Strategies to Reduce Stress Eating
Do you tend to eat when you’re feeling stressed?
Reaching for junk foods and extra portions is a common reaction to stress. Over time, it can lead to weight gain, increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes – and increased stress as you worry about the consequences of your unhealthy eating.
Looking for ways to reduce stress eating?
Getting enough sleep may be at least part of the answer. A recent study has found that getting enough sleep could help reduce the tendency to eat when feeling stressed. One possible explanation is that waking up feeling well rested and replenished may help you better deal with stress – and be less vulnerable to unhealthy eating – during the day.
So if you’re not getting enough sleep, try improving your sleep habits – along with the following strategies – to help reduce your stress eating.
Don’t skip meals: When you skip meals you allow yourself to get too hungry, which makes you more vulnerable to unhealthy eating and stress eating.
Plan healthy snacks: Keep healthy snacks on hand at home and at work. Before you get those uncontrollable munchies mid-morning or mid-afternoon, have a healthy snack such as fruit and nut butter, a small handful of nuts, raw veggies and hummus or whole grain crackers and cheese.
Be physically active: Exercise is a great way to improve your mood and decrease stress – and to distract you from eating when feeling stressed! Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days per week.
Find other ways to deal with your stress: Rather than reaching for food, try calming activities such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing. Take some time to do something you enjoy (such as reading a book, taking a relaxing bubble bath or playing with the kids) that helps take your mind off of the cause of your stress. Talk with a friend, family member or colleague.