How To Stop Stress Eating And Ways To Manage It

 Do you often find yourself eating lots of snacks at midnight or even at work?

Watching Netflix and having popcorn is fine but when you eat just because you are bored is not!

People who have a habit of accessing food when stressed or bored are known as "emotional eaters." 

emotional eating junk
source: freepik

Emotional eating or stress eating refers to running towards either something spicy or a desert to get comfort. Sometimes we are physically full, yet we crave to eat something and, this happens when we are emotionally struggling from something.

 After you satisfy your soul by eating a tub of snacks, you may feel guilty or ashamed of yourself and, as a result, you gain weight.

So, stress eating not only makes you overweight but also suggests that you have something going on in your mind.

Are you an Emotional Eater?

Ask yourself these questions to find out if you are an emotional eater:

  • Do you eat something spicy to reduce your anxiety?
  • Do you feel great after having lots of food?
  • Do you continue eating after your first burp?
  • Do you think food is your friend as you always feel good after having something?
  • Do you reward yourself with food after achieving something?

What causes the Emotional Eating Cycle?

Whenever you have any food cravings, you immediately rush to cool it down. But do you know why this happens? Why you have the sudden urge to eat everything?

I often find myself craving something spicy to beat my stress, anxiety, and tension. While others may feel relief having a desert full of sugar and sweet. Everyone is a different type of stress eater. While occasionally picking a snack to eliminate boredom is fine. However, when stress eating becomes your habit, it can cause you more health problems.

This emotional eating cycle starts from your feeling of sadness and, you have this urge to eat something for self-satisfaction but, you end up feeling guilty or ashamed of over-eating.

food items for emotional eating

Strategies to Manage Stress Eating 

You can stop being a stress-eater and change your lifestyle into a healthy and positive one by using these simple strategies. They are:

1.  Identify the cause behind emotional eating-

As soon as you find yourself craving for a specific type of food or snack, take a pause and find the root of this situation. Ask yourself- Why do I want to eat this food only? Check if something is bothering you? Are you stressed, worried, facing anxiety? Reflect and think if you are actually hungry or you only need food to calm your negative emotions. 
When you identify your eating habits and become aware, you will start ignoring the unhealthy food and shift towards healthy ones.

2. Shift to the right over comfort-

Before you reach a tub of ice cream or start opening packets of nachos, take a moment and wonder if this is what you want? Consuming junk once in a while is fine, but when you include it in your lifestyle, it causes obesity and other health problems.
Instead of loading yourself with unnecessary carbs and fats, switch towards those food groups that are enriched in vitamins and minerals and also boost our immunity. Such as chickpeas, raw seeds, fruits & vegetables, fish, chicken, etc.

3. Water is a problem-solution-

Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is another way of staying far away from stress-eating. Have you ever wondered your mood is off but without any specific reason? Well, this happens when we are not hydrated enough. 
Water is the solution to almost 70% of problems. Be it skin, hair, or any other internal problem, water is the solution for every difficulty. 
If you are bored of drinking plain water, why not add different ingredients to it to make it tasty? You can always go for herbal teas, smoothies, and lemon water to make your drinking habit fun and enjoyable.

4. Deal with your emotions-

Usually, we don't like sitting with our feelings and addressing them. So to avoid being in a negative state, we replace them with emotional eating. 
Dealing with your emotions can be scary, but you can achieve a peaceful state of mind with a guided meditation or breathing technique. You can also find some relaxation techniques that can help you cope up and face the emotions you are going through. 
You can also read this article, this can guide you to remain calm even with a busy schedule.

5. Follow a healthy lifestyle- 

It's easy for someone to grab some snacks out of their kitchen when they have already filled up their home with junk food. In some cases, when people can't resist eating something, they even order online. So to prevent yourself from overeating anything wrong, you should start following a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet will not allow you to pick up junk when stressed but something healthy.
Usually, people think a healthy lifestyle is hard to maintain because they only have to eat healthy options throughout their life. But when you stock your kitchen with filling foods like whole-grain pasta, whole grain bread, oats, fruits, and other healthy items, you will not binge into unhealthy food items.

6. Distract yourself-

The best way to stop eating unhealthy is by focusing on other things.
The moment you find yourself craving something specific, tap onto other things that can make you feel relaxed and calm.
Distracting yourself on things like listening to music, going for a walk, and even drinking a big glass of water can stop you from eating emotionally.
Therefore, preoccupy your mind with something else to prevent yourself from stress eating.

Final Words

Indulging yourself in comfort foods is fine until you make it a pattern because stress eating can cause you various health problems both physically and mentally.
These strategies can definitely prevent from being an emotional eater. So start implementing them in your daily life and see how your life changes.

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