When you're under stress, your body produces higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that tends to make you crave sweet and salty food.
However, if you can learn to tune in to your physical hunger signals, you can distinguish physical hunger from emotional hunger and learn to prevent stress eating.
HERE ARE FIVE STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU:
1. RECOGNIZE WHEN YOU'RE STRESSED
Clenched teeth, hunched shoulders, headaches and shallow breathing can all be signs of stress.
2. FOCUS ON CHOICE
Notice what is going on for you physically, mentally and emotionally. Take a moment to reflect on what you are about to eat and ask yourself if this is really what you want to put in your body.
3. FIND ALTERNATIVES
If you find that you're overly stressed, look for ways other than food to reduce your stress. Exercise has been proven to reduce feelings of stress & anxiety, so if you're not already exercising five days a week, make a commitment to increase your activity level.
4. LEARN FROM THE PAST
If the last time you were stressed, you ate an entire bag of cookies and then felt guilty, eating only added to your stress. This time, take steps to control portions, like buying only one cookie instead of a dozen.
5. ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE
Slow down and savor the tastes, smells and textures of your food. You will feel satisfied and comforted sooner. Pay attention to your surroundings so that it's not just about the food, but more about the experience.