Want to know how to stop stress eating?
Stress eating is a big problem for a lot of people especially when they’re trying to lose weight.
It’s one of the most damaging things you can do to your weight loss goals because we don’t really stress eat on healthy food.
You don’t normally hear people say they eat broccoli when they’re stressed.
We usually turn to comfort food or whatever our caloric kryptonite is. Whether that’s chips, cookies, chocolate, candy, eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in one sitting, or a combination of all those things.
I think we’ve all been there before in some way, shape, or form.
In this video, I’m gonna be sharing with you 5 simple but extremely effective techniques on how to stop stress eating. (Make sure you stick around until the end because the last tip might just change your life.)
5 Tips On How To Stop Stress Eating
Before we get to how to stop stress eating, let’s talk about what causes stress eating to begin with.
If you can stop stress eating in its tracks before it even happens, then you’re absolutely winning. We can cut the cord right there. Right from the base.
Because it’s not really helpful if you just tell someone to just stop stress eating. That’s like telling an obese person to just eat less and move more.
You think they haven’t tried that yet? It’s too big of a blanket statement.
What causes stress eating?
So, what actually causes stress eating?
First, we need to look at it from a physiological standpoint. Whenever you’re stressed, you trigger a cortisol response which is one of four counter regulatory hormones.
Your fight or flight response gets triggered and your body gets flooded with glucose so you can use it as immediate fuel to fight or flight.
This physiological response to stress is the same way. Whether you just encountered a bear, you’re going for your daily 5k run, you’re going to your daily group fitness class where every workout is a near death experience, you’re stressed out of your mind from work, or you’re stressed from a break up.
Your body treats it the same way. Cortisol gets triggered. Are you with me so far?
But it’s not safe for your body to have really high blood glucose levels. Again, this is from that cortisol response because it’s toxic.
So your body also secretes high insulin levels to store all the extra glucose as fat and it stores it around your belly to protect your precious organs.
This is a survival mechanism because your body thinks it’s about to fight a bear.
Unfortunately, along with that blood glucose spike also comes a subsequent blood glucose crash.
Your body perceives this sugar crash as hypoglycaemia and in comes those insatiable cravings for highly palatable and sugary foods. Enter chips, crackers, cookies, candy, and our familiar friends, Ben and Jerry’s.
As you can see, it’s not really your fault that you can’t help but eat those things when you’re stressed. Your body is actually designed to look for them.
Now that we know that elevated cortisol levels is directly tied to stress eating, we’re going to focus our strategy on how to stop stress eating around reducing that cortisol response.
To make sure you’re successful, I’m gonna give you a multifaceted approach. We’re gonna come at it from different angles.
1. Control hunger
This is a very important concept that you need to understand. It’s literally the secret to weight loss.
Weight loss in its very essence is about controlling hunger, not counting calories.
I talk about this a lot on my YouTube videos. If you’re always eating a highly satiating meal that’s nutrient dense, meaning it contains fibre, fats, and protein, then that’s gonna activate your satiety hormones and turn off your hunger hormones.
You’re gonna have a very moderate blood glucose response from that meal. Which means that your blood glucose levels are gonna be a lot more stable and you won’t have that blood glucose and insulin roller coaster ride.
Remember, it’s when those rollercoaster dips occur that stress eating happens. It’s when you’re at a low, literally.
Plus, when you prevent that blood glucose crash (hypoglycaemia), it can also prevent increase in cortisol levels from happening to begin with.
And this is a vicious cycle. Because when you’re hypoglycaemic, your body will naturally start to produce more cortisol because it’s trying to raise your blood glucose to prevent you dying.
Again, people who produce more cortisol are also more likely to stress eat. So stabilizing that blood glucose level by having a satiating meal and turning off those hunger hormones will help prevent potential stress eating.
Or even if you do stress eat, you won’t eat as much because you’re already full.
Now, what if you’re already stressed and you can’t get ahead of preventing that cortisol spike to begin with? This is where that multifaceted approach to stop stress eating comes in.
An unbelievably effective way on how to significantly reduce stress for free, without seeing a therapist, is just by going outside.
2. Go for a walk
Go outside for at least 20 minutes.
You get bonus points if you have access to nature like a park, a trail, or a body of water.
Studies have shown that walking boosts endorphins, which are your happy hormones. It also reduces stress and alleviates mild depression.
While being in nature also helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression because it most likely has to do with the earths healing negative ion’s.
Some people even go barefoot when they’re in nature to really absorb those ion’s but I’ll leave that up to you. I don’t want people coming back to this post saying they cut their feet because of me.
The less stressed, anxious, and depressed you are, the less likely you are to stress eat. Plus, I’ve literally never met anyone who didn’t feel better after going for a walk in nature.
From a practical standpoint, if you’re studying and you’re stressed, it’s actually so much more beneficial to go for a quick walk because you always come back mentally refreshed.
Next, let’s address your environment. This is extremely important when it comes to figuring out how to stop stress eating. Because you are a product of your environment.
3. Get rid of your trigger foods
You know, your secret stash of your caloric kryptonite that’s in your fridge or pantry right now? It needs to go.
Why? Because when you get stressed and it’s within arms reach, guess what you’re gonna eat?
We’re lazy by design as human beings. We evolved to conserve our energy so we can use it to hunt. Use this designed laziness to your advantage.
It’s pretty simple. Don’t stock trigger foods at home.
Why? Because sometimes, the fact that you have to put pants on, drive through traffic to the grocery store, pick up the ice cream, wait in line to pay, drive back to your house, take your pants off is enough to deter you from having it to begin with.
4. Take yourself out of stressful situations
I could create an entire blog post about this one topic.
But I am extremely blown away by people staying in crappy relationships, staying in jobs they hate, or hanging out with friends that treat them bad for reasons unknown.
All those things stress you out and cause you to stress eat.
But most of the time, you’re in control whether you willingly put yourself in those situations to begin with.
If your current relationship is stressing you out and cause you to stress eat? Leave. It’s not the right relationship.
Same goes with all the other stressors in your life. Nothing is worth it if makes you unhappy. Remember that.
I don’t really know a lot of people who make good food decisions when they always feel bad. You change best when you feel good.
5. Get some sleep
I talk about the importance of sleep a lot on my YouTube channel as well as the negative effects of sleep deprivation because it’s such an easy fix that yields immediate results.
But all you need to know is that you just don’t function as well when you’re sleep deprived. You already know that.
Lack of sleep messes up important hormones in your body like Ghrelin which is your hunger hormone.
It also affects Leptin which is the hormone that signals your body that you’re full. You also get elevated cortisol levels because your body is freaking out that it didn’t get enough time to rest and repair itself.
Lack of sleep also affects the amygdala which is the reward center of your brain. All those things combined results in stress eating.
Again, I don’t really know a lot of people who make good food decisions when they’re sleep deprived. And that’s when we usually look for our familiar friends, Ben and Jerry’s.
I’m going to give you bonus tip. I saved the best for last.
This might be the most powerful tip on how to stop stress eating. It could even potentially change your life. This is next level stuff.
Think of your mind as a bright blue sky. Think of your thoughts as cute little fluffy clouds.
It doesn’t bother you, right? We see clouds and we just let it pass.
But sometimes, there’s a lot more clouds in the sky. You’re a little stressed. Sometimes, there’s even a storm. This is when everything goes wrong in your life. This is when stress eating happens.
And sometimes we get so caught up that we forget about the blue sky altogether. But it’s still there. Think about when you’re on a plane flying through the clouds. There it is, right? Without fail. Blue skies.
It’s easy to forget that what we’re looking for when we stress, is already here. And that’s why we need reminding. You are the blue sky.
6. Practice mindfulness
Let’s do a quick exercise.
This is instantly gonna lower your stress levels, I promise.
Are you ready? I want you to do it with me. I want you to close your eyes. And I want you to take a nice deep breath through your nose. And out through your mouth.
Try to tell me you didn’t feel better. That feeling gets magnified when you actually sit down and practice mindfulness.
And I used to think that I was too cool for school when it comes to this stuff. I was wrong. I wish I started practicing mindfulness sooner.
It’s so simple, yet so effective. And I don’t expect you to turn into buddhist monk when you do this.
All you do is find a quiet spot in your house. I want you to close your eyes like what we just did and focus on your breathing. That’s it.
Your mind will naturally wander when you do this. And it’s most likely gonna think about whatever is stressing you out.
That’s the whole point. The thought will come up, the clouds, and you can let it go. You just come back to your breath and be in the moment. Remember, you’re the blue sky.
We can be so busy sometimes that we forget to do the one thing that’s essential to human life, and that’s to breathe. You can use free guided meditation apps to make this a lot easier to get started with.
I personally use ‘Headspace’ and it’s been a complete game changer when it comes to managing my stress levels. I meditate for 10 minutes every morning.
Now, I don’t really give homework in a lot of my posts. But I want you to try this exercise after reading this.
Seriously. Drop everything. Especially if you’re currently dealing with a stressful situation. Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and just focus on your breathe.
And then I want you to come back to this post, and tell me what you think in the comments section. I can’t wait to hear about it.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
Need More Help?
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