Whether it’s an angry email from your boss or a conflict with your significant other, sometimes the easiest way to cope with stressful situations is by reaching for that tub of ice cream—or eating the entire contents of your fridge. While food is comforting when you’re in a dilemma, this can quickly turn into a slippery slope.
Stress eating is a common way to seek relief and avoid pain. You may be guilty of doing it when you want to disconnect from the moment and focus on something else. Here are a few ways to stop the cycle of stress eating when those cravings hit.
Sip on Some Tea
When you’re feeling stressed out, the level of cortisol in your body increases. This is also known as the stress hormone and is directly related to weight gain. Studies have found that black tea brings cortisol levels down. So, brew a cup of your favorite tea, put your phone down, and take a few minutes just to breathe and be present in the moment. This is bound to get your cortisol levels back in check.
Physical activity can do wonders for your mood. It is not only an excellent way to deal with stress, but will also leave you energized and optimistic. Even something as simple as a 15-minute walk will help you clear your head and work through your issues. It will help you remember and focus on the goals you’ve set for yourself. You’re also unlikely to reach for that doughnut, and undo all the good you’ve done after a workout.
Take the Time to Relax
When you come home after a busy, stressful day, it can be tempting to reach for the first thing in sight. Instead of raiding your fridge, spend the first 30 minutes doing something calming. Play with your dog, do some yoga, go for a stroll in your garden, or take a warm shower. You’ll realize that you’re not so hungry anymore and successfully avoid stress eating.
When you stress eat, you’re turning to food as an escape, not because you’re actually hungry. That indulgent slice of cake or bag of potato chips may seem like just what you need when you’re feeling low. But it’s important to remember that the relief you feel is temporary. You’ll only gain weight and feel worse in the long run. By figuring out other ways to deal with your feelings, you find yourself reaching for unhealthy snacks less and less.