Thursday, June 8, 2023

How To Stop Overeating From Stress

Choose Filling Nutritious Foods

How To Stop Overeating When Bored or Stressed And Stuck At Home

Stocking your kitchen with filling, nutrient-dense foods can not only help improve your overall health but also combat the tendency to stress eat highly palatable foods.

For example, filling your fridge and pantry with foods that can help fill you up in a healthful way rather than foods rich in empty calories like candy, chips, and soda is a smart way to prevent the chances of noshing on unhealthy choices.

Filling foods are ones that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, and eggs are just some examples of nutritious, satisfying choices that can help fill you up and prevent overeating (

How To Limit The Impact Of Stress On Your Diet

Before you whip up some mac n cheese at the end of a challenging day, ask yourself whether your craving is coming from your belly or your brain. Rate your hunger on a scale of 0 to 10, suggests Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and author of End Emotional Eating. If you’re on the lower end of the range, think of ways you could deal with anxiety more directly, like listening to uplifting or calming music, going for a brisk walk, calling a friend or snuggling with your dog, Taitz advises. Just delaying eating gives that feeling of urgent need time to pass.

It also helps to pay attention to your food choices throughout the day. A healthy diet, with plenty of vegetables, fruits and protein, can keep your body and mind on an even keel, whereas sugar and caffeine cause more ups and downs in your mood and energy and exacerbate stress, Albers says.

And here’s a comforting thought: As long as you’re not a compulsive stress eater, one way to make peace with occasional cravings is to accept that stress eating can be part of a normal, healthy diet, says Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, D.C.based nutrition counselor and author of Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out and Never Say Diet Again. If you don’t look at comfort food as forbidden, you’re more likely to be able to enjoy the experience periodically and not overdo it.

The Key To Success Quickly Recovering From Mistakes Binges And Benders

If you learn just one thing from this entire guide, this should be it

To successfully stop binging, stick to your diet and lose all the weight you want, theres one skill you need to master recovering from eating mistakes!

Why recovery is so important

Working with well over a thousand clients showed me that, by far, the most dangerous and critical point in the recovery and weight loss process is the time immediately after youve made and eating mistake

See, if you believe a binge is the end of the world, that youre somehow broken and/or incapable of following your food rules, that youre out of control, or that some mysterious power inside you has taken control of your hands, arms, legs, mouth, and tongue, forcing you to overeat well, this becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I know, when I describe it this way, the whole thing seems a little silly. Of course we can control what we choose to put in our own mouths! Of course we can control what we choose to chew and swallow. Yet, after a serious overeating mistake most people hear an extremely negative voice inside themthe voice of the reptilian brain weve been talking about throughoutwhich says they are a loser, a failure, and are doomed to a life of overeating. You might as well just give up and become a happy fat person it will say.

More detail on what causes the downward spiral after a mistake

Why eating mistakes are so discouraging

How to recover from a binge, bender or a mistake

Read Also: How To Combat Stress Hormones

Stress Eating Can Ruin Your Weight Loss Goals The Key Is To Find Ways To Relieve Stress Without Overeating

There is much truth behind the phrase “stress eating.” Stress, the hormones it unleashes, and the effects of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” push people toward overeating. Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and according to an American Psychological Association survey, about one-fourth of Americans rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.

In the short term, stress can shut down appetite. The nervous system sends messages to the adrenal glands atop the kidneys to pump out the hormone epinephrine . Epinephrine helps trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, a revved-up physiological state that temporarily puts eating on hold.

But if stress persists, it’s a different story. The adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Once a stressful episode is over, cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress doesn’t go away or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the “on” position cortisol may stay elevated.

The Main Factors In Occupational Stress Are Uncertainty And A Lack Of Control Jim Quick

How to Stop Overeating: 3 Tips to Avoid Stress Eating ...

Seeking out pleasure via food is a common strategy. Of adults surveyed by the American Psychological Association in 2013, 38% reported that theyd overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month due to stress. Jim Quick, a management professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, says that the main factors in occupational stress are uncertainty and a lack of control two things which are in high supply right now.

Thus, sometimes emotional eating is the only coping toolkit we have in our bag especially during times like now, says Katherine Kimber, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. Its okay to give yourself some slack.

Unique stressors

It might seem insensitive to talk about stress eating now, with so many people worrying about food and money due to Covid-19s massive economic disruption. Yet worrying about food can itself transition into emotional eating. Kimber explains that restriction, whether it be a physical restriction or an emotional restriction , can have a backlash effect and increase disordered eating behaviours.

Sticking to a routine when working from home is key to maintaining wellbeing, including a proper sleeping schedule and exercise regimen.

Another stressor at the moment is increased boredom, which is linked with emotional eating. At the same time, people have become untethered from many of their usual coping strategies, such as meeting up with friends and spending time in nature.

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Bring Out Your Inner Chef

Some good things come along with being stuck at home. Not having the option to eat out at restaurants makes you cook more meals yourself, which has been shown to improve overall health.

For example, a study in 11,396 people found that eating home-cooked meals more frequently was associated with a greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

Plus, it found that people who ate home-cooked meals more than 5 times per week were 28% less likely to be overweight and 24% less likely to have excess body fat, compared with those who ate home-cooked meals less than 3 times per week .

Whats more, planning your meals a few days ahead can help you kill time and has even been shown to improve diet quality and reduce obesity risk (

15 ).

To combat dehydration, add a few slices of fresh fruit to your water to boost its flavor, which may help you drink more water throughout the day without adding a significant amount of sugar or number of calories to your diet.

Create A Structure To Your Day

When were just eating whenever we feel like it, and peaking in the fridge to see whats in there, we often end up ordering out, eating something that wasnt satisfying and yes overeating!

So set a time for when youll eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Include dessert & alcohol in this plan, too. If you can plan your actual meals ahead of time, even better. Many women find that creating a structure alone helps them lose weight. Check out Best Body for weekly meal plans if you need inspiration or more help with planning.

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Can People Be Addicted To Food

In recent years, food addiction has become a popular idea among some scientists. Those researchers say that certain foods high in fat, sugar, and salt are addictive, causing changes in the brain similar to those made by drugs. Studies in animals have shown that rats that binge on sugar, for example, can develop signs of dependency.

But the idea of food addiction is controversial. For one thing, the standard treatment for addiction is abstinence, and thatâs not possible with food. Also, âdieting is a very strong component of the binge eating cycle,â May says. âFrom that standpoint, itâs counterproductive to label certain foods as negative.â

Thereâs no doubt that eating can stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, Hudnall says. âBut that doesnât make food an addictive substance. Thereâs evidence that itâs actually the behavior — the restrict/binge cycle — that causes the signs of dependency, not the food itself,â she says. Some researchers have even stated that the term âeating addictionâ is a more accurate term than âfood addiction.â

Why We Eat When Were Stressed

Stress, Overeating and Binge Eating – How to Stop | MindFoodNess

Stress triggers our bodys fight or flight response that releases a hormone called cortisol into our blood stream. Cortisol increases hunger because the body craves energy to combat whatever stressor we may be facing. We especially turn towards junk food because our body craves energy-dense foods that are high in calories, sugar, and fat. Unfortunately, these foods actually increase stress further and contribute to weight gain.

Being overwhelmed by stress can also disrupt normal eating habits because eating diverts our attention away from the thoughts we want to avoid. This may provide temporary distraction and comfort, but it doesnt solve the underlying stress-causing problems. Studies have shown that stress levels do not decrease after overeating, and binging on junk food can actually cause more anxiety.

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Find Other Ways To Feed Your Feelings

If you dont know how to manage your emotions in a way that doesnt involve food, you wont be able to control your eating habits for very long. Diets so often fail because they offer logical nutritional advice which only works if you have conscious control over your eating habits. It doesnt work when emotions hijack the process, demanding an immediate payoff with food.

In order to stop emotional eating, you have to find other ways to fulfill yourself emotionally. Its not enough to understand the cycle of emotional eating or even to understand your triggers, although thats a huge first step. You need alternatives to food that you can turn to for emotional fulfillment.

How To Tell If Its Emotional Vs Physical Hunger

There are few telltale signs that can help you distinguish emotional hunger or stress eating from true, physical hunger:

  • Emotional stress eating usually comes on suddenly. You start feeling stressed or tense, and wham! Youre craving takeout nachos. On the other hand, physical hunger tends to come on gradually. Youre starting to feel hungry, but you can wait to eat which gives you some time to choose wisely and satisfy that hunger with something thats good for you.
  • Stress eating usually causes a craving for a food thats sugary, fatty, high calorie, and usually very specific. The craving isnt just for chocolate, but a slice of triple-layer fudge cake from Freds Diner on 6th. In contrast, when youre physically hungry, food in general sounds good to you. Youre willing to consider several options that will satisfy your physical hunger, which means youre more likely to make a better choice.
  • Once your physical hunger is satisfied and your stomach is comfortably full, its a signal that youve had enough, and you tend to stop eating. But when emotions are the driver, its easy to ignore what your stomach is telling you, and you wind up eating way too much in order to make yourself feel better.
  • Stress eating might lift your mood momentarily, but shame and guilt often move in just as quickly. When you finish a meal thats satisfied your physical hunger, you dont usually feel guilty afterward.

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Stick To A Regular Meal Schedule

Rather than eating at unplanned times or allowing your body to go for long periods of time without food, try adhering to a meal schedule. Thoughtfully space your meals out over the course of each day to keep your blood sugar stable and hunger levels at bay.

When you are satiated with nutritious foods, you are less likely to wind up craving sweets and succumbing to stress eating.

Maintain a normal eating schedule every day and consume healthy, filling foods to ensure your body gets both the calories and the nutrients it needs to feel content. These foods could include:

  • Beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Unsalted nuts

How To Relieve Stress Without Overeating

How to Stop Overeating for Fitness and Weight Control?

When stress affects someone’s appetite and waistline, the individual can forestall further weight gain by ridding the refrigerator and cupboards of high-fat, sugary foods. Keeping those “comfort foods” handy is just inviting trouble.

Here are some other suggestions for countering stress:

Meditation. Countless studies show that meditation reduces stress, although much of the research has focused on high blood pressure and heart disease. Meditation may also help people become more mindful of food choices. With practice, a person may be able to pay better attention to the impulse to grab a fat- and sugar-loaded comfort food and inhibit the impulse.

Exercise. While cortisol levels vary depending on the intensity and duration of exercise, overall exercise can blunt some of the negative effects of stress. Some activities, such as yoga and tai chi, have elements of both exercise and meditation.

Social support. Friends, family, and other sources of social support seem to have a buffering effect on the stress that people experience. For example, research suggests that people working in stressful situations, like hospital emergency departments, have better mental health if they have adequate social support. But even people who live and work in situations where the stakes aren’t as high need help from time to time from friends and family.

Recommended Reading: How Stress And Anxiety Affect The Body

Make Your Snack Count

Perhaps you’ve tried all these things and you still want a snack or dessert. Make dessert worth your while and consider it to be a treat. If you are eating dessert nightly, the odds are you are not enjoying it as much as you would if you had it on occasion.

Make an event of itgo out for a small ice cream once per week. If you find that you’d rather have a small treat before bed, aim to keep it to about 150 calories.

  • 1 container of low-fat Greek yogurt with under 5 grams of sugar
  • 1 low-fat pudding cup

Unlearn Your Bad Habits

Emotional eaters continually reinforce the idea that the best way to treat negative emotions is with food. And like other bad habits, stress eating happens before youve had a chance to think about it. For instance, one bad day may habitually lead you to five hours of television and one quart of ice cream. So, you need to un-learn your bad habits and practice doing something other than eating when a bad day strikes.

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Why You Stress Eat

People look for comfort in food for both physiological and psychological reasons.

The hormone cortisol rises with chronic stress and can lead to increased appetite, says registered dietitian Allison Knott. It can be true hunger if you have extended stress that is promoting this cortisol production to the point of impacting your appetite, she says.

But just as often, food is used as a numbing strategy, says Amanda Baten, a nutritional psychologist. Its a distraction strategy in the same way that people might use alcohol or drugs or sex or TV as ways to create a buffer between themselves and whatever difficult feelings they might be experiencing.

Eating can even spark some of the same neurological reactions that drugs do, albeit to a lesser extent. Brain imaging research has shown that when people binge on carbohydrates and sugars, it can actually activate the pleasure centers of the brain, Baten says. Research has shown that sugar, like heroin or cocaine, can cause the feel-good chemical dopamine to flood the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward. Sugar can also release endogenous opioids, the bodys natural painkillers, which creates a pleasant effect.

But just like drugs and alcohol, emotional eating is a bandage for stress, rather than a cure. A healthier response, Baten says, is recognizing that stress and negative emotions happen, and that we have to find sustainable ways to cope with them.

Why Do You Overeat

How To Stop Stress Eating

Stress can be one of the leading factors as to why people tend to overeat. To some people, food seems like a great escape to run away from their problems.

Research from Harvard indicates how stress correlates with weight gain. One study claims how negative moods are associated with overeating. Some overeaters see food as a way to self-medicate and improve their mood. 12

Up to fifty percent of people with BED or Binge Eating Disorder have obesity. Sources claim that due to their high insulin levels, emotional eating commonly occurs in overweight people.

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