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How many times have you found yourself at the last bite of a package of double stuffed Oreos, due to stress that had you feeling less than your best? You may have enjoyed each sweet and crunchy bite, but by the time you are on your last cookie a feeling of guilt and remorse may wash over you. Did consuming thousands of extra empty calories really make you day that much better? There are many different times of the year that bring on emotional eating, and the holidays are one of those times. These binges are not only during the holidays either, as many women and men binge on random days based on their life circumstances and stress levels. While it may seem to level your stress in the moment, it leads to harm and more stress later on down the road.
Emotional eating comes as a normal thing for many people, and it is a reaction that we sometimes don’t even think about. Just look on TV, emotional eating is prevalent in any show you watch if there is stress, a woman, and drama surrounding a situation. The sitcoms never fail to show you the sobbing woman and a pint of ice cream after a breakup. Our hormones can get in the way of making logical decisions about food when under pressure and stress, so next time you are faced with a stressful situation try and think about alternatives before you default to eating unnecessarily.
When you feel the temps rising, and the stress making its way to you, do not go straight to the snack drawer. Instead, give yourself a small massage by rubbing the back of your neck or temples. Continue for a couple of minutes, and you should immediately notice a change in your stress levels. Even better, take a tennis ball and stand on it to work your tired feet out or simply stand up against a wall with it and work the knots in your shoulders out.
By taking a short walk, you will release more stress than you ever thought possible. When stressed out, it may feel like the last thing you actually want to do but it will serve a purpose later on. Are you stressed with the amount of work you have to do on a daily basis and feel like there is no time to walk? By carving out 10 short minutes of your day, you will notice how focused and effective your brain works after that short walk.
There is nothing more soothing for me than to write it out. When I am feeling stressed or upset, I write down why I am feeling that way. It really does help with stress levels, and you can easily discard the paper when you are done venting (or you can save it). Journaling also can happen when you have been on a good track, and you can reiterate your feelings of pride to have it to look at later on when you are not feeling your best.
Find Your Zen
Whatever the coping mechanism you feel is best for you, identify it and apply it when your next stressful situation crops up. Deep breathing and meditation is also a good on the go resource you can use to help lower your stress levels. With the various alternatives available, emotional eating should not feel like your only option, so be creative and feel the results! There are a variety of ways to feel better without blowing your entire caloric intake for the day, so research and apply!