Let’s face it. Sometimes this “adulting” thing gets pretty stressful. Sometimes after an insane day you feel overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted. At that point, any quick-fix solution sounds good.
But if you’re like I was, you frequently find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator looking for stress relief (and a LOT more often than you wish you did.)
Maybe you head straight for the vending machine at work when the day gets crazy. Or you grab a snack (or two) out of the cabinet as you pack your kid’s lunch (while said kid screams in the background.)
I bet you also know by now that refrigerators, cabinets, and vending machines don’t have the answers to life’s toughest moments.
Let’s be real. When you grab a bag of chips for emotional support, you usually get to the bottom of the bag before you get to the bottom of the stress.
Even worse, you set yourself up for damaging default patterns. You create habits that lead to binging, weight gain, and perpetual struggle with food.
But nonetheless, stress eating is still a thing.. Food is still all too easy to reach for when you’re desperate to make your stress go away.
If you’ve had enough of anxiety eating for one lifetime, read on!
I’ll show you how to stop stress-based eating once and for all. You’ll learn better ways to handle triggering emotions than standing in front of the refrigerator, looking for answers that food can’t give you.
Stop stress eating and start creating a more peaceful relationship with your food (and yourself) starting right now!
Read on, and I’ll show you how.
Nobody likes to feel stressed out. But the choices you’ve been making to quell that stress might be doing more harm than good. Turning to food is definitely one of them.
The more you respond to stress with food, the more you create a default pattern. Eventually when your body screams STRESS, your brain triggers you to eat.
But what if there were better ways to manage stress than gorging on cookies and candy? The good news is that there are–and I’m sharing them with you today!
There are steps that will help prevent food-stress triggers, and steps to deal with the triggers when they arise.
The proactive side helps you prepare for heightened stress states so you can manage them more effectively. The reactive side shows you what to do in the moment when you’re feeling the sting of stress.
Let’s start with what you can do to prevent stress eating in the first place.
Stress Management Strategy #1: The Proactive Side. Think of stress management as a tank, and that tank is filled with your ability to manage stress. As you go through your day, you rely on the reserves to deal with crazy moments as they come up.
So every decision that you make, every overwhelming moment, screaming kid, traffic jam, or work incident takes a little bit out of your tank.
If you’re not careful to keep your tank on full, you’ll eventually burn out like a car that ran out of gas (and reach for the nearest snack you can find).
So fill your stress management tank proactively. That way, when you really need it, you’ve got the “gas” to keep going with your day.
Here’s the deal. When you’re running on empty, you can’t expect to handle a stressful moment like a Zen master. But if you keep your reserves on high, you’ll stand a lot better chance of moving through life’s trials with (relative) ease.
What can you do to keep your tank full so that when life happens, you don’t head straight for the refrigerator?
You don’t necessarily have to take extravagant actions like bubble baths or massages. Simple things will definitely make a difference!
Simple actions like deep and intentional breathing work wonders. Checking in with yourself periodically for a mindfulness moment is a great thing to do. You could listen to a favorite song or take a short walk.
Small actions add up fast. They help you release stress instead of shutting it down. They keep your stress management tank full without resorting to candy, caffeine, or chips.
Because the more you go through the day, drinking coffee to stay alert and pushing down every stressful moment, the worse it gets.
But if you take proactive action to keep your tank full, it builds up resiliency for those stressful moments. You’re a lot less likely to turn to food when life gets crazy.
Right now, take a moment and think of a few ways to fill your stress management tank. What favorite actions can you take throughout your day to keep your tank on full?
Stress Management Strategy #2: The Reactive Side. Now, how do you handle those unexpected stress surges without going for the cabinet?
This is getting into acute emotional eating territory, and those triggers can make you want to grab the first snack you see.
With this kind of emotional eating, it usually goes from stressful event to grabbing a snack, and without a pause. If there is a pause, it turns into a mental downward spiral.
You say things to yourself like, “should I eat this, should I not eat this?” and “you’ve had a stressful day, go ahead and eat it,” and “yes, eat it. No, wait, don’t eat it.”
The key is to put some space between the stress and the response.
Pause and connect with yourself. Ask yourself what you need, and if you honestly want that cookie, or you’ve just had a rough day.
With that pause, you could do many things. Breathing is helpful. Emotional state changes are useful, too. You can also include this question:
“I know I want food, but is there anything else I need? How am I actually feeling, and what do I need?”
If you decide to go ahead and eat something, that’s fine. Just be sure you’re choosing from a place of connection instead of stress.
Not that getting to that centered place is necessarily that easy, especially when you first start practicing. It’s not always easy to just BE with your emotions.
Maybe you push past these moments. You might live life in overdrive, like so many of us do. We’re talking about plowing through every day with a long to-do list, a jammed calendar of obligations, and not much rest.
But then you sit down for a moment, and it all hits you. You’re left with nothing but yourself and your stuffed emotions. This is when many of us reach for a distraction of any kind.
You start scrolling on Social Media. You watch something silly on TV. Or reach for the cabinet and grab anything that you find.
All these things are recipes for self-sabotage.
The reactive strategy is to stop, pause, and make space before you make a choice.
During this pause, don’t fight yourself, or make yourself wrong. Simply connect with yourself and honor your feelings. Then decide what you need to feel the way you want to feel.
You might have noticed I frequently encourage you to ask yourself what you truly need. It’s a part of both the proactive and reactive strategies I outline here. That’s because it’s one of the most important things you can ask yourself.
I ask myself this question all the time, even now. These honest self-check ins have helped me get to a place of genuine freedom.
I mean a place without binge and emotional eating. Where you can get through a stressful day without relying on comfort food. Where weight releases naturally without dieting or restriction.
These strategies were such game-changers for me. Now, I want to support you in making them work for you!
I created a special gift for you at the link below. It’s a free training to help you break the stress eating cycle for good, and put you on the road to what we call Food Freedom Forever.
Done with emotional eating and ready to take back your power? Click the link below, and I’ll send that training directly to your inbox!
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever gotten wound up in stress eating? Leave me a comment and let me know your biggest takeaways and a-has from this post! And if you need any additional support, we’re here for you!
First, grab your free gift at the link above. Then if you have additional questions, leave a comment below and tell me how we can help you let go of stress eating for good!