Recent studies indicate that eating food is an easy way to suppress chronic stress and depression. Unfortunately, eating food to alleviate stress may lead to weight gain and health issues in the long-run. As long as you keep your stress eating under control, it may not affect your body as much. But, if external events such as a big change in your life cause you to experience chronic stress, your formerly benign stress-relief eating strategy could cost you your self-image, your shape, and even your health.
There are several easy ways to stop stress eating from ruining your shape. The most obvious one is to keep your stress under control. However, you can go much further than that and find new ways to respond to life’s challenges and keep your weight down.
Why Stress Eating May Seem a Natural Thing to Do at First
I believe stress eating and eating because you’re bored follow the same pattern. You’re feeling something, and you’re unsure what it is, but it makes you uncomfortable. Then you feel stress or boredom. In this case, stress then becomes really hard to handle until you reach for your favorite fix—food. In other words, stress eating is just an upper layer of emotional eating, but more about that in a minute.
It seems from scientific research that eating creates a cascade of bodily responses that make you feel calmer. In other words, different foods can serve as anxiety pills. You may feel that you are not soothing your nerves but, if you’re a stress eater, food is your chemical stress suppressant.
So if you want to learn how to stop stress eating, first acknowledge that food has been your drug, and then decide to find new ways to alleviate stress now. Done? Great! ….
This Is How You Handle Stress Without Putting on Weight:
If you have experienced several big traumas or a series of small traumas, especially during childhood, your brain may have learned to overreact. If that is the case, the smallest perceived threat can produce an intense stress response.
The human brain has not evolved to handle modern society’s sources of stress. It knows survival instincts and the flight or fight response but has forgotten how to release it.
Before I started healing past traumas, I was in freeze mode most of the time. I would numb myself and feel nothing or I would feel extremely intense levels of stress despite the lack of major external stimuli. If you’re experiencing similar erratic surges of stress, I strongly advise you to contact a matrix reimprinting practitioner like myself and use all the techniques I’m going to mention below.
If your stress levels range from medium to low but with a few peaks during the day, you should be able to manage stress eating on your own with just this advice
Here are the simple strategies you can use.
Exercise 30 to 60 minutes three times a week:
Do some cardio-training, something that will make you sweat and move your body quickly. I like to jump on a rebounder or perform some fast-paced exercise. Your goal here should only be to enjoy yourself and relieve stress. Please make sure you’re fully present to what you’re doing and that you’re focusing on every movement you’re making. This will give you faster results and train your brain to concentrate on what it’s doing. This will be most helpful if you tend to have obsessive thoughts.
If you can’t exercise that often, try to practice brisk walking, use the stairs, and do 10-minute workouts daily instead.
Stop eating sugar:
Sugar will increase your anxiety levels by creating highs and lows. I have written a very thorough article on the subject. Read it at How to Stop Eating Sugar
Stop eating or drinking stress-triggering foods and beverages:
The first things that come to mind are coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, and other high-caffeine drinks. You can still use very dark chocolate to stop your cravings—if you’re not addicted to it, of course. I stopped drinking coffee when I stopped smoking. I was convinced that they were helping me get through the day but now, when I look back years later, I know they were only making me a nervous wreck.
Practice deep breathing every day:
1) Monitor your breath a few times throughout the day and make sure your breath is deep in the abdomen to prevent unnecessary stress buildup.
2) Practice deep breathing twice a day. Sit up straight in a chair. Put your right hand or both hands on your heart and imagine that it’s emitting a constant flow of unconditional love. This simple technique, if practiced eight minutes twice a day, will bring you incredible benefits over time.
Practice EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) daily:
Subscribe to my newsletter to learn how to do this. Your stress levels will go down amazingly fast, in just a matter of minutes, and you’ll wonder how you have been able to survive without this. Actually, I will teach you how to stop emotional eating and lose weight using this beautiful technique.
Keep a network of positive, supportive friends:
I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have good friends in my most vulnerable moments. I know my life would be much more stressful if I didn’t have a few people I can call out of the blue and who are willing to just be present with me in the moment. It’s amazing how relaxing it is to know this. You can get the same thing from a spouse, but I feel it’s best to have several good friends in your close circle as well. Positive people will help you look at the positive side of things and get back to feeling well and positive yourself.
The Real Secret to End Stress Eating for Life:
I told you earlier that I believe stress eating is just an outer layer of emotional eating. Basically, stress is a response to a perceived danger. If you are afraid of your feelings, feeling stress can be a good way to numb your emotions. This way you don’t know what your feelings are but you’re aware that you’re stressed out. The true secret is then to reverse the process. In other words, to find the feeling that stress is covering up and address it. I can write a whole book on the subject but…
Here Are My Favorite Tips to Avoid Emotional Eating:
Practice all the above techniques to relieve stress. Many will help you reconnect to your feelings as well.
Learn not to take your emotions seriously:
Think about this. Emotions are triggered by thoughts; thoughts emerge from your belief system. You didn’t choose your belief system; you absorbed it from your parents, relatives, and experiences as a kid. In other words, your emotions come from beliefs that are not even your own. Practice thinking about this, and consider what beliefs would be more productive. It’s really liberating. And this leads me to…
Challenge your beliefs at all times:
I am a hypersensitive person. Handling emotions has been a very big challenge all my life, but I have discovered that, if I could find a way to choose my thoughts and emotions, being hypersensitive could actually become a great asset. Think about this like this: If you can feel enthusiastic ten times stronger than the average person, you can feel ten times more energized and influence others as well.
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. A recent event triggered a huge emotion within me; instead of taking the emotion personally and doing anything to suppress it, like eating chocolate, I decided to look instead at what belief was torturing me like this. I sat down for a few minutes practicing the deep-breathing meditation I told you about, waiting for the nasty belief to emerge. It appeared after a few minutes and I was able to actually look at it and wonder whether it had any validity. Of course, it was utter B* S* and would have ruined my day if I had let it. I then used another technique to break down the belief…
Byron Katie has written a beautiful book and created a very simple exercise called “The Work” to help you reconsider your thoughts and your beliefs. I’ll let you Google it. Give it a try, and you’ll never be afraid of your emotions again.
I could go on and on. I have collected a large number of simple techniques to welcome my emotions, be present to myself, process them, and reconsider the thoughts and beliefs behind them. I feel it’s much more productive and empowering than procrastination, emotional eating, or day-dreaming, which are all escape mechanisms.
I’m such a hypersensitive person though; I wish a teacher had taught me this in kindergarten. Unfortunately, no one ever did, and I experienced years of stress, addictive behaviors, and an emotional roller coaster before I was able to break free.
I sincerely hope that this information has triggered your curiosity and that you’ll use at least two or three of these techniques today and enjoy immediate benefits.
I know you can’t use them all at once, but consider mastering them one after the other. I wish someone had handed me the keys to breaking free from stress eating, smoking, procrastination, and compulsive self-sabotage. I’m so happy to be sharing my keys with you today.
One last piece of advice: Try to define clearly what matters the most in your life, and keep your eyes on the prize at all times. It will make you more resilient and immune to stress. Actually, this is the secret used by most sports champions who win the gold medal.
Win your gold medal by mastering your emotional response to life, feeling good most of the time, and always choosing to be good to yourself. This will give you enough joy and peace of mind to embrace a healthier diet, let go of compulsive behavior, and see the good side of life.
If you want to learn EFT to stop stress eating, subscribe to my newsletter now, I’ve got great videos for you.