5 Strategies To Overcome Stress Eating
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
You’ve had a rough day. You come home, kick off your shoes, and the first thing you find yourself opening is the fridge. Or perhaps you open the freezer, reaching for a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Either way, you may be attempting to self-soothe yourself with bad habits. Stress eating is common during difficult times, such as coping with divorce. Here are a few strategies to help you quit stress eating for good.
Understand Why You Stress Eat: The first step in combatting stress eating is to understand why and when you are doing it. Do you grab for a bag of potato chips after an argument with family members or your soon-to-be ex? Do you reach for that candy bar in the back of your desk drawer after an especially stressful meeting at work? Are you feeling starved before bed because of the bad dinner choices you are making? Pinpointing the scenarios that lead you to stress eat is the first important step to overcoming it.
Make Better Choices Accessible: The next step is to substitute sugary, fatty treats with healthy snacks at regular intervals throughout the day. Bring a well-insulated lunchbox to work to keep items with high-protein and fiber on hand when cravings strike. Yogurt, string cheese, nuts, nut butter or cheese on whole grain crackers, cut vegetables with hummus, and fresh fruit are all excellent options that will keep your hunger satisfied. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry at home of any junk foods, and put nutritious options at eye-level so you’ll instinctively reach for them first over other unhealthy choices. Plan a healthy dinner menu for the week incorporating easy tools like a slow cooker. You should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Change Your Bad Habits: Overcoming stress eating means doing more than just changing your diet. Not only does your kitchen need an overhaul, but your reaction to stress does as well. Find something that helps to relax and calm you, such as taking a walk, taking a bath, doing yoga exercises, watching a favorite television show, or reading a book. Put a note on the refrigerator that lists several different activities you can do instead of opening the door. Chances are the urge to snack will subside one you distract yourself from your craving, and give yourself time to deal with the emotion you are facing.
Enlist The Help Of A Friend: When it comes to stress eating, breaking the habit will be easier if you have a support system in place. Seek out trustworthy friends or family members who are struggling with bad habits of their own. Create a pact where you agree that if one of you has the urge to cheat, you’ll call each other instead. Having an empathetic partner on your side can help you to stay aligned with your goals. Also, consider finding an online support group. Building a community of friends who understand what you are going through can be a lifesaver!
Think Long Term: When you get the impulse to “eat something now” in order to feel better, stop and think about the long term. Stress eating can eventually lead to health problems, such as a heart attack or diabetes. Coping with divorce is stressful. Eating foods that are bad for you can make stress even worse. However, breaking a bad habit is possible. Stay in control of your life and plan healthier alternatives ahead of time. The time to change your diet and to begin your new life is now!
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