Five tips to help you interrupt stress or emotional eating
Here's the deal... stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's your body's way of letting you know that something is off (whatever that may be).
The struggle lies in how you deal with stress. One of the most common ways people deal with stress is with food. That can involve intense cravings, bingeing or overeating, taking extreme control over eating, or avoiding eating altogether.
Food is something that is easy to control. When your life feels out of control and you feel stressed, it is easy to turn to food to find something that you can control.
Food can also feel like it has power over you when you are stressed. Maybe you start to crave certain foods when you are stressed or in other situations, and it feels like you have to have that food to satisfy your craving and relieve your stress.
The month of April is Stress Awareness Month, so I decided it would be a fabulous time to share some tips to help you interrupt stress or emotional eating. These five tips can help you make choices to help you relieve stress that doesn't involve bingeing or feeling a loss of control.
What can you do to interrupt the negative pattern of stress eating (or not eating)? Lucky for you, here are five tips to help:
Tips to Stop Stress Eating
Identify Your Triggers
Notice what the triggers are for you. They are different for everyone.
What causes you to crave food? What are the signs that lead you to want food to soothe you?
It's important to remember that it could be something big or subtle. Something as significant as loss & grief or something as simple as being bored or procrastinating.
Take a moment to figure out what your patterns are and bringing acceptance to them.
What patterns do you have? How could you bring acceptance to those patterns instead of more stress. When you are tempted to beat yourself up for being "out of control" or bingeing, notice what happened -- what brought about the binge or craving, what habits you have, etc.
Pause and look for the alternative to the situation.
What could you do instead of stress eating? What are your alternatives? Give yourself some space to notice what those alternatives could be.
These could be food choices as well as non-food related. These include going to food but not binging; going to a non-food activity; choosing to eat or not.
Create a Happy List
Make a list of all the things that you can do to take care of yourself.
What ways can you cope with stress? What else is there? Can you expand your coping list to be more than food? You can leave food on it but expand it.
What are some other ways you can take care of yourself? What are some other ways to distract yourself?
Create pleasure in your life that doesn't only involve food.
Enjoy What You've Chosen
Take pleasure in what you choose to do to help relieve the stress.
If you've chosen to eat, take the time to enjoy what you eat instead of mindlessly shoveling it into your mouth. If you've chosen something else, try to be in the moment and notice that it's bringing you joy.
When you take the chance to be present and notice the relief you are getting from what you've chosen, it will reinforce in your brain that food/stress/cravings do not have power over you. You have alternatives. You have choices. And you are fully capable of making choices that are best for you at that time.