What is stress eating?
Stress eating is a term that you have probably heard lately. Just know that just because it is now a thing, and it’s something that people say they’re doing, does not mean stress eating is something that you should be doing. Here’s how to control stress eating
Stress eating is nothing new. Take a look around. People have been overweight for many decades and even centuries. When we feel overwhelmed by life, we reach for comforting foods. We eat them too fast and we don’t recognize that we are full, and then we eat more comforting foods. That’s stress eating in a nutshell.
Why stress eating is bad
While some comforting food can be healthy and good for us, a lot of what’s out there may not be. Think about ingredients. Many foods that come in packages contain additives that make them taste good and that makes us crave these foods. Think about it, a box of mac and cheese makes up a tasty meal – but there can be some additional unwanted ingredients in there to enhance the taste and give us a craving.
So maybe you had a rough day and you want some macaroni and cheese. Why not use the healthier option, whole grain pasta, real cheese instead of cheese powder, milk, and some butter? Instead of heaping your plate with a giant serving, how about a cup of it, eaten slowly and mindfully? You can balance your savory meal with a healthy choice like broccoli or a fresh salad.
How to control stress eating
The idea is that stress eating needn’t get out of control. Tips for keeping things in moderation:
- Don’t keep a candy stash in the house if you’re likely to binge on it.
- Limit quantities. You don’t have to stock up on tempting junk foods when visiting bulk wholesale stores. Instead, keep small portions for a treat!
- Exercise before you reach for fattening foods. Even just a few yoga stretches can release the stress that’s causing you to feel hungry.
- Treat yourself in small quantities. If you love chocolate, enjoy two or three Hershey’s kisses each afternoon.
- Don’t deny yourself. Instead, control portions, and exercise away the extra calories when you do indulge.
- Pay attention to your body signals. If you feel lethargic and even drowsy after indulging, you’ve eaten too much or your blood sugar has spiked. Next time, watch your intake.
- Be a mindful eater. Chew thoroughly. It takes a lot of energy to break down something like a salad. Crunch those carrots until the moment you’d normally swallow, then crunch them some more. Eating slowly brings great relief to the digestive system.