Stress and eating are very closely intertwined. Adults report eating to manage stress, overeating because of stress, indulging in unhealthy foods to relieve stress, skipping meals due to stress, and even binge eating to distract from a stressful situation. So you can see just how closely the two things are related. Stress is really just one factor that can trigger emotional eating, but it can be combined with others like tiredness and fatigue, boredom, or emotions like loneliness or sadness.
You can take your emotional eating issues into your own hands by practicing stress-relieving and stress management techniques. Take a look at the list below and see what might fit nicely into your lifestyle and schedule - taking into account your personal preferences and your abilities.
Stress-Relieving Practices for Emotional Eating
Practice Being Mindful
This is an easy place to start because it requires zero time commitment whatsoever - and when you’re stressed, time might be the last thing you have. When you feel the urge to eat to deal with your feelings start by slowing things down, taking a step back from your situation and take a few calming breaths. Acknowledge what you’re doing or what you’re about to do - without judgement - and ask yourself if the temporary hit you’ll get from the instant gratification of the food is going to relieve the stress or is it just going to postpone the feeling? Is the food just going to make you feel better in this moment or will it help you with the underlying reasons for your stress? The answer is most likely no, and if you can answer yourself honestly, then you can move on to more productive outlets.
Incorporate Relaxation Techniques
Deep breathing in itself is a powerful relaxation technique, so immediately following your mindful intervention, you can continue with some deep belly breaths. Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, uses the diaphragm to fully fill your lungs with oxygen. Inhale through your nose, allowing your belly to inflate, and exhale through your mouth while tightening your abdominals this is a powerful exercise to help you relax and de-stress. Meditate Or Practice Yoga
Take some time to sit with your thoughts meditate while actively trying to quiet your thoughts both of these techniques can help you be more in the moment and relieve stress. You can also pull up a Guided Meditation on YouTube or an app on your phone, if it helps you to hear someone else’s voice while you’re meditating. If sitting still doesn’t quite do it for you, think about some purposeful movement to help ease your stress and curb your emotional eating.
Take up a yoga practice - you can do it alone in your own home, or hit a local studio and get the added benefit of some social time as well. It’s not just yoga though- you can also try tai-chi, some relaxing stretching, or just go for a walk - it’s the movement that counts.
Stress management techniques can be powerful tools when it comes to dealing with emotional eating. Incorporating these practices daily can help you balance your mind and body and help curb your emotional eating by not only fighting the boredom that might be associated with it, but also by treating and managing the stressful inputs that might be causing it.
Try to do something that relaxes you every day to effectively combat the stress and anxiety that triggers emotional eating.
Try these techniques to help you cope with the temptations of mindless eating:
1. Eat balanced meals and to help keep your blood sugar stable, as this can help reduce emotional cravings.
2. Take time to relax and do something enjoyable each day. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to reduce stress.
3. Practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques when you start to feel overwhelmed.
4. Exercise regularly to reduce stress and help keep your body healthy.
5. Avoid skipping meals, as this can lead to overeating later in the day.
6. Open up to a trusted friend/relative about your emotions, Sometimes hearing yourself explain what you're feeling can really help identify your triggers.
7. Engage in activities that make you feel positive and relaxed, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a walk.
8. Participating in an activity that uses your hands can help you avoid the temptation of mindless eating. Adult colouring in books can be helpful as well as hand crafts like embroidery and knitting.
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