Stress Eating And Ways To Help Manage It
When under stress, we tend to binge eat. This makes us feel better, gives us a much-needed pick-me-up, and serves as a reward for good behavior. The foods we usually reach for are those calorically dense, salty, sweet, high-fat foods that taste wonderful but don’t do our waist lines any good. Then come the guilty feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment, leading to negative thoughts about ourselves.
While we can’t make this time of year any less stressful, being aware of this is the first step in helping to avoid this type of eating. The second step is to understand that this type of eating (emotional eating) is completely okay to do every now and then. Try these other ways to avoid emotional eating:
- Find other outlets. Go for a walk, take a quick nap, read a chapter from a good book. Get your mind off of the stress even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Pause for 5 minutes. Once the craving hits, wait 5 minutes before deciding to reach for the chips or ice cream. If you have thought about the necessity of eating that particular food and have thought about the potential consequences and still want that food, then go for it.
- Support other healthy habits. Getting a good night’s rest, exercising regularly, and eating healthily can reduce stress in general, tamping down on those cravings before they start.
- Portion control. Sometimes we just need the fatty, salty, sweet snack foods we crave. Pre-portion out a single serving in sandwich bags or keep just one or two bite-sized pieces of dark chocolate on hand.
- Keep healthier alternatives on hand. Don’t buy the unhealthy snacks to begin with. Keep lower calorie options on hand that still taste good such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip, or unbuttered popcorn.