Ugh! Stress Eating…Again: 4 Ways to Cope
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.
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!