The Best Ways To Stop Stress Eating

May 10, 2016 by Sarah (Day Styles)

Have you ever noticed that you will turn to food for comfort after a tough conversation or stressful situation? This is stress eating (or emotional eating), and it happens to the best of us. “Stress eating usually happens when we want to disconnect from the moment. It’s like changing the channel in our brain to try to change how we feel,” explains Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietician. However, when we don’t control stress eating it can lead to serious problems. Here are some great ways to be more mindful of what you eat, and avoid stress eating.

Comfort Yourself

Emotional eating provides a seemingly simple way to feel better about a stressful situation - it’s almost like a release. Overeating has a numbing effect when you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel. But we need to break out of this bad habit! Don’t abandon yourself when emotions get high, but allow the emotions to work the course and embrace them as best as you can. If you approach your feelings with compassion and care, you won’t feel the same impulse to overeat, your body’s way of protecting itself from your feelings.

Maintain Joy

Always keep pleasure a priority in your life. Do the little things that bring you joy: have a bubble bath, go for a massage, or spend some time with a close friend. Give yourself other ways to experience happiness aside from eating. The next time you find yourself binge-eating, force yourself to slow down and really enjoy every bite of your meal instead. Enjoy the food rather than the consumption. Emotional eating is just your body’s way of trying to experience a release from pain or stress, so when you allow yourself to feel genuine happiness when you eat you accomplish the same goal, and you won’t binge as much.

Eat When You’re Hungry

People who have a problem with stress eating tend to eat even though they aren’t hungry, which only makes them want to eat even more because your body is confused. Eat normally and carefully when you are genuinely hungry and opt to eat clean and nutritious foods. Doing so will teach your body that you’re not in starvation mode, so it won’t store food as fat and will use it for fuel instead.

Know Your Triggers

When you find yourself binging, try and understand what caused you to eat in the first place. Once you know what your triggers are, strategize a solution that doesn’t require emotional eating. Stress eating is your body’s response to feeling deprived, so pick a new way of nourishing yourself. Keep healthy foods in your house and fridge and schedule yourself full of fun and exciting things to do, just make sure to set aside time to relax and unwind.

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