Emotional Eating: How to Cope With Stress Without Overeating

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Does stress, anxiety, anger, or sadness drive you to eat your way through feelings? Do you use food to cope with life’s ups and downs? Sounds like you’re an emotional eater. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating when you’re feeling sad or when you’re happy, habitual emotional eating doesn’t just result in weight gain, it could also lead to serious health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or even obesity.

Unfortunately, you might not even realize that you’re an emotional eater. If you eat to the point where you’re stuffed or eating until you are no longer comfortable, you might be turning to turn food for comfort. So how do you stop yourself from stuffing food when you’re emotional? Consider these tips:

Remove All Distractions

You’ll gain weight faster if you don’t keep track of the amount of food you eat. We recommend removing any distraction that may keep you from keeping an eye on the amount of food you eat, like playing with your mobile device, watching TV, etc. Focus on the food that’s in front of you and make sure you control your portions so you don’t go overboard.

Find Ways to De-Stress

Rather than using food to make you feel better, look for ways that will help you de-stress without making you fat like taking short walks, engaging in a new hobby, or simply downloading a meditation app and meditating every time you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, why not get an hour-long massage and a good scrub down at the local spa or catch up with your friends after work? Many activities will help you cope with stress and uplift your mood when the going gets tough.

Never Skip Your Meals

You might think skipping meals will help you lose weight but it might do the total opposite. When you skip meals, your body will demand more fuel and usually your brain misinterprets this demand as an emotion like hunger. The blood sugar level in the body also dips, causing you to crave sweet treats. That’s when you start craving for sweet, fattening foods to tame the urgent desire for energy.

So do not skip meals and if you must eat snacks, we recommend going for healthier alternatives to junk foods like nuts, kale chips, baked potatoes, etc.

Do Not Hoard Unhealthy Snacks

You probably keep a lot of snacks under your drawer in the office or in the fridge at home. If you don’t make the best choices, you might end up eating more than you should. Replace sweet treats with whole grains, fruits, and nuts. Stock up on yogurt instead of ice cream and make your own smoothies and sherbets rather than drinking fattening fraps and artisanal blends. Go for foods with complex carbs and eat lean protein to make you feel fuller for longer.

There’s nothing wrong with indulging a little when you’re celebrating with friends or you need a little pick-me-up. Emotional eating becomes a problem only when you’re turning to food in the face of unhealthy consequences. The key to stop yourself from eating too much is making sensible choices.

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