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7 Strategies to Stop Stress Eating

One common but costly stress reaction is overeating and overindulging in unhealthy foods. We call this  “stress eating”. If you had very few stressors, it might not be such a big deal, but if stress eating becomes habitual it can lead to serious health problems down the line. The good news: there are some simple steps you can take today to regain control.

  1. Limit availability: Do not buy the “go-to” foods in stressful times or have those foods in the house. If all you have on hand are carrots, celery, and cucumbers, chomping away will be a-okay.
  2. Press the "pause" button: Ask yourself, “Why do I need this now?” Try to identify the emotions you are feeling. What do you really need to feel better?
  3. Use your Day Tracker: Writing down what you eat can help to manage food intake. You can also journal about your feelings, or use our task prioritization worksheet to manage stress.
  4. Try healthier outlets: Try to go for a walk, dancing it out, or using a punching bag to release stress.
  5. Go with the flow: Try a glass of water instead.
  6. Try relaxation techniques: Enroll in a yoga class or try some breathing exercises that can help to reduce stress.
  7. Seek support: Call a friend or reach out to members of your care team. If you cannot control stress there are therapies that can help to manage stress. Contact your clinician for a referral.

Remember, stress eating is a bad habit, but it’s also a coping strategy. Addressing your stress and finding healthy strategies for stress relief is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle long term.

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