Here’s something you won’t learn with the latest diet. If you ignore the connection between stress and eating, your plans to slim down or eat healthier are sunk before you start. Emotional eating is just one of the ways that stress and eating can get all tangled up.
There is so much more involved.
For instance—stress doesn’t just exist in your thoughts. Stress affects your biochemistry. Stress creates both cravings and weight gain. It disrupts sleep and this affects how hungry you feel (it’s not just emotional hunger when you are sleep-deprived), your metabolism, your energy, motivation, your tendency to give in to emotional eating, and yes, your weight.
Stress affects your ability to problem solve creatively and choose lasting, effective solutions. Stress and eating can become even more linked when reaching for chocolate or eating too much seems like the most convenient, time-effective, least painful way to feel better and find some temporary comfort. It doesn’t matter that you know what to do. If you are too stressed out, you just might not feel able to do it.
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Stress can make you cranky and more irritable and more easily frustrated.
Raise your hand if one of your emotional eating triggers is conflict or anger or guilt (or worrying that someone is upset with you).
Yep. Stress and eating connect in ways that should not be ignored and it’s essential to break the cycle if you want to find success (and happiness).
So what’s a busy, overloaded, sometimes-stressed-out woman to do?
Thankfully, there is a solution. And it’s not calorie counts or more exercise. Before you embark on your next “fresh start” or decision to have more willpower, work harder, and get tougher with yourself, I’d like to gently (but strongly) suggest a kinder, better, more effective approach to break the stress and eating cycle.
My advice: reset your focus and take a deep dive into self care.
Self care is not just bubble baths and massages (although these are nice). Self care is the art of knowing how to tune into yourself and then get yourself what you need. It’s both a mindset and a set of tools and strategies. It’s the path to thriving. It’s also the crucial key to ending overeating and emotional eating for a lot of women with too much on their plates (pun intended). In this particular situation, self care means allowing yourself to breathe deep and respectfully acknowledge how stress and eating are connected for you.
Let’s turn things upside down.
Before you attack the eating, what if you gave yourself some help with the stress? Start by identifying your biggest sources of stress. How do stress and eating connect for you?
Want some help breaking the automatic connection between stress and overeating? Download your free cheat sheet – How to Stop Stress Eating
The next step is to take a kind, gentle look at what you need to be more effective.
- Less stress?
- More comfort?
- New strategies?
- A different kind of support?
- More confidence prioritizing you?
The gaps that you find, the places that need attention—this is your new starting point. And this is the first problem to tackle.
Take good care,