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Here are some tips on how to beat stress eating:

When Planning to Quit

1. Practise Introspection

Identify what exactly is causing you stress. Is it conflict with your boss or a partner? Are you rushing for a tight deadline?

Knowing what triggers an episode of stress eating will help you to avoid or find a solution for it in the future. Commit to a solution that works for you and keep at it.

2. Seek Support from Your Family and Friends

Confiding in your friends and family can help you through a tough situation. Remember to add that you’re trying to quit stress eating. Allow them to remind you and support you.

Related: Your Beat Stress Guide

When Quitting

A clear cup with an assortment of cut fruits.

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat

Consider starting a food diary. The Healthy 365 app is a great way to track your daily food and drinks intake and the corresponding calories consumed. Monitoring yourself is a good way to assess if you are eating out of hunger or stress.

It also helps you take a hunger reality check: every time you find yourself rummaging through the pantry, ask yourself if you are really hungry. If you’ve just eaten a full meal not too long ago, chances are, you aren’t.

4. Remove Temptation and Choose Healthier Snacks

Avoid keeping junk food around. If you must snack, opt for healthier choices such as nuts and fruits.

5. Find New Ways to Relieve Stress

Try experimenting with different ways to relieve stress instead of stress eating. Here are some quick on–the–go stress relief methods:

  • Take a walk or get a breather outdoors. Physically removing yourself from the stressful situation is a good way to relax. As you walk, take deep breaths to calm your mind.

  • Watch a funny video, read a joke, or engage in anything that makes you laugh. Laughing can help relieve tension and stress as it releases endorphins — which help to counteract stress — into the body.

Additionally, exercises such as running or swimming also increase endorphins in the body. Yoga and Tai Chi combine both exercise and meditation and are helpful in combating stress as well as maintaining a healthy weight.

Related: Take It Outdoors to Unwind

When You Stumble

6. Learn from Setbacks

Breaking the habit of stress eating is not easy. Don’t be too hard on yourself if and when you do slip up. Recognise your relapse triggers and avoid them in future.

When You Succeed

7. Reward yourself

Reward yourself with a small treat when you do manage to succeed. Just remember to avoid comfort eating as a treat and engage in something healthy or meaningful instead.

Read on to find out if comfort food is giving you stress.


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References

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (Feb 2012). Why stress causes people to overeat. [Website]
    Retrieved February 2017 from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat

  2. Breeze, J. (n.d.). Can Stress Cause Weight Gain? [Website]
    Retrieved January 2017 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1

  3. WebMD. (n.d.). How to Stop Emotional Eating. [Website]
    Retrieved January 2017 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/stop-emotional-eating

  4. Kromberg, J. (2013, Sep 18). Emotional Eating? 5 Reasons You Can’t Stop. Psychology Today.
    Retrieved January 2017 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out/201309/emotional-eating-5-reasons-you-can-t-stop

  5. Mayo Clinic. (2015, Oct 3). Tips to get your weight–loss efforts back on track [Website]
    Retrieved January 2017 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047342?pg=2

  6. Pells, J. (n.d.). Anxiety & Overeating — What’s the Overlap? [Website]
    Retrieved February 2017 from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/co-occurring-dual-diagnosis/anxiety/anxiety-overeating-whats-the-overlap

  7. Scott, J. R. (2016, Feb 17). What is Stress Eating? [Website]
    Retrieved January 2017 from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-emotional-eating-3495967