How to Avoid Stress Eating

How to Avoid Stress Eating

How to avoid gaining weight when you’re stressed.

First, start with what is causing you stress. Do you reach for food when you’re stressed? Do you crave carbs and sugar when you’re stressed? Stop at the moment and ask yourself, “Why am I eating right now?” Have a conversation with yourself. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. It doesn’t mean that you don’t eat whatever you are intending to eat, but it’s more about having the awareness of your habits. This will allow you to identify your triggers.

Try keeping a journal as that may reveal your habits or triggers that you didn’t know about. On your “good” days, you can look at what did you do that day that made a difference in your behavior. When you start to keep track of your feelings, you may identify a tendency to be too hard on yourself. Remember to be kind and loving to yourself.

How to reduce stress?

What can you do to reduce stress? Restorative yoga, meditation, or even just breathing can help get you relaxed. You don’t have to take a full class, you can just do it at home for a few minutes. Remember, the little steps over time can add up to bigger changes in the long run. Eating balanced meals, 3 per day, is very important. Make sure to eat grains in small amounts. When you have fruit for a snack, make sure it’s paired with a protein. If you have issues reducing your intake of carbs and sugar, then I suggest you sign up for my Sugar Buster program where you can get off the sugar roller coaster in as few as 5 days.

Drinking enough water throughout the day is so essential. Did you know that often thirst is confused with a hunger craving? If you’ve had a good, balanced meal, and you think you’re feeling hungry between meals, then drink a glass of water first to see if you really are hungry.

How stress affects you

Stress can affect your sleep as well. When you don’t sleep well, you not only hold onto unnecessary weight but then you crave more things like caffeine and sugar to keep you motivated through the day. Getting enough sleep will help reduce your stress and anxiety, but it’s also the right hours of sleep. I suggest following the Traditional Chinese Medicine guidelines and sleep between 9pm-5am or 10pm-6am. This way, your body is going to get the most restorative sleep possible. Sleeping within these times supports your system to rejuvenate and replenish your energy so you wake up feeling

I suggest following the Traditional Chinese Medicine guidelines and sleep between 9pm-5am or 10pm-6am. This way, your body is going to get the most restorative sleep possible. Sleeping within these times supports your system to rejuvenate and replenish your energy so you wake up feeling alert and ready to face the day.

Beat stress with these tips

Daily exercise is not only important for your body, but it will also move your stagnant Qi. Now, this doesn’t have to be heavy-duty cardio, but it could just be a brisk walk around the block at lunchtime. Just get out in nature and move your body in some way that you enjoy.

The other thing you can do, when you’re feeling stressed, is to stop and take 5 deep belly breaths. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Inhaling, let your belly expand like a big Buddha belly and the fully exhale allowing your belly to retract. Doing this type of deep breathing will engage your parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the one that tells your body all is safe so you stop pumping out cortisol and adrenaline to fight off the oncoming attack. Logically, you know, you are not in a life-threatening situation, but your body doesn’t’ know that until you breathe deeply and relax.

It’s progress, not perfection.

Perfection is super hard to maintain. Always do your best and remember that you can’t control everything. Is it really as bad as you think? Does this situation warrant all this mental energy that you’re using? I love the saying “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.”

How to stop the negative downward spiral?

Have you ever noticed how you get on a negative thought and then it just keeps spiraling around to the next negative thought? And, before you know it, you’re in the downward spiral of negativity? When this happens, just stop. When you stop and acknowledge that your brain is on the negative train, it allows you to interrupt the flow of negative thoughts and emotions. Just think to yourself, “Yep, there I go again with the negative thinking.” Once you start to identify the pattern, you can stop the habit.

As I’ve shared in the past, human brains are wired for negativity in order to survive. If you are an over-thinker, then you might also find some relief in an amino acid called GABA. I like a chewable form and I use it mostly if I wake up at 3 am and can’t get back to sleep because my brain is actively figuring out my schedule for the next day. If you’d like to try some GABA, I’d be happy to suggest a brand I use with my patients.

Have some fun.

What is fun for you? Reading, walking in nature, crazy cat videos, or getting a massage can all increase your serotonin levels. That’s your happy hormones and you want more of that if you have been in a negative mood. You can also naturally increase your serotonin by keeping a gratitude journal.

How about a buddy?

Having someone you can share with when you are feeling overwhelmed, is a great solution. Friends and social connections are a key component to living longer and healthier. Your buddy can also be an exercise buddy. There’s nothing better than knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to work out.

It’s all about the small stuff.

Whenever you can make small changes, you will benefit from it in the long term. Remember progress, not perfection. So take just one meal per week and make it homemade and healthy. Start working out just 15 minutes, 2 times per day. Remember to breathe when you’re feeling stressed. Include protein with all your meals and snacks. If you do have that 3 pm slump in energy, instead of reaching for the caffeine, drink some water and take a walk.