3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating

We have all been there. It`s lunch time, you have a million things on your to-do list and the day is simply not long enough to get through all of it. And there’s no way you can prevent stress eating when your day is like that.

Your tummy is screaming for food, there is a headache lingering in the background due to lack of hydration and you know you just need to eat something.

In situations like this, I usually just chuck down whatever is available. I don`t care what it is, I just need something to keep me going. Sometimes I can`t even remember what I had for lunch later on, I can`t recall the taste, colours, texture or feeling full.

3 Tips to Prevent Stress Eating | Downsize Me

And then there is the guilt for propping your body with something maybe not that healthy….again.

But what if you could change that pattern?

What if you could actually prevent stress eating in the first place?

You know this way of eating isn’t working for you. You want to ENJOY your food.

After all, food and eating a meal should be something that gives you a good vibe and feeling of wellness. Food is fuel and we need it…..and imagine if you could just enjoy it too?

3 Tips to Prevent Stress Eating

1. Set a weekly time slot aside to plan your meals

3 Tips to Prevent Stress Eating | Downsize Me

Set aside some time on the weekend to plan your weekly meals, get the groceries you need, and pre- cook as much as you can.

Salads, soups, stir fry… it is absolutely do-able! This helps you to free up time during the week, so that your meals are there, ready for you to actually enjoy.

2. Keep some healthy snacks handy, for when you just need a little fuel

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating | Downsize Me

Foods like nuts (containing healthy fats), low GI fruit (containing carbs for brain fuel), canned tuna or sardines (for calming proteins) are convenient and relatively easy to store, transport and eat. Another great snack can be chick nuts or fava nuts. These are a delicious, dried whole food.

All these are perfectly snack-sized! Having healthy snacks on hand is an easy way to prevent you from eating those quick-fix, unhealthy snacks.

3. Keep your water bottle close – or enjoy a herbal tea

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating | Downsize Me

Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you are actually thirsty. So having a water bottle handy can help you prevent stress eating by filling that void by something you really need – water.

Or maybe, you just need a break!

A herbal, non-caffeinated tea can be soothing and calming and might give you the short time-out that you need.

Mindful Eating to Prevent Stress Eating

One powerful key to help prevent stress eating in the first place is simply to be mindful when eating.

But what exactly IS mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be defined as being in the moment, right here, right now. Mindfulness is paying attention to what is going on within your body but also around your body, without judgement or criticism (Bays, 2009). 

7 Tips to Start Mindful Eating

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating | Downsize Me

To bring a little bit of mindfulness into your meal or eating habits, try this:

  1. When you are at work – log off, leave your phone, walk away from your desk, go sit somewhere else – you do need a break to keep your productivity up.
  2. Take a few deep breaths just to calm yourself down, leave the hectic morning and all the buzz around, behind. You can always find it later. 
  3. Slow down. Try to turn your awareness to where you are right now and focus on what you are about to do.  Also, slowing down gives you time to think, am I really hungry? Or is it just a habit? Slowing down might also give you a chance to go for a healthier choice of food as well.
  4. Use your five senses: look, smell, hear, taste and touch.
    • Look at the colour of your salad
    • Use your nose, smell your stir fry
    •  listen to the noise around you, the clinking of cutlery, other people talking.
    • Taste and feel every piece of food you put in your mouth. Feel the texture of your food.
  5. Think about the food you are eating, where does it come from, what is it that you are eating?
  6. Listen to your stomach as you eat. When you start to feel full, stop. Feel good about eating and if you feel like eating a cookie? So what? Use your senses again, taste, smell, texture – enjoy eating.
  7. And when you are feeling full, stop eating and feel good about it. (Fraga, 2016) (Bays, 2009).

Why Would I Do This?

1. We all have to eat to survive – so it might as well be fun!

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating | Downsize Me

If you have to eat to survive, then you can make a choice – to be a stress eater, or, to get rid of all the stress and enjoy a healthy relationship with food, through mindful eating.

Mindful eating is relaxing, calming and enjoyable. Mindfulness lowers your stress hormones.

In that case, which would you choose?

2. It’s surprisingly simple to do.

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating | Downsize Me

Mindful eating simply involves enjoy eating many different kinds of food and stop eating when you are full.

It means letting go of obsessing about food, or counting calories in order to decide if you can allow yourself to eat something or not.

Listen to your body, learn how to know your body and your needs (Bays, 2009).

There are studies out there that shows us that using mindful eating, especially for women, helps lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, even when eating out several times per week (Timmermann G, 2012).

How good is that?

So whatever you do, wherever you are, be all there!

Do you eat mindfully, and if so, how do you make it a regular part of life? Comment below!

References

Bays, J. C. (2009). Mindful eating A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food. Boston and London: Shambhala.

Fraga, J. (2016, 03 16). The Washington Post. Retrieved from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/03/16/how-schools-are-using-mindful-eating-to-help-prevent-eating-disorders/

Timmermann G, B. A. (2012). The Effect of a Mindful Restaurant Eating Intervention on Weight Management in Women. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, 22-28.

Kristin Svarva

Kristin Svarva

Downsize Me Healthy Lifestyle Coach

I’m a chiropractor, physiotherapist and qualified health and wellness coach who loves helping women create healthier lifestyle habits.