How to Stop Emotional Stress Eating
Who hasn't done it? Grab a cookie, a piece chocolate or dig into a bag of chips to cope with stress, anxiety or anxiousness? In my work as Emotional Eating Counselor I have found that stress eating is the number one reason for clients to reach for a snack when they aren't physically hungry. Let's examine STRESS and what to do about it. I hope that some of my tips prove to be helpful tools to live a more balanced and joyful life!
Tip #1 - Accept: We all get stressed at times.
Feeling challenged or stressed is part of being human. Suffering is a part of life. As Buddhist philosophy suggests: "Suffering comes from wanting things to be different than they are." So, embracing the fact that life will continue to challenge us can help accept the ups and downs, the "prickly" situations, the uncomfortableness of conflict and so on. Invitation: Accept and lean into the flow of life rather than fight it. Everything changes... all the time.
Tip #2 - Stop trying to force outcomes.
As a German 'Type A' woman I know all about the tendency (old programming) of wanting to force outcomes. Of course, it's a futile attempt. I have learned this over the course of my life. The less we push, the easier it is to find a solution - or for the solution to come to us. I am not suggesting to be passive and give up. I am proposing to do what we can in any given situation and then to surrender and let it go. Some say: "Let go and let God."
“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for this is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.” - Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
Tip #3 - Self-compassion is urgent care for the heart.
I have been following Dr. Kristin Neff's research on mindful self-compassion and have incorporated the teachings into my counseling sessions. The therapeutic benefits are profound and easy to practice. When you are in emotional pain (or feeling stressed) take a moment, place your hands over your heart. Silently say to yourself: "Ouch. This hurts. This is a moment of suffering. May I give myself the compassion I need in this moment. May I be kind and gentle with myself."
Tip #4 - Seek support to eliminate stressors.
If you are caught in a "toxic" relationship or work environment, seek support. Work with a therapist or life coach to help you move on and create a healthier future for yourself. Your feelings matter. You deserve to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to reach out for help from friends or healthcare professionals. I understand that emotional stress eating makes painful feelings more tolerable, less sharp and less "biting." Addressing the core issue, however, will help you live a more authentic life; a life where you speak your truth from the heart and fiercely protect your boundaries.
Tip #5 - You can learn to change your relationship with food.
After working with clients on these issues for many years, I have come to the conclusion that a person can heal their relationship with food - over time. There is no quick fix. Healing takes time and is not linear. The only way "out" is "in." It takes courage to take a deep dive into early emotional woundings and old belief systems, which no longer serve you. Working with me is a gentle and safe way of exploring old behavior patterns and removing obstacles so you can be free of emotional stress eating!
Learn more about my mindful approach to emotional eating and weight management.
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