We’ve all been there.
Work is driving you crazy. You’ve just had a fight with your significant other. And you’ve completely had it with being stuck in the house day after day.
So what do you?
You grab a pint (or better yet, a gallon) of your favorite ice cream out of the freezer. And some whipped cream.
Or you order a large pizza and eat it all by yourself.
Does it really make you feel better though?
Of course, ice cream and pizza will make anyone feel better for a while. But when it’s gone, you’re still facing the same stupid problems. And your waistband is suddenly a whole lot tighter.
Yet, despite the guilt, you do it again. And again.
If you routinely use food as a way of coping with frustration, boredom, or sadness, the last thing you need is a guilt trip on top of it. But even though stress eating is a common coping mechanism, it’s not doing your body any favors.
It’s time to ditch the guilt and follow these steps to stop stress eating in its tracks.
It’s time for a reality check. How are you feeling? Are you really hungry? Or are you feeling anxious, tired, sad, or stressed? Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing when you feel the urge to snack.
-Banish Unhealthy Foods.
It’s really tough to ignore a plate of cookies that’s sitting right in front of you or a bag of chips that’s conveniently lodging in your purse. Ideally, you should ban tempting foods from your home. If that’s not possible, at least banish them from your sight by keeping them in a cupboard or pantry.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be restricting treats completely while eating the same foods day after day. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to food cravings. Allow yourself small treats here and there so you don’t feel too deprived.
Everyone has a bad day. If you do break down and consume that delicious chocolate cake, forgive yourself. Tomorrow is a new day, and punishing yourself will just lead to more of the bad feelings that triggered the binge episode in the first place.
Make a regular practice of writing down what you eat, how much of it you eat, and how you’re feeling at the time. This will help you identify any patterns in your binge eating so you can get better control of it.
It can make all the difference in the world if you have a friend (or two) that you can call when you’re feeling stressed. Besides, time spent with people you enjoy can distract you from the emotions that are making you want to binge eat.
Exercise is a proven method for elevating mood and reducing stress. By making time every day to go for a walk or a run, to do some yoga, or even finding a home workout video on YouTube, you’ll do a lot to combat those negative feelings.
Put away your phone while eating and turn off the TV. Take your time and focus on the taste and texture of the food. Notice how you’re feeling physically as you eat it. By taking the time to really enjoy it, you will feel fuller and more satisfied.
As with any addiction, stress eating can be a vicious cycle that’s hard to tame. But a little mindfulness and self-care can help you curb your emotional eating. Your body and mind will thank you.