Stress and emotional eating is not part of your personality. Eating in response to stress is a habit, and habits can be broken. You really can learn to manage your emotions and stress in a productive way. Apply these coping techniques every time you find yourself anxious, worried, or bored for the next 3-4 weeks. These techniques reduce tension and actually eliminate stress and anxiety. It does take a little time to retrain our emotional coping responses, so if you find yourself digging in the pantry for a lot of something sweet just redirect someplace else and practice the following:
- Breathe deeply for 3-5 minutes making sure to breathe deep into the lower abdomen where we tend to hold our stress tension.
- Turn on relaxing music such as classical, meditative music or something positive.
- Fix a hot cup of hot tea and focus on the whole process from boiling the water, letting it brew for a few minutes, and enjoying the warmth of the cup in your hand. Peppermint is best for stress, while ginger tea is best for soothing the gut. When my stomach is upset, ginger tea almost always helps and I use it to help my kids feel better, too.
- Sit and stretch your muscles if at home while continuing to breathe deeply (even with music on and a cup of tea nearby).
- If at work, take a 2-minute walk anytime you feel stress creeping in.
- Finally, maintain a regular baseline of exercise to manage your day-to-day stress. Apply the other techniques for increased times of stress.
I learned these techniques about 15 years ago. I overcame my own habit of stress eating, and I have learned to manage and reduce my overall stress level thanks to this exact list of techniques. I hope it does the same for you.