Stress is becoming more common, with around 70% of Australians admitting it affects their physical and mental health. Emotional eating is one way our stress can play out. Stress affects our emotions and eating can make us feel better – in the short term. But if we eat unhealthy foods, our bodies will feel worse and we might feel guilty too. So making healthy choices with food and learning how to overcome emotional eating, can help us improve our stress too.
So here are my tips on how to manage our stress and emotions, how to know your own triggers for emotional eating and what good foods to eat to avoid cravings. Here’s how to NOT eat your feelings!
Firstly, why do we fail?
- Not eating enough of the right foods during the day
- Ignoring our emotions or not looking after ourselves emotionally
- Shopping when we’re hungry and having the wrong foods in the house
- Not prioritising sleep! Scientific evidence shows that lack of sleep leads to poor food choices
What are your triggers?
- Knowing what pushes your buttons helps you to manage situations better, and not let them lead to emotional eating
Creating new healthy habits
- Understand that habits include a trigger, habit and reward
- Keep the reward, and replace the bad habit with something healthy
- trigger is a stressful day, habit is chocolate and reward is endorphins, replace the chocolate with a quick gym session, walk or run, and you get to keep the endorphins as your reward!
Learn to clear your emotions
- Our minds can’t clear emotions until they are still
- Practice deep breathing regularly
- Take a walk in the sun (and be mindful) – give your brain time to stop thinking and recharge
- Try Tapping (also called EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique) thetappingsolution.com
- Learn the art of meditation with guided free trials at apps, Head Space or 1 Giant Mind
These techniques allow us to stay calm and better deal with emotional triggers when they arise.
Make better food choices
- Don’t deprive yourself, or you’ll binge later
- Choose healthier snacks to satiate your cravings, ie. if you crave carbs, choose carrot sticks and hummus instead of chips – you still get carbs your body craves
- Ensure you eat a small portion of protein with each meal to balance your blood sugar
- Be mindful, slow down to eat, and make it social if possible
- Our bodies only digest when we are not stressed – many bad gut reactions are related to stress, not just food!
Be holistic in your approach
Emotions are part of us. Being physically active, eating healthy food and managing our emotions are all crucial elements in a healthy lifestyle. To be well and stay well, all of these areas need to be addressed.
If you’d like some help with your diet, and a holistic approach to wellness, please come and see me for a personalised treatment plan. It’s important to find the right people to help you with your health concerns, whether that’s an acupuncturist, integrative GP, chiropractor, psychologist or counsellor, health coach, physiotherapist, naturopath or nutritionist. It’s up to you what works.
I’m here to help, in a holistic way, with diet, lifestyle and wellness advice. Visit me at Health Space Hornsby, by calling 9482 4877 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org