Ugh! Stress Eating…Again: 4 Ways to Cope

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Completely honest moment here.  Lately, I’ve been finding that when I feel stressed I am “snacking” on things that I really shouldn’t eat.  And, unfortunately, I feel stressed more often than not, so that is definitely not a good thing. I need some good strategies on how to overcome stress eating otherwise I’m going to really pack on the pounds.

This week isn’t proving to be the easiest. I feel like stress is at every turn.  We all have those weeks.  You know the ones where you feel stressed from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep? That is what I’ve been feeling.

My little one is turning 5 and I’m planning her birthday party.  In the meantime, my husband will have a business trip until the day before her party and won’t be able to help much for any of the prep.  Well, honestly, I am usually the birthday prep person in the family.  But since we are having the party at home, the house has to be clean right?  So my husband won’t be able to help with the cleaning like he normally does.  Guess he lucked out! Lol!

In any case, adding birthday party, business trip, still adjusting to the whole back-to-school routine and all the new things I’m learning for the blog (which I really do love, by the way), my brain has been in a bit of a tizzy.  And then today happened.

I had just gotten home from grocery shopping and checked my phone, since I often have it on silent. (Don’t ask me why.  I miss way too many phone calls that way!)  I had received a text message from my credit card stating that they needed me to verify some activity on my card.  Basically, my card had been used for a large purchase at Wal-Mart around the same time I had been grocery shopping.  So, of course, I told the bank that that it was indeed suspicious activity.

Being the thorough person I am, I then logged into my account online to check that that was the only issue.  Nope.  I found another $400+ in charges that weren’t ours. The total of charges came to almost $700!  Talk about stress!!!

And what was the first thing I did?  I looked for comfort.  In food.  Yes, I started stress eating or “stress snacking” as I like to call it. Can I tell you that food actually doesn’t do much to comfort you?  Instead of feeling better about the events, I feel yucky and full of not-so-good-for-me stuff.

My food drug of choice? Dried mangos. You may laugh at me and think that dried fruit is healthy and good for you.  And it can be, in small quantities. And for people who don’t have my tummy issues. Because of where I am at in my health journey, dried mango is about as crazy as I can get.  No Ben & Jerry’s or box of cookies for me, unfortunately … fortunately.  Instead I ate too much dried mango and have a tummy ache.  Now, just to be clear: it is still unhealthy to overeat anything, even if it is considered a healthy food.

In the midst of this, I reached out to a group of friends from my local mom’s group that have gotten together to encourage each other to get healthy and lose weight.  I asked for tips on how to stop stress eating or just how to avoid stress eating altogether.  And they came up with some really good ones:  go for a walk, chew on some gum, drink water, chew on some ice, find a distraction, or write a blog post (ha ha!).  Those are definitely tips I will employ the next time I feel the urge to stress snack.

But what I really found to help me cope with the stress of the moment was:

#1 Knowing there was someone I could turn to

The fact that I had that group of friends that I could turn to was huge.  They came back with all sorts of suggestions and tips.  And the fact that they responded back within minutes was so awesome. Got to love Facebook!

Not only that, but they offered words of encouragement reminding me that I was no alone.  That makes a big difference folks!  Knowing you have someone, or lots of someones, who have your back and want good for you can help you know that you are not alone in this (or really any) struggle.

#2 Laughter

Those sweet friends of mine helped me laugh.  They told me silly stories.  They reminded me that there were things beyond my little world.  Once I laughed I could feel that pressure in my chest relax and the buzzing in my head diminish. Laughter is truly the best medicine!

#3 Hugs (and kisses too!)

In the midst of my money crisis, I still had to go pick up my daughter from Kindergarten.  Once we got home and finished discussing her day, I mentioned that mommy was a bit sad. Sad because someone stole our money and it made me not feel good and I wanted to feel better.  So I got a big hug from her. And the desire for any more dried mango went out the window!

Hugs from your kids somehow have a magical property.  She wanted mommy to feel better and made sure that I was feeling happier before she would let go.

And of course, our dog couldn’t be left out.  She loves family hugs, so she joined in.  And then I got kisses too. Lol!

#4 Taking control of something else

Stress often comes when you feel like you don’t have control over a situation or your circumstances.  I guess eating when stressed is somehow a messed up way of having control.  You are controlling your body, but in an unhealthy way.

So instead of just controlling my hand to put food into my mouth, I had to find something else to control.  Sometimes I stack papers or tidy a bookshelf.  Simple things that can be put to right.  Today, I still had all my groceries to put away. So I put away all the groceries and washed all the dishes from the morning.  My kitchen is not perfect, but it definitely is in a better state than it was this morning!

 

So next time I feel stress coming on and the desire to reach for those mangos getting stronger, I’ll remember these 4 simple ways to cope with stress eating.  I hope that you, too, can take these tips to heart and stay strong when the “stress snacking” urge attacks. And maybe we can throw in a walk and a glass of water too!

 

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33 Comments

  1. Lisa

    August 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Stress eating is so hard…and so is stress not eating! Good ideas for all of these times!

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Lisa – Lol! Yes, both are hard!

  2. Cerin

    August 11, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Very well written!

  3. Rachel

    August 11, 2017 at 12:32 am

    I once had a promotional ‘traveler’s check’ cashed out in the amount of over $4000! (It was sent through the mail by my bank but didn’t end up in my mail box). Can you imagine? Talk about stress. But, I did get my money back in the end, thankfully, as it was their issue for sending me checks I’d never asked for. A costly promotion for them. Ugh!

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 4:22 am

      Rachel – That definitely sounds super stressful! So glad you got your money back!

  4. Stacey

    August 11, 2017 at 1:08 am

    I’m a stress-eater, too. I’ve even noticed when I have something weird happen to my blog, I go straight to the kitchen. I’m trying to replace that habit with physical activity. Now that school is starting up, I know I will have to work hard to curb stress-eating again. I get so stressed when I am teaching. I’m working on having a plan in place, like alcohol in a flask. Just kidding. But I am at least going to bring fruits and veggies to keep in my fridge instead of the bad stuff. Then at least I’ll have to leave the building for junk food.

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 2:28 am

      Stacey – Oh my goodness, I did the exact same thing the other day when I was having issues with the blog. At least we know we are not alone. Great idea to bring the fruit to work!

  5. Kelly

    August 11, 2017 at 1:51 am

    These were great alternatives! I’m joining the stress-eating club too, and I am going to keep coming back to these so I can keep staying away from the food. Oh, and I LOVE how the dog is looking at you!!

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 4:21 am

      Kelly – Glad to this helped! My dog is pretty funny. She was between licks at that point. Lol!

  6. Nicole

    August 11, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Stress eating is so hard!

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 4:19 am

      Nicole – It so is!

  7. Shelanda

    August 11, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Great alternatives!

  8. Katie

    August 11, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I am stress eater too. More so when my kids are home during the summer and they are snacking all the time. Working on my blog this summer has been a great distraction. Great ideas!

  9. Courtney

    August 11, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Good tips, do they work for boredom eating too?!

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Lol! I’m sure laughing, talking with friends, getting hugs, walks and drinking water all would help. One thing I learned is that if a piece of chicken and steamed veggies don’t sound good, you aren’t really hungry. Maybe you could ask yourself that and see if it helps deter boredom eating.

  10. Sheree | Healthy Life, Happy Life

    August 11, 2017 at 11:26 am

    So many people are emotional eaters. I’m sure this article will help those that eat due to stress.

  11. Carrie

    August 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Stress eating is a huge issue of mine. I don’t think I’ll ever not struggle with it. Sometimes I do well (and for extended periods of time) and other times, the depression takes over and I just can’t. Ugh. Great tips though! 🙂

  12. Kamie Berry

    August 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    These are great suggestions. I also like to immerse myself in a really good book or go for a walk if I feel the urge to stress eat.

    1. Lisa

      August 11, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks Kamie! Reading a book or going for a walk are some of my favorites too!

  13. Emily

    August 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I used to be a stress eater. Diabetes cured me of it. I still crave sugar and chocolate though.

  14. Kourtney

    August 12, 2017 at 1:04 am

    These are such great tips. I am totally guilty of stress eating at times!

    1. Lisa

      August 12, 2017 at 3:58 am

      Kourtney – Hope they help!

  15. Christy

    August 12, 2017 at 2:26 am

    I’m a stress eater too! Thanks for some helpful reminders of how to avoid it : )

    1. Lisa

      August 12, 2017 at 3:56 am

      Christy – Glad to help

  16. Joanne

    August 12, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Thanks for the ideas, I have always struggled with stress eating,

    1. Lisa

      August 12, 2017 at 3:57 am

      Joanne – It is so tough! Hope the tips help. Good luck!

  17. Bola

    August 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Great tips. We all find ourselves here sometimes. Thanks

  18. Carmen

    August 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Ugh, yeah. Emotional eating is big! Thanks for sharing your ideas for dealing with it!

    1. Lisa

      August 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Carmen – Ugh is right! Lol!

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