Its really common for us to use foods to cope with emotions. So common that eating ice cream when we’re sad has become a cliche. Consuming satisfying foods can help raise our dopamine levels short term, but soon after that split moment the levels drop and we experience negative emotions such as guilt, regret, anger and sadness.
Once we create that relationship between food and emotion we have developed an unhealthy habit. Why so? Food, at its core, is meant to nourish us with nutrients. To provide us with energy and aid with healing when our body is unbalanced. Once food is associated with an emotion, we loose sight of its purpose and shut down our mindful and intuitive approach to it.
I decided to focus this post on Stress eating. What many of us know as binge eating when we are stressed.
What does stress eating look like?
Stress eating is usually overeating when we already feel satisfied. Usually when we stress eat, our mind is venturing somewhere else. Whether that is on something we have to do, overthinking an assignment, worrying about the future or whatever may be in your mind that is causing you to feel stressed. Stress eating can mean eating larger meals but usually it is related to snacking. That is because, food isn’t really what the body is craving but its the chewing distraction that our bodies want.
Stress eating can cause a negative relationship with food.
Can result in negative emotions towards self
Pour digestion due to lack of mindful eating and proper chewing
How can we overcome it naturally?
Like any habit, it takes mind power to change. Stress eating is usually overlooked and can be hard to stop at times, however is you’re ready to stop this habit, there is a couple things you can try to do to change. Studies show that it takes 21 days to stop a bad habit.
What to do on these 21 Days:
Become mindful and aware: Once you feel stressed, notice how your body reacts. If you find yourself making your way to the kitchen. Stop and ask yourself “am I truly hungry?” If the answer is no, serve yourself a glass of water of tea to help relax and remind yourself you are capable of overcoming this habit.
The alternatives: If stress eating means chips and chocolate, while you are working to stop switch it up with snap peas, pistachios and edamame, carrots. Have these available in your house so it is easy to access.
Eating: If you do decide to eat something, bring your focus to the present moment. Take 3 deep breaths and allow yourself to eat slowly and notice how your body is reacting to the food. Most times we will realize we actually don’t even want to be eating at the moment.
Deal with it differently: The stress strikes, take 3 deep breaths. Use lavender essential oils on your wrists. Place a little on your palms and inhale 3 times. Another breathing technique is inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 8. Usually we will notice that the longer we exhale for the more relaxed we will feel. Notice how your body feels. If it feel energetic, go for a run or do quick 15 jumping jacks and allow for it to release the energy.
Don’t multitask : This is going to cause our minds to be all over the place and you won’t be in tune with your body any more and won’t be conscious of how much you are eating and how much you really want/need to eat at the moment.
Eat real food: Eat eat eat. This is not about eating less its about eating right. Make sure our meals are nutrient dense, if we get enough nutrients our bodies will feel full and we will be less likely to binge eat.
My one advice is to not reprimand yourself. Its important go hold yourself accountable specially when you want to achieve a goal, but remember to accept yourself and embrace the process. It takes 21 days to eliminate bad habits because they are so ingrained in us. With will power we can do it. Instead of talking yourself down in the process
I suggest talking yourself up with these affirmations:
“ I am taking care of my body because I love it too much not to”
“ It feels so amazing to nourish my body with love”
Learning & Growing,