While we all know what we’re SUPPOSED to be eating, other factors play a role in what we CHOOSE to eat. One of these factors is stress. Stress eating can keep you from reaching your diet and fitness goals. Do you find yourself reaching for a powdered doughnut when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Then here are some ways to reduce your stress eating habits:
1) Tame Your Stress
This seems obvious, but it is the first step. Besides overeating, stress causes a sleuth of health problems. Try different stress-relieving techniques, such as yoga or meditation. Find what works for you and stick to it. Tame your stress to gain control of your eating habits and your overall quality of life.
2) Treat Yourself, Don’t Deprive Yourself
Indulge (a little) when you feel you really need it. And don’t feel guilty about it. Restricting yourself from all “bad” foods will only make you stress out even more if and when you do take a nibble.
3) Replace Your Stress-Fighting Habit
When you’ve had a bad day and you want to put it out of your mind with a venti Frap, try going for a walk instead. Or try calling a friend to vent. Or start journaling. Do anything that will replace the “need” for comforting food.
4) Have Healthy Comfort Food on Hand
If you absolutely need to munch on something, make sure you have healthier options on hand. Munching on fruits and veggies, like baby carrots or raspberries, will fill you up, relax you and provide your body with antioxidants all at the same time! Even a piece of dark chocolate will do the trick. In fact, don’t even buy junk food or keep it in the house. If it’s not conveniently sitting in your cupboard, you are not likely to make a trip to the store to get some.
5) Practice Mindful Eating
Many of us stuff our face without actually stopping to consider what we are eating and why. Before you open up that bag of potato chips, think, “why am I doing this?” If you realize you are just trying to de-stress, then you have a better handle on your actions. You can put the chips down and try another method. Instead of eating in front of the TV as usual, eat at the table and pay attention to your body cues – you’ll be able to really feel when you are full. By becoming more mindful of your eating habits, you can begin to eat only when you’re actually hungry instead of when you’re in need of comfort.