Stress eating is common these days, and even more common when you’re stuck at home, when you’ve lost a job, and when you’re going through an unusually tough time. Here are our best tips for getting yourself out of a rut and back on track to achieving your goals. First, let’s understand exactly what stress eating is.
Stress Eating is an Emotional Response
When we stress eat, we’re trying to use food to solve an emotional problem. However, unless the problem is your appetite it will only provide temporary comfort. The problem is compounded when the guilt from overeating results in even more stress eating. So how do you solve it?
Allow yourself to stress eat. It’s strange advice, but this is necessary. First, you need to feel okay with it in order to avoid the associated guilt; but secondly, you need to pay attention to when you’re stress eating so that you can discover what is triggering it?
Is it something that happens right before? Is it a particular thought? A particular time? A particular human interaction? In most cases it shouldn’t take too long to figure it out. Look for patterns, and once you arrive at a conclusion withhold judgment from yourself.
Change One More Bite to One More Set
To stop stress eating, you need to rewire your response to the negative stimuli and replace it with something else. Drink a glass of water, take your dog for a walk, take some deep breaths, write in your journal, or of course, get some exercise.
Make the activity something easy, so that you can confidently carry out the rewarding task to get the stress off your mind. If you choose a task that’s difficult, it’s going to keep you from getting out of your stressful state. Make it as easy to do as possible, for example keep your journal handy and within reach so it remains extremely accessible.
Once you’ve begun building your new habits, keep track of each time you use them so that you’re able to have a record of “small wins” as a visual reminder of your progress in overcoming your stress eating habit.
Everyone has Comfort Food
Don’t stress out. About one third of Americans stress eat regularly. It’s something almost everyone deals with at one time or another in their lives, but the solutions are always very similar. The worst thing you could do is to ignore your stress, but with a little thought and change of habit now you should be able to nip it in the bud.
There’s a reason it’s called “comfort food.” Remember that it’s okay to stress eat from time to time. It’s just that in this particular instance your response to the stressor became a bad habit. Sometimes you need a break, and it isn’t wrong to sit down and relax with some food or a drink. Stress never lasts forever, it ebbs and flows – and before long things will almost certainly be back to normal.
There are more than enough useful resources across the internet including a good amount of articles published on psychology today by experts such as Shainna Ali. For more information on dealing with stress, keep checking back on our blog for more information and resources on how to manage stress.