It's easy to get caught in the cycle of eating too much and too often during stressful moments.
Did you notice you often crave something when you're in a stressful or emotional situation?
Too often, you'll find yourself eating something sweet or tasty after dealing with a difficult boss, project, or even after a heated argument with your husband. It's because our eating habits is linked to our emotions.
When we turn to food as a way to get comforted or to relieve stress — this mindless behavior is what we call emotional eating. This bad eating habit is normally triggered by negative emotions or even stress.
Most of us don't eat food just because we need to eat, oftentimes we associate food with the comfort and pleasure we get from it. Like how you'll feel at ease after eating something sweet.
Eating after a stressful situation can help relieve stress. However the problem lies if it becomes a cycle of binge eating which may hinder your goal to be fit — just like rather, rinse, repeat —binge-guilt-binge.
Though not all people are the same. Some may eat lesser when stressed, some lose their appetite, and others may find themselves stuffing their face when they're under a stressful situation.
So, if you find yourself eating your feelings away, here are strategic ways you can try to stop emotional eating.
1. Ask yourself if you're really hungry before snacking
Check if what you're feeling this time is just a craving or if you're really hungry. Well, you don't have to deprive yourself too much but, you shouldn't give in to your unhealthy cravings too.
If ever you feel the urge to eat something to relieve stress, try to do something else which can help take your mind off your stress. You can try breathing exercises, call a friend, write something in your journal, take a walk, or listen to music. If eating is one of your hobbies, make sure to stack up fruits and greens instead.
2. Don't starve yourself and choose healthy food
The tendency if you starve yourself is that you might find yourself eating more than you normally would.
It's enough to satisfy your hunger pangs. Try to eat at a regular time even if you're stressed out. Make it a habit. Once it becomes a habit, you won't find it hard to break it because you already have a set of actions you regularly do which might be hard to break.
3. Get better sleep
It may sound like sleeping isn't connected to your emotional eating, right? However, our sleep has a huge effect on how we can manage our emotions well.
And if you're sleepless or not getting enough sleep, it results in fatigue. When you're tired, chances are you'll feel hungrier during the day.
4. Keep a food journal
In order to get rid of the bad habits, we must cultivate good habits just like keeping a food journal to manage your emotional eating. In this way, you'll know what your cravings are and keep track of your mood as well.
Write down your cravings after dealing with a stressful or emotional situation.
It pays to be aware of our actions rather than just getting swayed by what we're feeling this time.
5. Choose stress-fighting food
Can't get rid of late-night snacking and snacking when under stress? Then, start swapping for healthy choices.
Opt for something that relieves your stress and makes you healthy at the same time. Instead of sugary sweets, opt for dark chocolates, nuts, and strawberries. Or how about tea? Tea is rich in antioxidants and amino acids which may help relieve stress.
6. Consider getting help
When you've tried a lot of ways to manage your emotional eating but still to no avail. It may be time to ask for professional help.
Most of the time, our food cravings and our bad eating habit is a result of something deeper. Are we trying to feed a starving stomach or a starving emotion? Or is it a way to distract ourselves from facing something we can't bring ourselves to face?
It's important to identify our emotional triggers and their causes.
Love + miracles,