Beating Stress Eating
Tips to avoid the dangers of overeating
If you struggle with weight loss, you know—it can be incredibly stressful. The battle with obesity is more than enough to make anyone emotional, and unfortunately, stress and high emotion make almost all of us crave the foods that are worst for us, that have the most potential to derail any otherwise perfect weight loss plan. After lap band surgery, it’s crucial to stick to your diet plan if you’re to be successful, and stress eating is one thing that can throw even the most determined of us off track.
So how do we effectively avoid stress eating? Generally avoiding stressful situations whenever possible will, of course, help reduce your chances of giving in to stress eating. However, it’s impossible to completely avoid stress and negative emotion in our lives, and though dealing with the emotional core of these issues can be complex and difficult, these strategies will help put the brakes on your stress eating straight from the get-go.
- Distract Yourself. If you get the urge to run for the fridge for an unhealthy treat, force yourself instead to do something else you enjoy and leave the idea of eating behind entirely. Getting out of your home can help, so try going for a walk or bike ride to clear your head. Or, engage your brain in ways that don’t involve food—call a good friend for a quick conversation or pick up an intellectually-stimulating book, article or movie.
- Figure Out Food Triggers. If you can figure out what factors in your lifestyle are most likely to cause you to overeat, it makes preventing stress eating all the easier. You may find yourself slipping up in your post-surgical eating plan when confronted by a big project at work or have too much going on at home—whatever it is, finding out what most affects your emotional eating will help you adjust your eating patterns and stay wary when triggers rear their ugly heads.
- Ditch the Unhealthy Stuff. One very simple way to avoid unhealthy emotional eating is to just avoid keeping unhealthy foods in your home. If you have a big chocolate cake sitting in your fridge, what do you think is most likely to call out to you when you’re feeling stressed out? Instead, keep some healthy snacks around. Next time you’re feeling frustrated or stressed out, reach for some raw nuts instead of candy—their natural protein, carbs and healthy fat will fill you up without being detrimental to your health.
Next time you’re feeling emotionally-overwhelmed and want to raid the pantry, ask yourself—am I hungry or just stressed out? This question and the tips above will help you arm yourself against stress eating and keep it from causing your weight loss plans to backslide.