NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As families continue to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a growing concern that they are filling that time with weight gain and binge eating.

CBS2’s Charlie Cooper spoke experts on Wednesday about ways to avoid overeating.

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All over social media there are posts circulating under the hashtag #Quarantine15 and talks about gaining the “COVID 19.” They are referring to the weight gain people are predicting will occur during self-isolation.

“A lot of people look to food to self-medicate or to self-soothe,” clinical social worker Amanda Fialk said.


Fialk helps adults struggling with binge eating.

“Now you have two weeks or more of food in your house and usually the foods that we’re stocking up on tend to be those non-perishables, so the things that people are more prone to binge on,” Fialk said.

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Dr. David Buchin of Northwell Health-Huntington Hospital said a state of anxiety is also causing people to eat more of what’s called “fear foods,” like carbs and fats.

“It causes stress hormones like cortisol to go up and people are looking for comfort foods,” Buchin said. “People should be eating vegetables and they still should maintain that concept of eating around the grocery store, not eating in between the aisles, because that’s the good food, the eggs, the milk, the dairy section.”

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Doctors say instead of stocking up on non-perishables at the grocery store, try buying meats and vegetables and freezing them.

Registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty said people can curb the desire to overeat by also addressing the emotional aspect of eating.

“Now is the time to start meditating. It can be like one minute of deep breathing. But the idea here is it dials down stress and it reduces impulsive eating. It puts you in better control of your food environment,” Cassetty said.

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Experts say maintaining a routine is a big part of building healthy habits.

“If you would meet friends for lunch or dinner, do that virtually. As much of pre-coronavirus routine that you can implement virtually, we want people to be doing that,” Fialk said.

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Experts also advise that people journal their food, sleep, and exercise daily to keep accountable and mindful of their overall health.