Many of your probably know that stress can sometimes cause you to overeat, and many of you have probably experienced this before. A lot of people, especially millennials, suffer from overeating because of stress levels. When you’re stressed out, make sure that it doesn’t affect your eating habits. Follow these tips to make sure that stress doesn’t overtake your diet.
Fight Fast Food
Stress might cause you to want to reach for the quickest foods possible, which by definition would be fast food. These kinds of foods can wreak havoc on your health, especially when you are stressed out. Even if you think you don’t have enough time, and that is what is causing you stress, take action to have quick-to-grab healthy foods around the house. Grapes, bananas, carrot sticks, and celery are easy to pack snacks that you can take with you on-the-go as well. Try as much as you can to have a home-cooked meal for dinner, too. It is healthier and will save you money. If time is your biggest stressor, focus on finding quick and easy meals to make for your family, or invest in a crock pot that will allow you to prepare something early, and have it all ready for later.
This is not necessarily to counteract the effects of overeating, but to reduce stress levels. Exercise itself helps your body release more endorphins, which can make you happier and reduce your stress. An added benefit to exercise is that if you have fallen victim to overeating due to stress, exercise can fight the effect that it has had on your body!
Get enough sleep
Stress can have a big impact on sleep as well. Not sleeping enough will also cause you to eat more at night, because oftentimes when people don’t get enough sleep their appetite increases. Although it may be difficult, try to get enough sleep and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Also, don’t skip meals during the day so that hunger keeps you up at night.
Before you dive into a bag of chips or a package of cookies, wait a few minutes. The craving will probably pass, and you will save hundreds of calories. Because many of the cravings we have for food are not driven by actual hunger, they might go away if you just resist. Of course, if you have waited more than a few minutes and you are still hungry, it is probably hunger that is not stress-related. When you are feeling stressed out, you need to distinguish when you are hungry due to stress versus actual hunger.
Don’t keep the foods that you crave the most around the house
Try to recognize which foods you crave most when you are stressed out, and don’t keep those around the house. It is a lot easier to avoid temptation when it is not easy-to-reach. When foods you crave are less easily accessible, you are less likely to extend to other measures in order to get them. If you have fresh fruits, vegetables, low fat or fat-free dairy products, or whole grain snacks around, you can opt for one of those.
Focus on another activity
When you are feeling hunger due to stress, channel that energy and stress into something other than eating. If you spend more time focusing on something else, you will forget about those cravings altogether. Other activities that you could engage in could be exercise, drawing or coloring, or taking up a new hobby. Another great thing about these activities is that they can act as de-stressors and take the place of stress eating completely. Whatever activity you choose, however, make sure to keep your hands busy.
Stress does not affect everyone’s appetites the same. For some, stress can have no impact on appetite at all, but for others, it can cause them to feel little to no hunger. But remember, eating too little isn’t good for you, either. Maintaining a healthy diet, not overeating or undereating, as well as eating the right foods, is so important for your body. It is also vital to your overall health, mental health, and keeping your stress levels in check. If you feel that you are too stressed out, and it has taken a toll on your diet, then you may benefit from speaking to a counselor. Schedule an appointment with Corner Canyon Counseling today!