We've all been there—a bad day at work can lead to reaching for junk food when you finally get home to unwind. With all the stressful things that life throws your way on a daily basis, it's easy to find solace in the comforts of unhealthy foods.
Alleviating your stress with junk food may be tempting, but it's a slippery slope that can deter you from reaching your weight loss goals. Stress is normal from time to time. And learning how to handle stress in a constructive way can put you on the path towards a healthier lifestyle.
It can be difficult to manage weight gain when you are under stress, but the good news is that there are healthy ways to deal with it! If you are like others who struggle with emotional eating, you know that overeating while stressed can happen whether you are hungry or not and may result in an unwanted number when you step on the scale.
Here are some helpful ways to reduce overeating when life becomes a little on the frantic side:
- Take five! Relax and try to reset when you feel muscle tension, anxiety and a bad mood coming on. Recognizing these irritants first can keep you from mindlessly overeating later.
- Be mindful of what you eat! Before you start snacking, remind yourself why you are eating - if you aren't hungry, put the food down - chances are, you are stress eating.
- Change your pace. If you feel tempted to emotionally eat, distract yourself with a calm session of yoga or relaxing bath to take your mind off of food.
- Get your zzz's! Make sure to get enough sleep. Feeling tired will not do you any favors in the focus department, and focus can help avoid mindless eating.
- Don't skip breakfast! Feeling full is the best way to keep you from unhealthy snacking triggered by stress throughout the day, so make sure you are starting the day out right.
- Remove trigger foods from your life. Identify those go-to foods that tempt you to indulge in stress eating and keep them away from home or work. If they are not around when stress hits, you won't be tempted to sneak a snack.
- Exercise reduces stress and increases endorphins - so next time you feel overwhelmed, try working out and see how much your mood improves!
A healthy mind and body are important for any lifestyle change, including losing weight. The next time you feel overwhelmed (we've all been there!), take a deep breath and use the tips above to deal with and manage your stress in a healthy way.