These 7 Tips on How to Stop Stress Eating come from years of emotional eating and weight fluctuations, and how I was able to become more of a mindful eater and how my relationship with food has changed.
Stress Eating: Why it Happens
Stress eating is something I am very familar with. After a long stressful day, an argument with a loved one, or just because I wanted to, food would comfort me. It was always there for me when I needed it, I mean I saw it in my waistline, it was ALWAYS there.
According to this article by Dr. Mark Hyman, processed foods filled with sugar and salt are biologically addictive. These foods play on the reward center of the brain, who wouldn’t feel better when mom came home from the grocery store with a pint of ice cream?
When you start to understand that the addictive nature of processed foods and how they overwhelm our hunger signal, you start to understand the process of emotional eating. The problems begin when we get caught up in a cycle.
As I started my weight loss journey and looked at the food I ate, I also had to take a good hard look at the foods I was eating to comfort my emotions. For me (and I’m guessing many others) it was always carb heavy foods. The foods we tend to overeat when we are stressed out or emotional are also the ones that are easy to overeat in one sitting (chips anyone?).
7 Tips on How to Stop Stress Eating
One of the main ways to overcome stress eating starts with mindset. Approach it with a mindset that works for you is the first step in changing your relationship with food.
I will tell you from personal experience that cold turkey does not work. Being able to approach stress eating from a place of compassion, instead of a place of deprivation, is the first place to start.
Here are some of the tips that helped me and continue to help me to this day:
One of the most important things I’ve learned not only with food but with life in general is to do everything mindfully and in the present moment. When your living in the past or the future, your taking away your power of the here and now. Before reaching for chips for comfort, stop and take in a deep breath through your nose for a count of three, hold your breath for a count of three, and breathe out through your mouth as slowly as possible (putting your lips together like your drinking through a straw). Repeat until you are able to bring your focus back to the present moment.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your hungry, tired or just thirsty. Treat yourself to a nice lemon water or cup of tea.
If you have chips or other foods that can be overeaten easily, portion them out into sandwich bags and only grab one a day (I know it’s hard to stick to just one, but this is where the mindfulness comes in)
How are some of the ways you deal with emotional eating?