Of all the unpleasant things you were expecting to deal with in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, a more pronounced muffin top probably wasn't one of them. But after a week of being cooped up inside with nothing but non-perishable food to eat (i.e., Halloween candy), a surprising number of people are complaining about "the Sandy 15" (yup, like the Freshman 15, with stress-eating and lack of fresh produce to blame instead of ... okay, pretty much exactly like the Freshman 15). Sheesh. Thanksalot, Sandy!
And you know what really sucks? According to the forecast, Sandy won't be the last "super storm" of the season -- this Wednesday, in fact, those of us on the East Coast are supposed to get slammed with a snowy Nor'easter. Sounds like a great excuse to hide under the covers with the last of those fun-size candy bars, right?
NOO!! Seriously, don't feel too bad if that's your gut reaction -- we're hardwired to pig out under stressful circumstances, ESPECIALLY boring stressful circumstances. Research shows that high-fat, high-carb foods can actually boost your mood (shocking, I know). Add that to the unhealthy nature of most pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods and you've got -- pardon the pun -- a perfect weight-gain storm.
Of course the fact that we're biologically inclined to binge in bad weather doesn't mean we should. So how do we stop ourselves next time around? Here are 5 ways to stay slim through any storm:
1. Get moving. There are tons of ways to stay active when you're stuck inside: Scrub the kitchen floor! Do laundry! Tackle that closet you've been meaning to reorganize! So what if none of those things are fun? Would you rather be fat? Go clean your house!
2. Stock up on healthy snacks. Hey, not everything good for you will go bad when the power is out. Apples stay crisp for a few days, dried fruits and nuts are healthier options than candy corn and potato chips. Other options: Rice cakes, whole grain cereals (skip the milk), granola bars (check the label).
3. Don't let buying in bulk make you bulk up. Sure, that 800-can pack of root beer is a deal, but you'll probably drink the whole dang thing before the sun comes out! Ditto on snack mixes and cookies and tons of other junk.
4. Keep things in perspective. Relax! This will only last a few days, not the whole winter. You don't have to go into hibernation mode like a big fat bear.
5. Channel repressed creativity. I bet there are tons of creative pursuits you wish you had time to pursue during the average week: Maybe you want to sketch or paint or write poems or make collages with your kids or pick up that old acoustic guitar ... do THAT stuff instead of drowning your sorrows in snack cakes.
Do you usually gain weight during big storms?
Image via Jeff Turner/Flickr