Do you ever feel like your plans to get healthy, eat better, and take more time for yourself get derailed by your stressful life? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, strategically tackling stress and its effects can be the most powerful thing you can do to stop overeating and create a lasting peace with food.
Stress and weight gain often go hand in hand, and one of the biggest reasons is the link between stress and overeating and emotional eating – especially for women.
Do you want to prevent stress eating and weight gain? Here are 4 stress eating traps to be aware of.
- Stress and busyness can easily lead to neglecting your own needs and self-care when time is tight. When this happens, reaching for something to eat can be an all-to-easy response to stress and the feelings that go with it. Food is easy, almost always accessible, and you can usually indulge while you are doing other things (unfortunately, multitasking while eating often exacerbates weight gain).
- Saying no or claiming time for yourself during stressful times can be (even more of) a challenge. Grabbing a cookie doesn’t require you to make waves or take “extra” time. In the face of stress, it’s easy to act on autopilot, and choose the easier, more fattening, and less fulfilling option.
- A common side effect of stress or having too much to do is getting too little sleep. Sleep deprivation actually causes us to crave more fattening foods and to feel hungrier. It’s easy to reach for food in an attempt to perk up or feel a burst of energy when you are tired and stressed and you still have a lot to do.
- Stress and overload can lead to overeating as a way to avoid or numb out. If you feel like you just can’t handle one more thing, reaching for a piece of chocolate or burying yourself in the leftovers can be a way to numb out, distract, or procrastinate when faced with more stress, more projects, deadlines, and tough situations.
Paying attention to why you are overeating allows you to effectively target strategies that are going to help. No diet in the world will lower the stress in your life. Changing tactics and learning to create peace with food can drastically diminish the power food and overeating have in your life.