By: Matt Weik
Have you ever found yourself sitting on the couch with a carton of ice cream and a spoon? Maybe this is your nightly ritual? Have you thought that the reason you’re sitting there with a bowl of delicious guilt is because of stress eating? It very well could be!
Let’s face it, you’re stressed. There are so many factors that come into play from stress at work, stress from kids, stress from relationships, and even environmental stress. These common causes could be the root of your stress eating. But you’re in luck. In this article, you’re going to find several ways to help better manage your stress and stop stress eating so you don’t end up in a caloric surplus every day and wind up gaining weight.
The strategies listed below are common strategies that you can implement and see what works for you with reducing your stress levels. If one doesn’t work or you’re simply not a fan of it, try another. The key is to find what works so you can stop stress eating once and for all. That being said, once you find what works, be sure to implement it into your daily life or you may find your stress levels are rising again and you’re grabbing that spoon and on your way to the freezer.
1. Go to the Gym and Take Out Your Stress on the Weights
One of the best ways to manage your stress and prevent yourself from stress eating is by hitting the gym and getting in a great workout. Weight training is an effective way to take out your frustrations (whatever they may be).
The good news is, hitting the weights becomes a win-win as post-workout you can get or make yourself a delicious protein shake to curb your appetite and help kickstart the recovery process.
2. Make Sure You Are Eating Frequent but Small Meals
What you need to remind yourself with this strategy is that you are to eat SMALL meals frequently. This isn't an open invitation to hit McDonald's seven times a day and grab a value meal each time.
A small meal can consist of a nutrition bar, some chicken and vegetables, an apple with peanut butter, vegetables and hummus, a protein shake, a handful of nuts, Greek yogurt with some granola – whatever healthy option your creative mind can come up with.
One strategy, however, is to make choices that include healthy fat and/or fiber. Both of these will help keep you full and satiated longer so you aren’t having any cravings between meals. Maintaining satiety by having multiple small meals throughout the day is a great way to prevent stress eating as you won’t have periods where stress eating can sneak in and you choose unhealthy options.
3. Sleep It Off by Getting Enough Sleep Each Night
The recommended number of hours you should sleep each night is seven. If you aren't getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, you're not allowing your body to fully recover from not only your workouts but also the daily stress that we find weighing down our lives.
If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, it could be causing stress eating during the day. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can raise cortisol levels in your body which throws off your hormones. One such hormone is ghrelin which is a hunger hormone. Add that on top of stress eating and it’s no wonder many find themselves gaining weight quickly.
Come up with a nightly schedule and stick to it. That may mean shutting down all of your electronics at 10pm and giving yourself an hour to unwind and decompress before your head hits the pillow. It’s also a great way to get everything ready for the next day.
Look at your schedule and when you need to wake up. If you need to be up by 7am each morning, be sure you’re in bed around 11:30pm to ensure you are asleep by midnight and can get at least seven hours of sleep.
4. Talk to Friends or Family About Your Problems
If you want to battle your stress eating and take control of your food intake, find someone to talk to. This could be a friend, a family member, or even consider sitting down and talking to a therapist who can help you better manage the negative aspects of what’s going on in your life.
The better you can manage your stress and what's causing your stress eating, the better off you will be. A key thing to remember is, you're not the only one going through rough times. There are plenty of people out there, just like you, who are battling the same things.
Talking about things isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength that you’re taking control and working towards taking back your life and health.
5. Put Some Time Aside to Simply Breathe or Meditate
It sounds somewhat silly that by sitting in a quiet room and breathing will help alleviate and better manage your stress, so you aren’t stress eating throughout the day. You don’t need a lot of time in order to do it either. While many people prefer breathing or meditating for 30-60 minutes, you may find in as little as 10-15 minutes you can relax your mind and body to get yourself centered and destressed again. You could even consider trying yoga.
For this to work, you need to be 100% committed to putting in the time and effort in your deep breathing or meditation. Don't sit in a room where there are distractions such as your phone, laptop, tablet, television, music playing, or bright lights. Find a nice quiet room in your house where you can dim the lights and sit in peace.
A little quiet time can do a world of good.
6. Read a Good Book That Interests You
For some, reading is stressful. For others, it’s a way to remove yourself from reality and dive deep into something that interests you. While some sort of educational or self-improvement book would be recommended, choose whatever you enjoy reading and implement that into your stress-relieving strategy.
When you can take your mind off of the things that are stressing you out, you’re less likely to fall victim to stress eating. So, find a nice quiet area of your home that has comfy seating, park your butt, put your feet up even, and let your mind get lost in your book.
Stress causes many issues and truly needs to be managed every day. If you want to take the next step in promoting stress reduction, check out MPA CortiSolve.
CortiSolve is a convenient supplement that can help you better manage both mental and physical stress and aid in lowering your cortisol levels which when elevated can cause you to constantly feel hungry (increasing your stress eating) as well as causing you store unwanted body fat.
If you want to control your stress eating, lower stress levels, and help improve your overall physique, give CortiSolve a try!
Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published numerous books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com or on social media @weikfitness.