If food is something you associate with emotion, particularly stress, then it can be hard to tell yourself when enough is enough. Stress eating can sabotage all your hard work in the gym and ruin a good day’s eating.
It is a hard habit to break but it can be broken, just follow these five steps.
What is making you stressed? Food is nothing more than a crutch and an excuse. You reach for the food you don’t really want because it is a habit and stress is usually an issue which arises from other lifestyle problems. Sometimes life is hard but some people are naturally easily stressed. If you’re suffering with high stress levels a lot, it is worth speaking to a medical professional or really reflecting upon why you feel the way you do.
Research has found that if you can focus on long-term goals you may be able to dodge the desperate craving for food when you don’t need it. When you’re feeling stressed and about to reach for the biscuits, pause for a moment, and think about the future. Focus in on your long-term goals whether that’s feeling confident on your next holiday or a specific weight loss goal. Getting out of the moment and avoiding the ‘treat’ is a key step in getting out of your bad habit.
Mindfulness is a hugely popular way of reducing stress and it’s a lot more effective than overeating and then feeling guilty as well as stressed. Mindfulness can help you to reduce your stress levels and learn how your body reacts when it truly is hungry not just triggered by stress. Mindfulness helps you to get to know your body better and even enjoy your food more, when it is time for a meal or snack.
If you constantly put yourself down, even mentally, then you are likely to find it much harder to break the habit. Being kind to yourself can help to reduce stress eating simply because you’re giving yourself a break. If you can be understanding when accidents happen and accept it happens to everyone sometimes, then you will be less obsessed with the negative ideas related to stress eating and it will just become a thing of the past.
A lot of people who want to lose weight or build a healthier lifestyle go all out on a restrictive diet. Restricting your food intake will not only make you genuinely hungry, it will make it even harder to avoid those food binges when you’re feeling stressed out. Being too restrictive is a recipe for disaster and sometimes, a treat can’t hurt. If you learn to plan your treats and savour them, you will enjoy them even more.
I find eating primally works well to help me stop bingeing out when I'm stressed. I do it for 5 days out of 7 and I just turn to much healthier antidotes to stress, like stretching and breathing or reading, not rubbish food.
I find mindful eating very boring. I tried it once and just was desperate to read a book or watch TV. I prefer to just enjoy the treats when I am stressed. That's when I need them most!