Are you the type that craves a snack when you start to feel your stress levels rising? Don’t worry, you’re not alone—the term ‘comfort food’ is popular for a reason, and that’s because whenever we’re anxious or troubled, a lot of us have been hardwired to turn to food. The problem is, not everyone goes for green leafy vegetables or any other healthier food option when stressed out. Instead, we choose junk food and for understandable reasons: these unhealthy options actually help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone itself, in our bloodstream—making the cycle of stress eating a habit that seems almost impossible to break.
But that’s not entirely true! There are steps we can all take to curb stress eating not only to stop this habit but also to introduce healthier coping mechanisms during times of stress. In today’s list, we introduce 3 ways that can help minimize—and even stop—stress eating for good.
- Hide or replace all that junk.
Those overly sugary, empty-calorie snacks you like munching on whenever you’re frazzled? Put them away where you can’t see them, and make sure they’re conveniently out of reach! Out of sight, out of mind: you don’t need temptation lying around and making it more difficult for you to stop yourself from stress eating. And here’s something even better: replace your junk food stash with healthier, more nutritious options altogether.
- Eat right.
By right, we mean two things: choose the best types of food that will keep you full for longer, and have set meal times to make sure you don’t end up so hungry that you opt for something quick and unhealthy. We already know that a quick snack, no matter how good, won’t satisfy hunger—so why not choose something more filling instead? That and if you eat on time, then you’re less likely to go looking for something to snack on even when you’re stressed.
- Manage stress.
Sometimes, it’s all about facing the problem head-on: what’s stressing you out? By figuring out your triggers, you can start looking at ways on how to manage stress. There are more effective ways to de-stress than just eating, and it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you. If you’re not sure how to proceed, here’s a list of stress management strategies to give you a headstart.
While it’s great if you could stop stress eating altogether and for good, don’t be so hard on yourself—breaking the habit can be a slow and gradual process. The most important thing is to make progress: start with the little things, like staying away from junk food, and then tackle the bigger, more complicated issues like pinpointing what’s causing you so much stress. Before you know it, you’re going for healthier options and managing stress like a pro. Good luck, and keep going. You can do it!