Posted On 20 Aug 2018
When stressed out do you engage in healthy ways to cope with stress or self-destructive ones as stress eating. However, many women I work with admit that during stressful times healthy lifestyle and healthy stress management habits go out of a window.
It is much easier to reach for food as a source of comfort and sooth yourself with food. Over time you may have developed this particular coping habit and when stress and uncertainty increase, you turn to what you know, especially if it has associations of a simpler and safer time in your lives.
In a crisis, we call friends and family members. Just the sound of a loved one’s voice can be soothing. In the everyday crises of our lives, it’s easy to come home after a long day and turn to something we know – food.
This is known as emotional eating, or “stress eating,” or other terms that all refer to the consumption of food for reasons other than physical hunger and need for energy. Unfortunately, the ultimate comfort eating foods are often loaded with carbohydrates and fat — and come with strings attached — stress fat.
And if you continue to use stress eating to comfort, the kilos keep adding on and then you need more comforting because now you have additional stress – necessity to deal with an extra weight.
Most women would prefer to be managing stress in healthier ways, but when stress levels are high, many of us find it much more tempting to indulge in something delicious and easier than exercising or meditating.
Where to start to break that vicious comfort eating cycle?
Start by bringing more awareness to when and how you comfort yourself.
Have a range of soothing activities available to you, so that you feel like you have a choice. You may be in the habit of grabbing food on the way or as soon as you walk in the door.
Try to break that self-destructive habit by developing a new healthy habit.
When ever you feel an urge to eat, and you are not psychically hungry do something totally different to redirect your attention – it doesn’t matter what it is (drink a glass of water, walk a dog, paint, or knit, do a puzzle or crosswords ) as long as it is completely different from your usual routine. Eating in response to your triggers is a habit; choosing to do something else breaks the cycle.
Make a list of activities that soothe you before you need them and start doing them on a regular basis. You can overcome emotional eating through dozens of mindful activities that are healthy for both body and mind.
Write down both simple and more complicated ideas; be sure to include a few that don’t require any preparation or equipment. You may have different ideas for home, work, and other settings. Add new activities to your list as you think of them.
Having a variety of ideas ensures that you’ll come up with something that fits your mood or situation. That will help you build a new healthy habit of using other ways to soothe yourself besides eating.
Reach for your list instead of the refrigerator next time you feel the urge to snack. And remember, you’re redirecting your attention away from food because you don’t need it yet, not because you’re depriving yourself. Remind yourself that you’ll eat when you’re hungry.
Start small. Call a friend. Take a few deep breaths.Try mindfulness activity called blank mind exercise.
Small things can make a big difference.
Identify those times of the day that are most difficult for you and have your list handy.
For most women transition times from and to work and mid-afternoons are particularly hard. These are times of the day when your stress hormone cortisol level drops and your energy needs a boost and all women are in danger to fall into stress-induced eating trap.
Our lives are busy, often difficult and out of balance. In order to stay slim, calm and balanced you need to be proactive and find the ways to sooth yourself without food in a healthy way.