I did a Google search on what causes stress in people’s lives and I found things like unemployment, divorce, financial problems, health issues, fatigue and so on. In reflecting on how I deal with stress, let’s just say that far, far less than unemployment has caused me to eat a dozen donuts in one sitting!
Yes, I’m talking about stress eating. Most of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing it at one point or another, and it is not for the faint of heart. I can down a whole can of party peanuts if Auden has a particularly bad day at school! Thankfully I have come to terms with the real me and I am now able to recognize the signs of impending stress and do a fairly good job of not eating us out of house and home when things get rough. Please allow me to share some of my tips, and I welcome any you have to share that have worked for you.
Try to plan ahead.
I know that foreseeing stress is not always possible, but recognizing the cues might just give you enough time to make better choices. Try as hard as you can to have a Plan B in place. If you know that stress makes you eat, make a commitment to yourself that instead of eating when stress strikes you will first take a few deep breaths, assess the situation and determine if the crisis is really worth a “five burger frenzy.” These are the times when hobbies are helpful. Don’t have one? Get one! My new relaxation hobby is books on tape. I joined Audible.com and I love it.
Step awaaaaay from the plate.
Sometimes you have to physically remove yourself from the situation. Go for a walk, go to your room for some alone time or use that time to get in your workout if you haven’t already.
Call a friend.
Don’t allow yourself to be alone. Isolation is terrible for stress and eating! At least when you are with a friend you are too busy talking to eat. And the talking just might make you feel better.
Make better choices.
If stress just gets the best of you, at least try to overeat some apples! Seriously, try fruit instead of French fries … it might just tide you over until the “crisis” passes.
Old habits are hard to break.
Stress eating is a bad habit! It’s what we do when times get tough. Continue practicing the above better habits until stress eating is a thing of the past.
While I have made a few “funnies” about stress eating, it really is no joke … eating and emotions go way back! Try to spend some real time looking at what your triggers are (maybe even keep a small journal) and start to take control of this area in your life.