We all manage stress in different ways. Some eat more and gain weight, while others lose their appetite and skip meals. Feeling tired, moody, emotional and anxious are all symptoms of stress. Skipping meals, consuming high sugary foods to calm down as well as relying on junk food and coffee are all signs of stress eating. Which of these sound familiar to you?

Triggers Of Stress-Eating

Identifying the main triggers that can lead to overeating without necessarily feeling hungry is key in understanding your eating behaviour and tacking stress-eating.

A difficult day at work, a bust-up with a loved one or just a feeling that your life is dull and boring can all be triggers that cause you to stress eat. At some point you have learnt that eating certain treat foods give you an instant surge of pleasure and a release from the difficult, painful and uncertain emotions you feel.

5 Top Tips To Tackle Stress-Eating

1. Notice Triggers

Notice how your eating changes in different environments or situations, or around certain people. Are you eating after work because of a stressful environment, at home because you are lonely, or in the car because you feel trapped in a r elationship?

2. Eat More Protein And Consume Healthy Fats

Eating protein and healthy fats will help to make you feel full.Tryptophan is an amino acid found in many protein food sources, and is the building block for serotonin. This promotes positive mood, a reduction in obsessive behaviours and better sleep, along with a feeling of satiety. Additionally, when fat is digested, it triggers the release of Cholecystokinin (CCK) in your upper intestine, a hormone that signals to your brain that you are full.

3. Micro Habits

Stopping stress eating behaviour, and wanting to lose weight, can feel like a mountain to climb. Micro habits are small steps of change that feel achievable. Focus on one change each week, like adding more protein, or 3 deep breaths before each meal. They will add up to sustainable change.

4. Learn to self soothe

Identifying and feeling your emotions is necessary to help you stop stress-eating. How else can you soothe yourself without using food? Try talking with a friend, playing with a pet, walking in nature, doing some gentle exercise or watching a comedy show.

5. Lifestyle Upgrade

When you have higher levels of stress hormones buzzing around your body, and/or you have limited or poor quality sleep, your brain will tell you that you are hungry. So look carefully at your lifestyle, where can you make some healthy changes to reduce stress and improve sleep.

Change can be hard work, and you need some grit and determination to get yourself moving in the right direction.

Our team at WeightMatters specialises in Treatment for Stress-Eating, and we can help educate and guide you towards better health.