This is something I think all of us do to an extent: when we are stressed out, we tend to eat more. This is because eating is, in and of itself, a pleasurable experience. It’s hard-wired into our heads that we enjoy eating. When we are uncomfortable from stress, a quick and easy way to feel better is to eat something. It doesn’t solve problems, but within our brains, it sure does make us feel better. The problem is for people who are under a lot of stress, this can equal a lot of eating.
I haven’t had to deal with too much stress eating like my wife Sherry has. Not because I don’t get stressed nor is it because I don’t feel stress; I most certainly do. It’s because I have used another coping mechanism for stress relief: video games. I escape into video games to solve problems. The more stress I’m feeling, the more I dive into games. Or read books. Or research things online. Either way, I use escapism to relieve stress.
The key to cutting stress eating is to identify the cause. I’m not talking about identifying the cause of the stress. It is likely out of your power to get rid of stress altogether. But once you realize that the cravings are coming from stress, you can find something else to do to get your mind off of it. Something to give you a feeling of satisfaction or comfort. I’ve found running is an excellent way to get rid of stress.
Find something that will occupy your mind and allow you to feel a sense of satisfaction when you’re done. Maybe knitting, quilting, engraving, wood working, gardening, reading, playing basketball, playing video games, biking, running, hiking, or even walking. The list is endless. But when you are feeling stressed, and then you find yourself craving some foods to comfort you, engage in one of these activities to get your mind off the stress or to help relieve it.