Everyone has found themselves stress eating at one point or another. The reality is that most of the times, it feels better to eat your favorite comfort food than deal with your anxious thoughts. While this feels great at the moment, at the end, you’ll find yourself in a food coma with unresolved problems. The emotional eating itself isn’t the main problem, but rather the things that follow. You’ll end up experiencing food guilt, additional stress and even physical discomfort.
Eliminating stress eating isn’t easy, but with a little help, it’s doable. We’re giving you the 5 things to do when you’re stress eating that has proven to be successful for nutrition pros.
Here are the 5 things you should do when find yourself stress eating:
1. Make an effort to plan every meal and snack
If you’re experiencing stressful days, make an effort to have scheduled meals and snacks on those days. Planning to eat your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks will keep you from mindlessly eating just because you’re feeling pressured.
2. Do a brain to belly scan
The best way to prevent emotional eating is to stop and check with your brain and body to see what’s been causing your hunger.
- Start with your brain: What kind of thoughts are you having? Do you find yourself eating even when you’re not hungry? If the answer is yes, don’t be too hard on yourself because it happens to everyone. Are you eating because you’re frustrated and anxious?
- Consider your emotions: What kind of mood are you in?
- Throat and stomach: Did you drink enough water? When was the last time you ate?
“Stopping and processing emotions before or during a nibble marathon can be the first step to intuitive eating enlightenment when you’re feeling cagey,” says Monica Auslender Moreno, RD, a nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition.
3. Keep your mouth busy
Sometimes, even after your long stress-relieving walk, you still find yourself nervous and wanting to eat, although you don’t feel a physiological hunger. Instead of grabbing your go-to stress snack, drink a cup of tea or chew a gum. Sometimes the sensation of putting something in your mouth will satisfy and calm your mind.
4. Don’t cut back on water and sleep
Sometimes people confuse being tired or dehydration with food craving. When you’re thirsty, your body will start relying on the stored sugar for energy and you’ll feel the need to eat something sweet, when in fact, all you need is water. Also, when you’re tired, you’ll grab an energy drink or some food, when in fact all you need is a good sleep. Make sure you drink enough water and get enough sleep.
5. Enjoy your snack- purposefully
If you turn to snacks in order to relieve stress, take a mini time out to experience a moment of honesty with yourself. Take a few deep breaths and try to discover what are those feelings that are making you stress eat.