I mentioned earlier this week that I’m under considerable amounts of stress. No where else is this more evident than in my eating patterns. I’ve been a Snacky McSnackerson literally to the point of feeling ill many times this week. I want it to stop. Not only is it causing weight gain (I was down 5lbs on my new leaf challenge. I don’t want to ruin that), but it’s just not healthy (physically or mentally).
There are some people who don’t eat when they’re stressed. I wish I could be one of them. I’m the exact opposite. I can’t stop. I’m not talking about an extra cookie here or there. I’m talking about a lot of extra eating when I’m not even hungry.
Honestly, this is a little embarrassing for me to write, since so many people I know in person read this, but I keep reminding myself that I write this blog for myself, not for anyone else. Lately, I haven’t been posting healthy recipes I like, because I simply haven’t made any. I want that to change.
I was reading a few articles on stress eating and a lot of the problems/solutions don’t really apply to me. I don’t keep junk food in the house. Whole wheat toast, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese, fruit, granola bars, beans and green monsters aren’t unhealthy, but too much of anything is not good. Sure, I have junk food occasionally but for the most part, I eat very healthy foods. After reviewing many suggestions for reducing stress eating and finding solutions that don’t really meet my needs, I’ve decided to devise my own.
Here are a few problems and solutions I have in mind for how to stop stress eating:
- Exercise: One common recommendation to reduce stress is to exercise. Working out isn’t an issue for me. I exercise 5-6 days a week, but I’m still stressed (and still stress eat). I’m going to keep exercising but when I’m feeling very stressed, I’m going to try to do some yoga. I’ve never gotten into yoga as it’s been terribly boring each time I’ve tried it but on Netflix watch instantly there are a few yoga DVDs. Worth a try right?
- Balanced Meals: A lot of people recommend eating 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day. I think every person is different. For some, 3 meals works best but not for others. Recently, my snacking problem has been after lunch. I come home and have a snack simply out of habit, even if I’m not necessarily hungry. This results in me snacking the entire night and never actually eating a balanced dinner (today was a perfect example of that). Instead I’m going to try to eat 3 meals a day and only have a snack if I’m really hungry. Expect to see more healthy recipes I try!
- Schedule: Being in grad school means I have a very irregular schedule. While I start class everyday at the same time, there after, each day is different. This makes it difficult to get in the rhythm of a schedule. I need to have regular exercise, study, eating and relaxing times. I want to re-form all the healthy habits that I used to have. I’m working on devising a daily schedule for myself, which I can share if anyone is interested.
- Obsession: I admit it. I’m obsessed with the scale. This is just my personality. I’m not very good at half assing things (except maybe math…). Am I okay with it? No. Am I trying to fix it? Yes. I started counting calories again in January, as I had successfully done before. This time it backfired. The more stressed I got, the more I ate and the more guilty I felt. I would eat very few calories one day (around 1200-1300) then I’d be ravenous the next day only to overeat! The following day, I’d try to make up for it by eating very few calories again… see the cycle? I lost weight but was terribly unhappy. I still think calorie counting is an effective tool for weight loss, but obsession is not. I need to check myself and reassess the deeper issue: stress. So for now, I’m concentrating on eating 3 healthy, balanced meals a day while avoiding mindless snacking. I’ll worry about weight loss and calories once I’ve gotten this one down.
- Finding Alternatives: I’ve realized that a lot of times I eat to put off work. Instead of eating, I need to find healthy substitutes. I mentioned yoga above, but another one I’m going to try is cleaning. Every time I feel like eating something when I’m not hungry, I’ll clean/organize something. If I really want it by the time I’m done cleaning, I’ll have it. Cleaning should be a good enough break 🙂
I’m writing this because I want to be healthy. Not just physically healthy but mentally healthy. I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who don’t struggle with this and simply don’t understand, some may even think this is flat out stupid. But I also know there are a ton of people out there who face the same issues I do. I’m not going to let a stage of my life control my happiness. I’m going to take control, overcome it and succeed!
Do you have any other suggestions to put an end to stress eating or to manage stress?
I’ll keep you all posted on my progress. Have a great, relaxing night!