Lots of people complain that they overeat in response to professional or personal stress. If this sounds like you, read the following tips for managing stress-related overeating to help you get rid of this unhealthy habit.
- Practice waiting. Postpone your instant gratification when hunger hits. Tell yourself you’ll wait 15, or better 30, minutes to eat. Chances are good if your cravings are only stress-related, they’ll disappear when you allow yourself to become distracted.
- Keep a running list of what you eat each day. Knowing you have to write down every snack or nibble can be a good way to remind yourself to think before eating.
- If you binge at the end of the day, get a book, magazine, or video instead to have something to look forward to and to distract you from stress-related cravings.
- Make a personal rule to eat only while seated and when not otherwise occupied by a task. You’ll focus more on eating and won’t absentmindedly consume more than you wish.
- Keep yourself nourished. Eat regular, healthy snacks to maintain your energy level. Skipping meals while under stress only prompts you to eat more, and unhealthily, when you do get around to eating.
- Post some reminder messages wherever you’re likely to see them when stress-related cravings begin.
- Know yourself – and your weakest times and places. Remove yourself physically from the group in the coffee room at work, take another route to avoid the patisserie, or plan activities to distract you in “hungry” times.
- Physically remove tempting food items from your home or office. Never go shopping while hungry; bring home only what you feel good about eating.
- If you can’t stop obsessing about food, then indulge yourself. Plan ahead for a special dinner or snack at some point in the future. When cravings hit, think about the treat you have coming.
These tips should help you control overeating in response to stress, whether or not your weight is in the normal range. If you are seriously interested in weight reduction, check with your doctor to find a healthy diet and exercise plan for your lifestyle.