6 Sure-Fire Solutions for Stress Eating
Do you often find yourself reaching for food as a source of comfort when stressed or anxious? You may be stress eating. Stress eating is defined as the urge to lean on food as a comfort mechanism during times of psychological distress. Regardless of whether you are feeling stressed, anxious or sad, it is not uncommon to use food as a crutch. In most cases, people choose unhealthy foods when they are using it as a tool for comfort. This is what makes emotional eating particularly dangerous when it happens on a regular basis.
Some people are more likely to stress eat than others, depending on how they react to negative stimuli. Emotional eating is also often repetitive, making it a difficult habit to break.
How to Mitigate Stress Eating
It is not unusual to feel shame after a bout of stress eating. Some stress eaters also report feeling powerless to control the urge to reach for food during times of distress. However, there are things that you can do to help to break this cycle of needless eating. Here are a few ways to mitigate the urge to dive into a bag of potato chips or cookies next time you're feeling a little on edge.
Keep Healthy Foods on Hand
While you may not always be able to control the feelings that trigger stress eating, you can certainly control what you put into your mouth. Keeping plenty of healthy foods on hand will ensure that you do not wreck your plans for nutritional eating when the urge strikes.
Be sure to keep an abundance of fresh veggies and fruit ready to eat in your refrigerator. Even snacks such as vegetable chips or nuts can satisfy an urge while still providing nutrients. You will feel less guilt and shame if you nosh on foods that are good for you when you are looking to ease stress and anxiety.
Have Alternative Behaviors in Place
Another great way to mitigate the chance that you will reach for food as an emotional reaction is to develop alternative behaviors. For example, perhaps you could lace up your tennis shoes and go for a quick walk around the block when the urge to eat mindlessly happens. Or maybe your alternative behavior could be to call a friend to catch up. The goal is to find healthier habits to replace the emotional eating. Physical activity is especially helpful because of the feel-good endorphins that the body releases when you work up a sweat.
Be Aware of Your Body
Having a healthy body awareness can go a long way in helping you to avoid eating out of emotion. When you feel the need to eat may be an emotional reaction, try taking a deep breath or focusing on the little movements of your body.
Being aware of your body and being intentionally present in the moment can help you to get in touch with your feelings and address them as needed. Rather than masking the emotion through food, lean into what you are feeling so that you can address it directly.
Nourish Your Body
How your brain reacts to negative stimuli is often dependent on how well your body is being nourished. Giving your body the nutrients it needs will help to prevent binge eating. The building blocks of a healthy diet include a rainbow of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. This practice also means that you should not skip meals. Skipping meals will make it more likely that you engage in emotional eating when you feel distressed.
Make Sleep a Priority
If you are not making sleeping a priority in your life, there is a good chance that you will engage in emotional eating as a crutch. Fatigue can lead to increased hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods. By improving your sleeping habits, you will train your body to better deal with the emotions that often trigger stress eating.
Lean on Supplements
One of the bests ways to mitigate emotional eating is to identify and treat what is causing you to feel stressed or anxious. Treating the stress eating at its root will help you to control the urges in the future. For some people, the use of supplements may be helpful in soothing stress. A supplement such as Serochron helps you to maintain a positive mood, helps to protect against stress-related burnout, supports good sleep habits and encourages a healthy appetite. By supporting healthy levels of serotonin in the brain, Serochron can help you to naturally keep stress and anxiety under control so that emotional eating does not become habitual.
It is important to remember that stress eating is not in the same field as struggling with a full-blown eating disorder. By employing these tips, you can help to reduce the odds that you find yourself in a cycle of needless eating simply because you are feeling distressed.