5 Tips to Overcome Stress Eating
Stress eating is a thing. But that’s not the bad news. The bad news is that it slows your metabolism, which means it leads to weight gain.
In fact, in one study, some people were on track to gain about eleven pounds over the course of a year because stress slowed their metabolism by around 100 calories a day, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Of course, not everyone stress eats. Stress has the opposite effect on some people, causing them to lose their appetite. But regardless of whether you stress eat or not, relationships can be a huge source of stress, especially marriage!
If a relationship issue is filling you with stress and worry, please address it. Stress eating isn’t a healthy coping mechanism because it masks the problem. Besides weight gain, stress eating causes depression and low self-esteem, which makes any relationship problems worse.
So, if you’re one of those people who turn to comfort food when feeling stressed, this post is for you. Here are five tips to make stress eating a thing of the past by dealing with stress in healthier, more effective ways.
Healthy Fuel = Healthier Choices
Who doesn’t want to reach for cookies, candy, or chips when feeling overwhelmed by stress? The secret isn’t to eliminate all your favorite foods, though, because it only makes you want them more.
But try to eliminate some of your trigger foods by swapping them with healthier options. Reach for the healthier fuel when feeling stressed – or even before you feel stressed, as a way to lower your appetite and suppress cravings.
Or, you might try this next time you’re feeling stressed, give yourself permission to eat that cookie, or whatever it is, but promise yourself that you’ll eat something healthy first, like some almonds, or an apple, even a green drink. It tames your cravings and fills your stomach, causing you to eat less junk food.
Of course, the best choice is to avoid comfort food when feeling overwhelmed by stress and condition yourself to enjoy healthy fuel instead, which improves your overall health.
Celebrity trainer, Valerie Waters, says, “You’re only one workout away from a better mood.” She’s absolutely right.
Physical activity is known to boost mood up to four-six hours. When feeling stressed or depressed, physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Do whatever you enjoy. Workout. Go for a walk. Spend time in your garden. Wash the car. Just get moving!
Swap stress eating for 10 or 15 minutes of activity. You won’t regret it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity is one of the greatest stress-busters out there. It triggers a cascade of endorphins throughout your system. These feel-good neurotransmitters will change your mindset and mood.
Research confirms meditation is a potent tool for reducing stress, worry, anxiety, and depression. Meditation calms your mind and nervous system; it relaxes you. And all it takes is 5 minutes! You’ll feel so good that you’ll want to do it every day.
Don’t know where to start? Search YouTube, or download the therapist-recommended app Calm.
Instead of turning to stress-eating, try meditation next time you feel overwhelmed by worry and stress. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply as you meditate.
Engage Life. Live!
People don’t always eat because they’re stressed. Sometimes they eat because they’re bored.
The antidote to boredom is to engage life! Get out there and live! Buy some paint and paintbrushes. Take that flying lesson. Find a humanitarian cause in your town and volunteer! It doesn’t matter what it is – just get busy living your life! Get out there. Life doesn’t come to you. You have to engage life.
Visit a museum, learn a new language, make a friend on the other side of the world and learn about each other’s culture. Visit family or friends. Read a book. Remember, life doesn’t have to be boring. There’s beauty and opportunity all around.
It’s always nice to have a supportive social network during stressful times. People who are there for us. Encouraging us. Inspiring us. Reminding us that it’ll get better.
Reach for the phone and connect with a loved one the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress instead of reaching for junk food.
Or join a support group or consider finding a therapist, so you have someone to talk to. A therapist will help you identify your source of stress and your triggers and help you create an action plan for dealing with the situation.
Stress-eating is a choice. It’s more than a choice; it’s a powerful temptation because who doesn’t want to be comforted in moments of emotional pain? But is stress-eating really a source of “true” comfort?
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress and tempted to stress-eat, try one of these five tips to soothe your soul and be genuinely comforted.