These challenging times can bring on uncertainly, anxiety and stress. And, stress can lead to reacting emotionally, making choices that aren’t necessarily healthy or positive. And that can lead to feeling even more stressed. I bet we’ve all experienced that at one time or another. For many, food becomes the “go-to” for comfort or distraction (although relief is very fleeting and the stressor is still there). What can one do? Plenty! Here are eight tips for overcoming stress eating:
- First and foremost, focus on mindfulness. Be aware of your eating habits. Tune into your emotion before making that unhealthy choice. A little exercise to practice STOP (Breath) CHALLENGE (Am I really hungry? Why am I feeling this way?) CHOOSE (Then make your decision --- is this going to change the current situation) when feeling stressed in order to gain composure. You’ll make a better decision / choice most of the time.
- Keep your blood sugars level. By eating small, frequent (every 3 hours) nutritious meals vs 3 large ones, your blood sugar levels will be stabilized and this will keep true hunger pangs from occurring.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This can also help quell the pangs of an empty stomach AND promote a healthy digestive system.
- Make sure your meals/snacks incorporate protein as well as good healthy fats (Omega 3’s) vs “all carbs.” Fats and proteins are more filling and take longer to digest. These good fats can aid in reducing inflammation in the body, too.
- Keep junk food out of the house as much as possible. If it’s there, you’re apt to eat it. Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy foods.
- When snacking, take out one portion size and then close and put away the package.
- Avoid alcohol when stressed. This can heighten or prolong your anxiety and worsen the stress. Alcohol can also lead to poor food choices as well as an abundance of empty calories.
- Seek support at home. Having some accountability can help keep you on track of health goals and good eating habits.
Take good care of yourself, especially during this time. You’ll be more equipped to handle the changes and challenges that come your way. AND, good health and a strong immune system are essential.
Stay focused! Stay healthy! Stay connected!