Tips and Techniques for How to Stop Stress Eating
Have you ever had a really stressful day and started craving your favorite comfort food? You’re not alone. In fact, there’s a fair amount of science behind stress eating. It’s not called comfort food for nothing!
Stress eating is something many people experience or may find they struggle with. Oftentimes it’s even a subconscious reaction our body has to external stimuli. To help you find ways to avoid it as well as the potential negative impact to our health, we’re exploring tips and techniques for how to stop stress eating.
What Is Stress Eating?
In order to learn how to stop stress eating, it’s important to understand what it is and what may cause it. Stress eating, sometimes called emotional eating, is the act of eating food as a reaction to feelings, stressors, or other external triggers. You don’t have to be hungry to experience stress eating feelings, rather some kind of emotion prompts your body to crave food as a reaction.
So why is eating our body’s reaction to stress? One reason is chemical. When we feel stress, whether it comes from mental stress or physical duress, our bodies increase cortisol levels. Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is a natural chemical that plays several roles within the body, including helping regulate metabolism and blood sugar levels. While short-term stress may actually suppress your appetite, chronic stress sources from longer-term complications such as financial issues, relationship struggles, and work pressure may result in cortisol levels staying elevated. These higher cortisol levels increase our blood sugar and appetite, causing us to crave food.
Learning How to Stop Stress Eating
Finding methods for how to avoid stress eating can be critical to your overall health and well-being. Turning to food during stressful times may result in less healthy choices such as greasy, fatty, or sugary foods that could contribute to weight gain or health problems caused by obesity.
Identifying the source of your stress is the first step in how to stop stress eating. Once you’ve understood where your feelings are coming from, it can help you plan for how to cope with stress in a healthier manner. It may take time and determination to commit to these methods, but learning how to avoid eating when stressed could help you avoid any negative impacts to your health. Some of our favorite tips and techniques for how to stop stress eating are:
- Go for a walk or do something active
- Practice calming methods like meditation or breathing techniques
- Listen to music or play some brain games
- Manage stress levels using a zero gravity chair
- Get rid of tempting foods
Being Active to Avoid Stress Eating
First up on our list of tips and techniques for how to stop stress eating is to get up and get active. If our body’s natural response to stress is to raise our cortisol levels, then finding ways to lower those levels naturally can be immensely helpful. Getting in exercise to de-stress or finding calming activities to do like yoga or tai chi may help lower cortisol levels while increasing your body’s production of endorphins.
A sort of anti-cortisol, endorphins are natural bodily hormones associated with pain relief, stress management, and elevating your mood. If cortisol is the stress hormone, endorphins are happy ones!
Practicing Meditation or Breathing Exercises to Stop Stress Eating
Sometimes the best method for how to avoid stress eating is to take a deep breath and try a calming exercise. Meditation has long been associated with stress management, making it the perfect technique for how to avoid eating when stressed.
There are many kinds of meditation including guided meditation and visualization meditation. The technique you may have heard the most about, however, is mindfulness meditation. There’s a common misconception that mindfulness meditation is about emptying your mind of all thoughts. To the contrary, it’s about centering your mind and observing your thoughts without judgment.
The great thing about meditating as a method for how to stop stress eating is that you can do it anywhere at any time. Have a stressful work meeting? Take a moment in your office or a quiet break room to calm your mind and de-stress. At home and recognizing the craving for food when you know you’re not really hungry? Try meditating in a zero gravity chair to calm your mind while also looking after your body.
If meditation isn’t your thing, there are also a number of deep breathing exercises you can do instead. When we’re anxious or stressed, we tend to take shorter, shallower, and more rapid breaths directly from the chest. Chest breathing, also called thoracic breathing, disrupts the normal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system which can cause an elevated heart rate, dizziness, increased muscle tension, or other negative effects.
Calming breathing exercises are meant to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and regulate your heartbeat, blood flow, and even digestion. These exercises are a potentially effective method for lowering cortisol levels, which then aid in how to stop stress eating before you start.
Listening to Music or Reading a Book to Calm Stress Levels
While it may seem strange, listening to music or reading a book are both potentially effective methods for how to stop stress eating. Stress eating isn’t always caused by heightened emotions. It can also be the result of boredom. Whether you’re bored or stressed, listening to calming music, reading a good book, listening to a podcast, or anything that engages your mind in an activity that overrides the negative stress eating trigger could be helpful.
Using a Zero Gravity Chair for Stress Management
One multipurpose technique you can try for how to stop stress is relaxing in a zero gravity chair. How does sitting in a chair help with how to avoid eating when stressed, you wonder? Stress can be mental or physical. Their unique design allows for a plethora of potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs that may boost your mental health while simultaneously enhancing how the body heals itself!
In the zero gravity position, the legs are elevated above the heart level and weight is evenly distributed along the body. This reduces pressure on the lower back and serves as a primary catalyst for many of the possible physical benefits of zero gravity reclining chairs including pain relief. Chronic pain relief is important to lowering stress levels that may otherwise trigger stress eating.
Whether you’re using a zero gravity chair to calm yourself during the day or as part of a relaxing night time routine, they’re great for unwinding and releasing stress from your mind. Bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners such as heat therapy and massage functions may enhance your stress relief, as well, helping with how to stop stress eating before you begin.
Bonus Tip: Relaxing in a zero gravity chair may also improve digestion, which could help you avoid unwanted weight gain or food consumption-related issues.
How to Stop Stress Eating: Get Rid of Tempting Foods!
One of the simplest and most effective ways for how to stop stress eating is to simply get rid of tempting foods you may have around the house. Instead of keeping a bag of chips around, try having fresh fruit or vegetables instead. This way, if you do find yourself having a snack at least it’s a healthier option and less likely to become potentially damaging.
Learning tips and techniques for how to stop stress eating can save you from accidentally making unhealthy choices that could add to your stress levels. Whether it’s replacing junk food with healthier snacks, meditating to calm down, or choosing a zero gravity chair to protect your mental and physical well-being, effective techniques can make a world of difference. Each person is unique, however, so try different methods out and see what works for you.
Zero gravity chairs could help with more than learning how to stop stress eating. To learn more about their potential benefits and how they may enhance your lifestyle, check out these resources: