If I ask you why you eat certain foods, I’m sure the only reason won’t be hungry or to nourish your body. Sometimes, it’s because some foods taste great and it’s okay to enjoy them occasionally. But if you find that you are constantly going after some sugary drinks, snacks, cakes, or fatty foods when stressed or bored, then you’re likely indulging in emotional eating. Symptoms of stress include tiredness, anxiety, depression and can be a result of excessive work, financial issues, family responsibilities, e.t.c
Some studies have shown that people with negative moods are more likely to prefer sugary and fatty foods over healthier alternatives. Coping with stress this way may lead to addiction to these foods and being overweight or obese over time which brings guilt and low self-esteem.
So what are the better ways of coping with stress and overcoming emotional eating??
First, it’s important to understand that no matter how you are feeling, food is usually not the cure even though it may satisfy you momentarily. Also, prepare yourself for stressful situations and how you are going to handle them. No, you might not succeed at your first attempt of not indulging your cravings when stressed but you will be able to master the situations the more you try! Here are a few tips:
1. Journal your thoughts
Writing how you feel in a diary before munching on anything can help control stress. This is because you’re able to release the negative emotions, have a better perspective of the pending situation, and may be able to reflect on possible solutions. Writing how you feel is one of the best ways to cope with stress.
2. Seek friendly support
We all need friendly support once in a while. Calling a friend when stressed even without talking about what you are going through can distract you from the stress and help you create new and exciting memories.
3. Engage in stress-relieving exercises
Almost all types of exercise have been shown to reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and help produce the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters called the endorphins (also known as mood elevators). Taking some time out to exercise daily can help clear your mind, get in shape and improve your self-image. Some studies also show that stretching exercises and meditation can help to reduce breathing rate and lower blood pressure.
4. Write out your health goals
While a negative mood can make you focus on sweet foods that may numb your emotions, setting health goals such as achieving a healthy body weight, a life free of cardiovascular diseases or healthful aging can help influence your food choices. Write out your health goals and how you want to achieve them, you may also get a food diary to record your daily food intake to be sure you are constantly on track and making progress!
5. Use food to your advantage
There are some foods that you might not likely crave when stressed but have been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. This is because these foods are rich in antioxidants, probiotics, and omega 3 fatty acids, all of which help to improve gut and brain health. These foods include bananas, dark chocolates (about 70% cocoa), oat, nuts, yogurt, fatty fish fruits, and vegetables. You can substitute these foods as healthier alternatives to fatty or sugary foods.
Hope you found these tips helpful! If you are struggling with weight loss or developing realistic healthy diet plans, you can consult with a dietitian and get on our diet lifestyle plan today!