Health

How to stop yourself from stress eating

Learn all about the healthy process for stopping yourself from stress eating, including how to identify that behavior and a list of things you can do when your stress levels start rising.

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Turning to food in moments of stress is more common than you think. Here’s how to deal with it.

stress eating
Learn how to identify and stop stress eating. Source: Adobe Stock.

Stress eating is a common behavior seen in people who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. It involves eating unhealthy amounts of food without paying attention to the effects it can have on your health.

When stress is present, cravings for sugar, processed foods, and other comfort foods tend to increase. Not only can emotional eating contribute to undesirable weight gain, but it can also make stress more difficult to manage down the line.

Eating foods that aren’t generally part of a balanced diet in response to stressful situations can form bad habits and interfere with normal body functions like digestion, metabolism and sleep patterns. 

For those looking to break this unhealthy cycle, there are several solutions available – it just takes the right knowledge and effort. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify if your eating habits are connected to stress and some strategies you can use to reduce these cravings.

So read on to start becoming more mindful around food and learn how you can beat stress eating once and for all!

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Why does stress eating happen?

Stress eating is a common phenomenon where stressful situations triggers people to eat, often junk food. It is caused by the hormone cortisol, which sends signals to the brain that make us crave comfort foods such as candy or chips. 

Psychologically, emotional eating is linked to comfort foods that trigger the release of serotonin, which helps promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. People with higher levels of stress hormones often experience greater cravings for unhealthy snacks.

When stress gets out of control, stress eating can become a compulsive behavior that leads to weight gain, heart disease, and other issues. It’s important to recognize its patterns and try to eliminate stressors in order to maintain a healthy emotional wellbeing.

We all experience stress at some point in our lives and we need to remember that it’s ok for emotional eating to happen every now and then. However, it’s important to find other avenues for stress management as well.

What are the signs of stress eating?

stress eating
There are easy steps you can take to avoid emotional eating. Source: Adobe Stock.

Stress eating is a common phenomenon, but it’s important to recognize what signs indicate it so that you can step in and take control.

This can often include increased cravings for unhealthy foods, binging on food with stress as the motivating factor, feeling guilty after eating too much, or having an overall lack of control when it comes to stress and food.

Additionally, stress eating doesn’t have a fixed time or duration and may last for days or weeks – oftentimes leading to significant weight gain over time. Being able to identify stress eating can help you address the underlying stress causing the behavior efficiently.

Tips to manage emotional eating

Are you feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained? Do you often find yourself reaching for unhealthy comfort foods to cope with stress? Stress eating can feel like an uncontrollable reaction, but there are tips and tricks you can use to manage it.

Below, we’ll discuss some tactics to help break the cycle of stress eating so that you can start making better choices for your health. Read on for helpful advice on how to prevent yourself from diving into a bag of chips during times of emotional upheaval!

Search for what’s causing your stress

One way to manage stress eating is to search for the root of your stress. This can be done by taking some time to reflect and ask yourself what has been burdening you lately. Once you have identified the root of your stress, take a closer look at it.

Is it something manageable? If so, what actionable steps can you take today to start resolving it? Sometimes just having a plan in place helps lessen stress and anxiety and could prevent stress eating.

Mindful eating is key

With mindful eating, you can cultivate a healthier relationship with food and your stress levels. Practicing mindful eating involves being aware of what you eat and why.

Whenever you feel stress or vulnerability that can lead to stress eating, take some time for yourself to really analyze what’s going on in your mind so that you can find better ways to satisfy any need other than stress eating.

Mindful eating helps to refocus attention on our physical well-being thus allowing us to practice better self-care and make more mindful decisions about stress and stress related food behaviors.

Stock up on healthy food

stress eating
Stock up on healthy snacks! Source: Adobe Stock.

We’ve all been there – unable to resist the stress-induced urge to reach for something unhealthy.

But here’s a tip that could help: stock your fridge with healthy food options! That way, when stress is mounting, you can satisfy those cravings with good eats and avoid the guilt-trip that often follows stress eating.

An abundance of fruits and veggies, plus handy snacks like hummus and nuts, make it easy to do the right thing for yourself even when stress levels are high.

Identify what triggers your stress eating

One of the most important tips for managing emotional eating is to identify and watch out for triggers. Identifying triggers that may lead you towards emotional eating can help you be aware and prepare when encountering those triggers in the future.

Triggers will be different for everyone, so regularly reflecting on your experiences can bring insight into what activates your behavior. Once identified, being mindful of these triggers in everyday life will make emotional eating much easier to manage.

Keep yourself hydrated

Trying to manage emotional eating? Prioritizing hydration is a good place to start! Drinking water can help you achieve goals in several ways. First, it can fill you up so you’re not reaching for those extra snacks when stress begins to creep in.

It can also help your body flush out toxins which can lead to more balanced stress levels, ultimately reducing the amount of stress  you experience.

Lastly, water helps boost energy and focus, two important qualities when trying to stay away from stress-sabotaging habits like binge eating. So if stress has been triggering unwanted habits, keep a water bottle nearby and remind yourself that proper hydration is key!

What are the best foods for brain health?

Do you ever find yourself struggling to recall words mid-conversation? Or feeling like your brain is sluggish and having trouble keeping up? If so, it might be time to check in on your brain health.

While a healthy diet overall is essential for balancing hormones and reducing inflammation, there are some superfoods that have specific benefits for the brain.

In the following link, we’ll discuss what makes certain foods great picks for brain health as well as highlight the top foods recommended by experts. So let’s get started learning how to nourish our brains!

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What are the best foods for brain health?

Learn what are the best foods for good brain health to include in your diet that will improve your memory, reduce stress and more!

About the author  /  Aline Barbosa

Aline Barbosa is an editor, writer and learning-enthusiast. Passionate about music, books and human behavior. Curious about the unknown. Believer that learning is a life-long process.

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