Have you ever found yourself reaching for a bag of cookies or chips after a stressful day? Do you wonder if there is any way to stop eating for comfort? In this blog we’ll be looking at 8 helpful tips to prevent stress eating.
Physical hunger is a good way of determining when we need to eat to refuel our bodies. However, stress eating, or emotional eating, has become the norm in many people’s lives today.
While it’s true that daily stress can cause our appetites to decrease, it’s also true that many people seek comfort in food during times of stress and anxiety. And it’s human nature to gravitate towards starchy, fatty, salty and sugary foods.
Stress eating can be defined as eating in an attempt to meet or stifle emotional needs. Thankfully, there are some simple but effective ways you can deal with emotional hunger.
Let’s explore 8 strategies you can use to avoid eating for comfort when you’re stressed out.
1. Question Your Stress
Ask yourself, “What am I so stressed about?”. Is your stress coming from something you can change?
Make a list of steps you could take to reduce the stress in your life and find stress management techniques that work for you. If the stress in your life is not easily changed, perhaps seek out a professional who can help you find better coping mechanisms.
2. Keep A Food Diary
A food diary is one of the simplest ways to keep track of what you are eating. You can use our free Diet & Lifestyle Tracker to keep track of your diet and health. By doing this you will be able to see if there is a pattern emerging and you can make healthier diet and lifestyle choices in light of what you learn.
For example, if at 3:15pm everyday you eat a candy bar, followed by a doughnut, ask yourself why you are eating those “food” items at that time each day? You can add as much detail to your food diary as you like – for instance, you can add the cost, how you felt before and after eating, and possible healthier alternatives.
3. Eat Mindfully
Eating mindfully involves consciously focusing on your food and the emotions and sensations you feel while you eat. This could include planning your meals ahead of time, taking a few moments before each meal to give thanks, eating without distractions, and paying attention to how you feel while you eat.
4. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Many people begin diets or healthier lifestyles with every intention of gaining health or losing weight, and yet sometimes they fall short of their goals.
If this happens, just acknowledge you had a temporary setback, learn from your experiences, and move ahead to resume your healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
5. Treat Yourself
When you reach a goal you have set for yourself on your health journey, you could treat yourself to something special.
And it doesn’t have to be a food related treat. Maybe you could treat yourself to those shoes you’ve had your eye on or that book you’ve been dying to read.
6. Clear Out The Cupboards
Sometimes stress eating is a vicious cycle. We are stressed so we seek comfort in quick, easily accessible foods, which in turn can leave us stressed out by poor choices, leading to more poor food choices, and the cycle goes on.
The answer to this can be as simple as removing unhealthy foods and anything that would be considered a temptation from your cupboards, fridge, and other areas you keep snack foods.
7. Choose Healthier Snack Options
Instead of going to the candy and chip aisles to choose your snacks, you could check out the fresh or health food sections or make your own healthy snacks.
Kale chips, fresh fruit, chopped vegetables, air-popped popcorn, energy bites, trail mix, and dips such as hummus, guacamole, as well as spinach & artichoke dips are some easy-to-make healthy snack options.
8. Get Enough Regular Exercise
In addition to its many other benefits, regular exercise can help regulate mood, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve self-esteem. So next time you feel stressed out, get up and start moving. The most important thing is to find exercises that work for you and fit in with your lifestyle.
Make A Change
Even though sometimes it may feel like it, the truth is you are never alone. If you are a stress eater and you want support in this area of your life, you could begin by sharing your struggles with a supportive family member or friend or you could see if there is a local support group that you could attend.
You can also join our Plant-Based Success Group on Facebook for support and encouragement, healthy whole food recipes, and help on your journey to better health.
To recap, here are eight tips that can help you avoid stress eating.
Take a screenshot and keep it as a reference or print it out and use it as a guide.
If you need help identifying which areas of your health need improving, you can download a free copy of our Healthy Living Wheel.
RESOURCES & FURTHER INFO
- A study on emotional eating and weight regulation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137864/
- Read our blog 5 Quick Tips To Relieve Stress & Relax at https://www.replenishhealth.net/5-tips-relax-relieve-stress/
- Read our blog Could Reading Be The Ultimate Stress Reducer at https://www.replenishhealth.net/could-reading-be-the-ultimate-stress-reducer/
- Read our blog Top Tips For Mindful Eating at https://www.replenishhealth.net/top-tips-for-mindful-eating/
- View our ever-growing recipe section for plant-based gluten-free food ideas at https://www.replenishhealth.net/recipes/
- Read our blog 10 Tips To Get Motivated To Exercise at https://www.replenishhealth.net/10-tips-to-get-motivated-to-exercise/