The stress caused by diet adds to the personal and business stress we face on a daily basis, often resulting in a “vicious cycle” of heightened stress and increased food intake. People under stress tend to self-beat and engage in unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating, and there is strong biological evidence that stressed people tend to gain weight more quickly. “I’m stressed, that’s why I’m eating.” Many people complain of overeating in response to work or personal stress.
If this sounds like you, read the following tips for dealing with stress-related overeating to help you manage this unhealthy habit.
1. Practice waiting. Delay your instant gratification when hunger strikes. Tell yourself to wait 10 to 30 minutes to eat. Chances are that your cravings are only related to stress; they will disappear if you allow yourself to be distracted.
2. Keep a food diary of what you eat each day. Knowing to write down every snack or nibble can be a great way to remind yourself to think before eating.
3. Enlist the help of a friend – ideally someone who is also tempted by stress-related cravings. If you feel like eating, write them a short message or call.
4. Keep yourself fed. Eat healthy snacks regularly to keep your energy levels up. Skipping meals while under stress will only make you eat more, and unhealthy, if you’re eating anyway.
5. Post some reminder messages where you are likely to see them when stress-related cravings begin. Use any message that works for you. Examples could be “Are you really hungry?” or “Think about why you’re eating.”
6. Remove tempting foods physically from your home or office. Never go shopping when you are hungry and always make a list of food items before shopping; only bring home what you like about food.
7. Take time for yourself every day. Whether it’s 10 minutes to think and relax, or if it’s a fun activity that will revitalize you, it’s critical to do it. Health isn’t just physical, mental wellness is just as important, you deserve to mentally de-stress every day!