Handy tips to help you stop stress eating and opt for healthier ways to cope with the ways of the new normal.
Human beings are emotional in nature. Emotions such as anger, sadness, and anxiety, though prevalent these days, can trigger unhealthy behaviors, like stress eating. While it’s normal to turn to food for comfort and satisfaction, stress binge can be more harmful than you think. It can lead to weight gain, feelings of guilt and other mental health concerns.
So before you open that bag of chips or go for another round of pantry raid, read on to learn strategies on how to curb stress eating more effectively. You’re welcome!
Listen To Your Body
The first step to prevent stress binge is to understand why it’s happening in the first place. Due to the nature of the current situation, you might be compelled to overeat out of stress or boredom. But before you open the refrigerator (for the third time!) or whip out food delivery apps, ask yourself: “Am I really THAT hungry?”
Pay attention to what your body tells you. True hunger is often indicated by a growling stomach, headache or loss of energy. Try rating your hunger level too. It’s easy to delve into mindless stress-eating but being more self-aware helps you recognise your motivator. By mere evaluation of the situation, it can lead you to make smart food choices.
Once you identify what causes you to stress binge, you can set healthy systems to cope. To say that we’re under stressful conditions is an understatement. As such, we’re likely to indulge ourselves with our favorite comfort food. But, you can replace stress-eating with a positive action like exercising.
Always make time for physical activity, even if you’re not able to go back to the gym. Don’t underestimate smaller, gentler movements, too! It can be as simple as hourly stretches or climbing up and down the stairs. Exercising releases endorphins which helps manage anxiety and reduce stress. The key is to keep your blood pumping.
Don’t Skip Meals
The most basic way to prevent stress eating is to never deprive yourself of food. Most of the time, being overly restrictive with food intake or consuming less calories per meal can lead to stress binge. Try to be consistent with your meal schedule. What’s the point of skipping breakfast and lunch only to eat a day’s worth of food come dinner time? If you’re used to eating three times a day, then maintain it. Just make sure you’re eating healthy, with the right proportions and at the right time.
Choose Healthier Alternatives
For those who are still working from home, it’s difficult to stay out of the kitchen. Stock up on healthy snacks instead to regulate your hunger until the next meal. The visual and taste appeal of a jar of cookies or candy, for example, can trigger stress binge. Research shows that frequent consumption of processed food can increase levels of stress hormone cortisol.
Swap your usual potato chips with nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, and dry-roasted sunflower seeds are packed with protein and healthy fats, although it would be best to consume them in moderation. Instead of ice cream, opt for non-fat Greek yoghurt. You can always elevate its taste by adding fruits. Veggies are great snack options as well! Pair it with almond butter or hummus. The options are literally endless!
Reach Out For Help
If you’re struggling to keep your stress binge under control, you’re not alone! It’s now more than ever that we need to surround ourselves with a healthy support system. Let out all your emotions and communicate them with those you love and trust. It’s tough to face a battle alone, so best to keep your family and friends close.
If you often feel guilt or shame over your stress eating habits, seek professional help. Talking to a therapist, for example, can help improve your relationship with food, all while getting your emotional well-being in check. These professionals can recommend a personalised approach for you so you won’t feel added pressure. Good luck, y’all!