Monday, June 5, 2023

How To Break Stress Eating

Hope For Stress Eating

Stop emotional eating, stress eating, binging or breaking your fast in minutes for good: Best Tips!

I pray that youve found this concept enlightening. I used the Crushing Anxiety List for many months until the way of thinking because natural for me.

Now, if I go through a challenging season and sense stress effecting my eating and sleep, Ill pull out this incredible too again.

Well never live in a stress-free world but we can learn how to live in Gods peace in ALL circumstances.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

Why We Stress Eat

Stress eating, also called emotional eating, is eating when youre not hungry. Instead, youre letting your emotions dictate your eating patterns, rather than your body.

But why are we so prone to this?

Turns out that stress, the hormones it produces, and the effects of high-fat, sugary comfort foods all conspire to make this an easy pattern to fall into.

While short-term stress can actually dampen the appetite, persistent stress can have the opposite effect.

Cortisol is the hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Normally, once a high-stress situation is over, cortisol levels drop to a normal level.

But when stress is continuous, cortisol levels remain high, and one thing they do is increase appetite.

But why do we eat food thats bad for us when were stressed? Lets face it, youd never binge eat on broccoli, would you?

Research tells us that, when were stressed, sugar truly is comfort food.

A 2005 Princeton University study showed that sugar-filled foods release dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, and that in fact, the neurochemical responses of people who binge on sugary foods are similar to those of people who are addicted to opioids.

Ways To Prevent Stress Eating When Youre Stuck At Home

Though self-isolating is the best way to protect against COVID-19, being stuck at home can lead to some unhealthy behaviors, including overeating due to stress and boredom.

While taking comfort in food during times of stress is a normal reaction, overeating regularly can negatively affect your health and increase your stress and anxiety levels.

Here are 13 ways to prevent stress eating when youre stuck at home.

Read Also: Can You Get Physically Sick From Stress

Know What Your Hunger Is Hiding

For many who are overweight, food is the drug of choice to relieve emotional discomfort. Food is an easily accessible alternative we use to mask problems like a broken heart, a grieving spirit, a frantic family or a lonely life. We can continually turn to combo meals to cope, but our waists get wider while our hungry hearts remain starved.

Stuffing our mouths and emotions with food does not address our real issues. These could be issues from our past, such as an unresolved loss, or a present challenge, like a dissolving relationship. We can become so adept at denying or minimizing whatever pains us that we believe our problems with food are only problems with food.

Until you acknowledge what your emotional hunger binges are attempting to hide, you will be stuck in an unhealthily state.

I Cant Stop Stress Eating

How to Break Free of Emotional Eating

Weve all done it: you get dumped, or things are piling up at work, and suddenly that freshly bought pint of Ben & Jerrys is empty. Now you feel guilty for eating something badwhich only stresses you out more!

Stress eating, also called emotional eatingor just eating your feelingsis pretty much what it sounds like: eating because youre stressed, not because youre hungry. You probably already know that overeating can be a health risk, and thats not helpingso what can you do now?

There are two main things to think about here: managing your stress level, and maintaining a good relationship with food.

Also Check: How To Deal With Stress Headaches

When Does Stress Eating Become Unhealthy

Eating in response to emotions is not inherently wrong or unhealthy. Part of what makes us human is that food has emotional power for us. This can be a wonderful thing: consider the comfort from tasting a dish that brings you back to your childhood or a treasured memory.

However, we more often think of emotional eating in the context of difficult emotions like stress or sadness. While food can be a short-term comfort in these situations, it does not address the root cause of our feelings and often leaves us feeling worse than when we started. It can have long-term consequences, too: numerous studies have found a strong link between stress levels and weight gain, with stress-related eating as one potential explanation.

Youre Over The Whole Cooking Every Meal Situation

Since the pandemic has dragged on longer than expected, its unsurprising that were getting tired of cooking. In fact, a survey conducted on behalf of the meal kit company Sun Basket found that 69 percent of respondents wished they could whip up a healthy dinner more quickly. Here are some tactics that help you simplify your meal prep.

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How To Stop Stress Eating

When youre in the throes of a stressful situation, just about any healthy distraction like going for a walk, getting fresh air, doing a quick guided meditation or calling a friend can help you avoid the draw of junk food, Baten says. Drinking water may also help, since people often confuse hunger and thirst.

But in the long-term, getting at the root cause of your stress is more important than stopping yourself from snacking in the moment. Healthy habits like exercise, sleep and proper nutrition are all sustainable stress relievers, Baten says. And if you consistently struggle with emotional or stress eating, Baten says, it may be worth speaking with a professional, who can help you sort out underlying issues.

Its important to pay attention to our feelings before they become so intensified that we cant think clearly, Baten says. Emotional eating is happening because theres an emotional need that isnt being fulfilled.

But its also important to acknowledge that your emotions will win out from time to time and beating yourself up for occasionally choosing comfort food will only add to your stress.

What Is Binge Eating And What Is Causing It

How To Break An Emotional Eating Cycle – with Tricia Nelson

Put simply, binge eating is eating uncontrollably. There are two types of binge eating episodes: objective binge eating and subjective binge eating1Fairburn CG. Overcoming binge eating. London, UK: Guilford Press 2013..

With more than one in 20 people engaging in binge eating, this isnt a problem affecting just a few.

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Tune In To Your Physical Hunger

The desire to eat to soothe an emotional needs can be strong, so it’s worth going back to the basics of physical hunger. It’s Think of your hunger on a scale from 0 to 10. 5 is neutral: You are not hungry and you are not full. 4 is a little hungry, you may be having pangs of hunger. 3 is solidly hungry. 2 is ravenous, don’t let yourself get here. 1 is empty. 0 is so starving you might faint. On the flip side, 6 is satisfied. 7 is full, 8 is stuffed. 9 is very uncomfortable, and 10 is sick to your stomach. Try to wait to eat until you are a solid 3, and stop when you are a 5 or a 6 as opposed to stopping when you are full or stuffed.

Ending The Cycle Of Stress Eating

Have you ever found yourself craving certain foods when you are feeling stressed? Well, youre not alone. Stress eating, also known as emotional eating, is eating in response to how you are feeling rather than hunger.

According to researchers, high-fat and high-calorie foods actually can make us feel better. The more comforting the comfort food, the better we feel. A habit of stress eating can lead to weight gain and serious health concerns over time. Thats why we should try to understand how stress eating works and how to break the cycle.

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How To Know If Were Doing It

So, how do you know if youre in a pattern of stress eating, or just enjoy some sweets once in a while?

Here are some questions to ask yourself. If the answer is yes to any of these, youre probably an emotional eater:

  • Do you ever eat without even realizing youre doing it?
  • Do you often feel guilty or ashamed after eating?
  • After an unpleasant experience, do you eat even if you arent feeling hungry?
  • Do you crave specific foods when youre upset, such as always wanting chocolate after an argument?
  • Does eating make you feel better when youre down or less focused on problems when youre worried about something?

Get Good At Naming The Underlying Emotions

How to Break the Stress Eating Cycle

If emotions are running high and youre starting to crave food, take a moment to check-in: what emotion am I feeling? Be as specific as possible.

While it sounds like a small action to take, explicitly naming our emotions is crucial. It helps us identify the triggers for emotional eating in order to notice patterns – which leads to tip #3! Identifying recurrent emotions also helps us realize when life changes might be necessary for example, leaving a toxic job or relationship or finding extra support from a mental healthcare provider.

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How To Tell If Youre Stress Eating

While some people purposely and consciously dive into a pint of ice cream after a trying day, others may stress eat without even knowing it, Knott says. People get on autopilot, she says. It becomes part of our lives, and we dont necessarily recognize what is happening.

To avoid mindless eating, its important to understand the difference between emotional and physical hunger. Before you tear open a bag of chips, take stock of how youre feeling physically and mentally, Knott says. Hunger feels different for everybody, but its often accompanied by physical symptoms like a growling or empty stomach, low energy and headache. If youre craving snacks without any of these physical signs, you may simply be looking for comfort or a distraction, Knott says.

If you arent truly hungry and it is a comfort food type of response, or a way to manage the stress that is related to using food to soothe, then you might want to take a different approach, Knott says.

Stress Eating And Depressed Eating Are Common When Life Takes A Turn Here’s What You Can Do

If you’ve ever found yourself eating a lot when you’re sad, anxious, stressed, nervous, or angry, you may be an emotional eater. When your intense emotions take over and your escape is through food, it is called EMOTIONAL EATING. One phase of your life of emotional eating can ruin your entire diet. Emotional eating can become very difficult to break free from it but there are things you can do.

One of the most common tropes in romantic comedy movies is that after a breakup, the woman will watch sad Lifetime movies and eat an entire bucket of ice cream.

Emotional eaters often turn to food because of other emotions as well such as stress, anxiety, anger and boredom.

Another is that after a rough breakup, a man will not be able to take care of his health and ends up gaining weight. He gains so much weight that he becomes unrecognizable.

These are tropes because they are very reflective of real life. When were sad, we like to find comfort any way we can. One easy way to find comfort is through FOOD.

Food is essential for survival. It can also be very delicious, especially when its junk food. It give us the DOPAMINE, the feel good hormone, that we need when were feeling depressed. Unfortunately, not only does the food provide no nutritional value, it makes us gain weight, and we feel worse after eating it.

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How Eating Habits Form

The neuroscience of habit formation is complex. In simplified terms, a habit is a behavior or sequence of behaviors that has shifted from requiring focus and energy to one that requires little to no attentionone that is seemingly automatic. Humans often do things in pursuit of a reward so we often develop habits through our repeated thoughts and behaviors directed toward the reward.

At some point, the brain seems to choose to conserve energykind of like a computers hard drive when it shifts to sleep modeby allowing us to not use extra thinking energy on what has already been well-practiced. As a result, a habit has been formed.

Consider how the habit to brush your teeth twice each day begins. When you were a small child, it took a great deal of focus and concentration to make sure to scrub your molars, your gums, and other teeth. You may have even practiced a particular order of actions or a sequence. The desired reward might have been parental praise, a feeling of accomplishment, or an avoidance of punishment. The initial few acts of brushing your teeth probably required a lot more energy and attention than it does now.

This transition from deliberate intentionality to automatic habit happens without awareness. The same process can help explain what may feel like failed attempts at changing dieting, binge eating, purging, and compulsive exercise behaviors.

Drink A Glass Of Water

Emotional Eating: Simple tips to break the habit

“Oftentimes when we stress eat, we aren’t even really hungry. So instead of going to the fridge or cabinet, head to the faucet instead,” says Luther. “Fill up a glass of water, add a squeeze of lemon or a couple of frozen berries. Enjoy the glass of water and allow the urge to stress eat diffuse.” Speaking of lemon water⦠have you read about What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Lemon Water Every Day?

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How To Stop Stress Eating At Work

If you stress eat at work, the following tips can help:

Start the day with a full stomach

Have a substantial breakfast that keeps you full until lunch. It doesnt take much time to make porridge with fruit and nuts, or scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables.

Research shows that eating most of your calories at breakfast keeps snacking at a minimum for the rest of the day.

Eat plenty of protein and good fats

Protein and good fats keeps blood sugar levels steady over the course of a day.

Because blood sugar dips can contribute to anxiety and depression, that not only means that you stay feeling fuller for longer, but you actually feel less stressed too. Thats what we at Noom call a win/win.

Take regular breaks

That means stepping away from your desk, getting some sunlight, and moving your body.

Spend more time outside

One Noomer realized that meetings were a major source of stress. So she talked to her boss and they started having their 1-to-1 meetings outside while taking a walk.

How To Stop Stress Eating: 10 Ways To Kick The Habit


There’s a reason they call it comfort food. If you find yourself reaching for high calorie snacks and sugary treats when feeling stressed, you aren’t alone. There is a biological reason behind this common bad habit. Too much stress can do a number on your willpower and in addition, may cause you to make poor food choices, even when you don’t feel hungry. But have no fear, it is possible to kick the habit and regain control of your diet. Here’s ten tips backed by science to help you put a lid on stress eating and keep your emotions out of the kitchen.

Also Check: What Is Good For Stress And Depression

Know Your Emotional Eating Triggers

Another way to control emotional eating is to figure out what your triggers are. Keep a food diary that records not only what and how much you ate, but also how you felt at the time.

Once you recognize a pattern, develop a strategy to break it. For instance, if you often eat because you think you deserve it after a tough day, remember that you also deserve to lose weight, feel healthy, and be proud of yourself. If you eat because of stress, learn to dial back that stress. Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise can help reduce stress levels.

What Are The Consequences Of Stress Eating

Emotional Eating â How To Stop Overeating And Stress Eating

The most obvious consequence of stress eating is weight gain.

But stress eating is a self-perpetuating cycle that actually increases stress in the long-term, rather than addressing it.

Stress eating only soothes stress on a very short-term basis. As soon as those feel-good hormones have worn off, the craving returns.

When you use food to meet an emotional need instead of a physical one, you feel good in the moment. The food satisfies your need for distraction and comfort.

But when the original bad feeling returns, its accompanied by another bad feeling:


Feel bad, eat, feel bad, eat. And so on.

If you put on a significant amount of weight, you might feel bad about that too, adding more fuel to the vicious cycle of stress eating.

So the consequence of stress eating is likely to be more stress eating.

And the only solution is to break that cycle.

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