Stress Eating In Stressful Times

April 1, 2009

stressedoutStress is everywhere….my client just lost three family members, my accountant is afraid he won’t get the taxes done on time, my friend just lost her job, and I’m planning a wedding! It seems like almost everyone is under some kind of stress. Many people manage their stress with food. After all, food can provide pleasure; soothe pressure and distress; and fill a void. But, overtime, overeating can cause weight gain, which is often associated with other conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Here are some tips to controlling stress-related eating:

1. Become aware of the behavior. Without being aware, you can’t change..right? To do this, start by being more mindful when you eat. Ask yourself…”Am I hungry?” or think about why you’re eating.

2. If you find yourself grabbing for food when you’re not hungry, try to wait 15 – 30 minutes to eat and see if that changes your desire for food.

eating-on-the-run3. Try eating only when seated and not on the run, in the car, while working, or any other activity. This will help to keep you more focused on eating.

4. Keep a food record. Look for trends in your eating. This will not only help you to remember what you ate, but also it will help you to think before you eat. Plus, you may realize if you are overeating.

5. Eat regularly and consistently. The more routine your eating pattern is, the less unintentional or erratic eating will take place. Also, eating regularly, keeps your energy and blood glucose levels steady, which can help with managing stress.

6. Keep low calorie, healthful foods available; get rid of tempting foods. If your tendency is to put something in your mouthstress when you’re stressed, try eating cut up vegetables or fruits to occupy your mouth without affecting your waist.

7. Exercise. Try to take a walk, ride your bike, or practice yoga INSTEAD of eating to cope with stress. Even if it is only 5 minutes…that amount of time will give you a chance to pause and think instead of reacting to a stressful situation. Also, a regular exercise routine can keep stress levels down.

8. Don’t feel guilty if you DO overeat. This will most likely lead to more stressful eating and then the cycle begins again….

9. If nothing else works, talk to someone…a family member, friend, psychologist, or nutritionist.

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