Stress Eating: How To Deal With It Effectively
After a hard day at work, it’s easy to let the stress lead you right into your kitchen.
Dealing with stress eating is very important for your health. Let me share a short story…
Sally’s day had not gone well. She had been looking forward to it all week and then, things just suddenly went south. Her boss pressured her for hours, pushing to get her work done before the deadline and Sally didn’t feel like she could do anything but give up.
All Sally wanted was a little bit of relief from this whole situation, so she grabbed a few chocolate cookies that were sitting on the coffee table next to her laptop while reading an article about “How To Deal With Stress Eating”. The sound of crunching brought her back to reality as she read through tips such as deep breathing exercises or simply distracting yourself with something else.
There was also one tip that stood out more than any other…
After a hard day at work, it’s easy to let the stress lead you right into your kitchen. But, there are healthier ways of dealing with that stressful situation? Want to find out how?
Stress eating can happen to anyone during any kind of event or occasion. Stressful eating happens when someone turns towards food for comfort in difficult situations and maybe emotionally eating as well. This isn’t healthy because emotional overeating will cause weight gain, depression, and low self-esteem which doesn’t help anything but only worsen things even more!
It might seem like these stresses won’t end but they do eventually become easier over time. Many of us have been in a similar situation, so don’t worry about being alone in this tough journey either!
What are the effects of stress eating?
If stress eating is done on a regular basis, it can lead to weight gain and other health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. As I’ve learned from personal experience, this not only causes you more emotional pain but impacts your physical state as well!
When we eat in response to fear-inducing emotions such as anger, anxiety or sadness, our brains release serotonin which creates feelings of relaxation during the process. It becomes our “comfort food”.
These acts might seem harmless at first glance; however, after continuing these habits over time they cause an addiction that leads us into depression and feeling bad about ourselves. It’s important for everyone with any type of problem caused by overeating, physical or mental, to take steps toward getting better now before things get worse
Learn more ways of how you can deal with stress eating and stress.
1 – Stop stress eating with the correct food choices
The first tip to stop stressful eating is simply to eat healthy food. In times of stress, we tend to seek comfort in junk foods such as chips, chocolate, and candy because they are sweet or salty. But, this can make us end up overeating.
To avoid unhealthy snacking habits you should create a meal diary that records the time at which you last ate something. It will help determine exactly what your trigger food might be so that next time you’re stressed out from work, instead of reaching towards ice cream (which could lead to an extra 500 calories!) try some fresh fruit!
You don’t want to eliminate all of your favorite foods because this will only tempt you more. But what you do want to do is make healthier food choices, by swapping out some of the junkier takeout for these healthy alternatives. Try investing in large batches so that snacks are always on hand!
By eliminating the temptation altogether, you’ll feel better AND be able to maintain a more balanced diet without feeling like you’re missing out on anything important or special from it.
To stop stress eating with the correct food choices, stress needs to be dealt with first. You need a healthy stress release that doesn’t make you gain weight or become depressed! Stress relief methods include talking to friends and family, exercising, or meditating. These are all things that will help bring your stress levels down so it doesn’t feel like an impossible task anymore.
2 – Exercise can help relieve stress so you don’t overeat
Don’t let yourself succumb to negative thoughts. When people are stressed they find themselves feeling depressed and overwhelmed which in turn makes them more anxious than before. Exercising helps with managing stress levels so take a jog through the park, go walk around town and just enjoy being outside if at all possible. Research has shown natural light can have a positive effect on our moods too.
Exercise has been found in many studies that it benefits overall health as well as helping fight off depression by releasing those “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins into our system.
The more we move around, the better it is when exercising. All this action and movement leads to increased production of these helpful brain chemicals which has a lasting effect on how we deal with stressful situations throughout life’s journey!
Exercise can help relieve stress so you don’t overeat. Making healthier food choices, and getting enough sleep will also be helpful in recovering from stress.
3 – Meditation can help relieve stress eating
Meditation is a powerful tool for reducing stress levels and helping you to relax. It doesn’t matter how long you spend meditating, just that it gets done every day!
The benefits are incredible, lowering your anxiety level or depression symptoms by calming the mind which in turn reduces cortisol production, our stress hormone.
Meditation also improves focus and concentration while increasing mental clarity. All these benefits happen when we take just 5-10 minutes each day from our busy schedules to calm down with meditation. Not too hard right?
If you’re feeling stressed, download the app Calm. This has been recommended by many therapists to help with stress, and is a healthy alternative to eating. So instead of snacking on junk food when anxious or upset, use this new strategy for releasing stress.
Through this app, you can find relaxation techniques that will help relieve your stress and anxiety. This has been found to be very effective for people who are dealing with compulsive overeating because it provides a healthy outlet instead of eating!
4 – Learn how to prevent boredom so you don’t reach for food and overeat
One way to avoid stress-induced snacks is by implementing things in your everyday life that take up time. You can go get some art supplies at the local art store and paint, draw or try out pottery. You could knit clothing for yourself or someone else.
Not interested in those? Try writing a journal or a novel. Take up a musical instrument, or learn to sing. Some of these activities are great if they have a therapeutic value so it’s something intangible but still beneficial on top of being entertaining.
You may have to make up for the lack of spontaneity in your life with creativity. Here are some ideas on how you can fill that void. Take a course at a local college, visit an art gallery, learn about something new online, read more books than usual or go out and explore different neighborhoods!
If stress eating has taken over your life and you feel like you can’t get out of it, take a step back. Start by making small changes to make stress eating less desirable for yourself.
Put healthy snacks in convenient places at home so that they’re the first things you see when going into the kitchen or walk past them on a counter. Leave a healthy snack at your office desk, like an apple or banana and when stress eating starts up again, find something else to do instead of going to the kitchen.
5 – Find helpful support from family or friends to overcome stress eating
Sometimes when we’re dealing with tough times, it can be difficult to go on. That’s why in order to get through those rough patches and overcome stress eating, calling a friend or family member is an excellent option. Plus, if you join a support group or sign up for therapy while you are at it, this will help even more, as I said before.
If you join a support group you can find people who are dealing with the same issues as you and can offer their experience. The energy of being surrounded by others on your mission is empowering, giving you hope for what’s possible in the future. This way, those hard times will be a little bit easier to get through!
I’m sure you’ve experienced this personally before. The feeling of stress and anxiety that builds up to an overwhelming amount is like nothing else in the world. That’s why it can be so tough for some people to break their habit of overeating when they are stressed.
These tips can help you stay on top of your stress and eating habits.
Put all these tips into action as soon as possible, ideally starting today. This way when one day turns bad for whatever reason, you’ll have a plan already in place to get back up again instead of succumbing to an unhealthy meal or snack choice that will only compound the problem further down the road.
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