Have you ever thought to yourself …? “Today is such a horrible day, I deserve something sweet otherwise I’m not going to make it through this day, I need something to make me feel better”
For many women, eating is tied to stress, anxiety and overwhelm – it’s an emotional coping mechanism – an emotional relief.
This is what I am hearing a lot lately…
“The anxiety level goes up, I am tired after a really stressful day, and I head to the freezer for ice cream. The sugar just calls to me, it’s like the high of the sugar is more important to me right now than my weight. I feel good for a little while but unfortunately, that moment doesn’t last”
Then the guilt creeps in, and that feeling can reinforce your bad eating habits.
Experts estimate that 80% of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger.
Here’s the real truth. If you don’t address the reasons that you are turning to food—the stress, the overwhelm, the emotions, worries, and needs that drive you to the kitchen—the weight struggles aren’t going to end.
Let me spill the beans here …most eating problems aren’t actually about food.
They are about self-soothing. Many smart, capable women have been unwittingly taught to self-soothe with food at an early age.
They are taught to find an escape from their emotions rather than to feel them, and to use food as a coping strategy.
There is one simple thing you can do to change things around – you start by taking the steps to address the reasons that you are craving food when you are not hungry.
And recognising when your emotions are making your eating decisions.
Here are 3 Ways To Turn Off Cravings In Times Of Stress – your coping strategies in times of stress…
Knowing and applying these 3 simple strategies will help you achieve that and ultimately take control.
This begins when you start paying attention, listening and identifying your needs. This is your learning opportunity.
Strategy 1- Pause and Ground Yourself
When you are emotionally charged you are also emotionally activated and this affects your decision-making.
This often leads to “mindless” behaviours like emotional eating.
When you pause, you create time to make a deliberate, smart decision, using your creative problem-solving skills that you use so well in other areas of your life.
Here are some tips:
- Leave the emotional situation, that may mean leaving your office or the place where it happened.
- Go outside or to a room or place where you can be alone.
- Take a few deep breaths
- Acknowledge what you are feeling, “I am really angry.”
- Take a few more breaths
- Choose your next step
B. Grounding Technique “5-4-3-2-1”
Using your 5 senses is a fast way to bring you out of your thoughts or intense emotions into the present moment.
This is a simple grounding technique you can do in the moment.
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Name 3 things you can touch within your immediate reach.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Name 1 thing you can taste.
You can watch this video to help you practise the Grounding Technique for Soothing Your Emotions.
Strategy 2 – Practice Mindfulness
A good way to counter stress eating, is to practice mindfulness. It is our ability to pause in such moments of vulnerability that can ultimately help us make the right choices.
· In that moment when you’re feeling hungry, bored, edgy, tired, or anxious pause, for a second, and ask yourself, “What am I feeding?”
· Be present with it rather than pushing it away
· Maybe in that brief pause you’ll hear a voice that says, “I’m scared/lonely/anxious/overwhelmed,”
· Pause just a second more and ask: “What does that emotion really need?
· Listen to the answer and your innate knowledge
This pause is where your POWER lies.
You can watch this video to help you manage your emotions with ease.
Strategy 3- Reflect and Learn
Instead of feeling guilty and frustrated about giving in to your cravings, you could try and use your “giving in” experiences as a learning strategy and identify what hasn’t worked.
Adopting a “Progress Not Perfection” attitude will help you compassionately examine and come up with other strategies for the future.
Reflecting and learning from the previous moments that didn’t go so well will help you build stronger strategies.
It may be useful to ask yourself the following questions (with compassion):
- Why didn’t my strategy work?
- What got in the way?
- What could I do differently next time?
From there you are ready to create a list of new strategies to try, taking into account:
- What feelings you identified came up for you
- Where you were when it happened?
- And asking yourself “How can I identify these feelings, needs earlier in the future?”
You can watch this video for easy steps to help you control stress cravings.
This is your time to learn how to take charge.
And by taking charge, I mean to assume control or responsibility over your stress eating habits.
In other words, you take charge of the two things you CAN control – your thoughts and your actions.
Today is a new beginning and a new chance for you to learn new ways to nourish yourself in ways that don’t involve food!
Now I would love to hear from you…
- How does stress eating help you cope, make life easier, or keep things moving in your life?
Please comment below, I would love to hear your story.
👌 If you’re SERIOUS about learning healthy ways to cope with stress that don’t include turning to food, click here to start your journey to a Lighter, Happier and Healthier you.
You won’t regret it, I promise...
Yours in health,
🍓Food & Mood 😃 Coach