not the worst thing if food helps you get through this period-in fact, it may be healthy self-care.

You may be concerned about adding weight when shielded at home. You don't have to feel bad for not having to gain weight. Gaining weight, according to our fatphobic culture, is terrifying. However, if you survive the pandemic, you would have done better by yourself, regardless of your weight gain.

Check if You're Eating Enough

Since you are now quarantined at home, you should not need to cut down on your food intake. Our diet-obsessed culture sends multiple reminders that eating less is healthier and that restricting what we consume makes us more virtuous. Many people are writing on social media about how they are struggling to avoid gaining weight while socially isolating themselves.

However, food restriction frequently backfires, resulting in emotional eating, binge eating, and weight gain-the exact opposite to what was expected. You would never be able to maintain long-term weight management. You may reduce depression and unplanned feeding by eating sufficiently frequently during the day. You'll probably actually help to keep your blood pressure in check and your attitude in check.

Improve Coping Mechanism

If eating has become your only coping mechanism, it's time to expand your toolkit. Other behaviors that may help to relax, distract, or release nervous energy should be considered. This will be one-of-a-kind for each individual.

Journaling, drawing, contacting or messaging a friend, going for a walk (while keeping a social distance), doing a guided meditation, or taking a bath are some relaxation activities to suggest.

Resist The Urge to Compensate

To attempt to minimize the effects of your diet, you may feel compelled to restrain or partake in other compensatory activities. Don't do it! These actions only serve to prolong the disordered or binge eating loop.

You still don't need to boost the workout to compensate because you're becoming more sedentary. You don't have to talk about your diet or increase your workouts only because of those around you are. Allow the body to self-regulate.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Binge Drinking Affects Your Brain Activity

Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.