25 Oct Stress Eating… is this you?
Stress Eating… is this you? You probably know this feeling all too well, I know I have…
A deadline looms at work, your social calendar is overbooked. Exercise has taken the back burner and at this same time you fill in the blank…..also needs your undivided attention. Something has to give in times of high stress, and often it’s your own self-care that takes the back seat. There isn’t time to sit down to eat, so you pick off your child’s plate or fit meals in during car rides, while on conference calls or sometimes even not at all.
You already know that relying on meals and snacks that are high in sugar, fat and salt (common go to’s when you’re stressed) can have a negative impact on your health. Recent research has found that the effect can be even more profound when you’re seriously taxed. A study conducted at the University of California found that highly stressed women whose diets are rich in these “comfort foods” have more belly fat and insulin resistance factors for heart disease and diabetes than women who make the same choices but are less tense.
If you find yourself in this category, try these great tips;
SLOW DOWN AND MAKE TIME
Eating on the run is one of the most common behaviours we use to fit in meals when we’re busy. We need to carve out a little bit of time for our meals. It doesn’t have to be long, just 15 minutes where you turn off all of the external stimuli and stress and make eating its own activity. Commit to eating breakfast and dinner before losing yourself in emails or tidying up the house.
INVITE A FRIEND
When meals are social, we tend to allow ourselves to enjoy the time away from our obligations and focus instead on food and friends. If making dinner reservations or having friends over adds to your stress level, plan instead to meet a co-worker for a lunch outside, or invite friends for a “bring your own” style meal that doesn’t require time-consuming preparation. Date nights with friends or your spouse are an important way to remind yourself of the celebratory aspects of food too. So consider scheduling at least one social meal per week to help you slow down and enjoy.
Remember that your meal should never be secondary to another activity. Eating in front of the television, computer or even a book distracts you from the experience of the meal and can lead to overeating. Eat mindfully, focusing solely on the food in front of you and the company at your table, even if it is just you. Think of your meals as an opportunity to recharge not just your body, but your mind as well. If you pay attention to the flavours and textures of your food, rather than multitasking at the table, you’ll feel more satisfied when the meal comes to an end.
WORK TO ADDRESS STRESS/ EMOTIONAL EATING.
There are certain types of foods that we inevitably turn to in times of stress, and they are not the ones that are going to energise our bodies effectively. Highly processed comfort foods, caffeine and alcohol are all best to avoid when you’re stressed. Popular comfort foods leave you feeling less energized, while caffeine actually increases the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. A few glasses of wine after a long day at work may calm your nerves initially, but over-consumption of alcohol can leave you feeling tired and run-down, and disturb your sleep, further contributing to high levels of stress.
If this sounds like you and you need a hand getting back on track, reach out, we are here and waiting to help.