Many of us have had those awful days where all we want to do is go home, sit on the couch and indulge in our favorite box of cookies. When times get bad, it can definitely feel good to soothe our feelings with food.
“Your body reacts to stress by releasing certain hormones such as cortisol, which increases the appetite and ramps up the motivation to eat,” says Franceen Friefeld, RD. “In addition, stress increases the craving for foods high in fat, sugar or both.”
Turning to food to help us cope can happen to all of us, but when it becomes a daily habit, stress eating can become a problem. If you find yourself reaching for a bag of chips every time the going gets rough, try one of these six tips to combat your stress eating.
1. Take The Stress Away
Whether you decide to take up yoga, see a therapist, get a massage, or even just confide in a friend, dealing with your stress rather than trying to cope with it through food can prevent you from overeating if you’re feeling emotional in the moment.
“Often times, people use food as an avoidance tactic rather than dealing with the problem at hand,” says Alena Kharlamenko, MS, RD. “If you address your stress factor, you may be less likely to stress eat.”
“Exercising releases endorphins, or the ‘feel-good’ hormones, and has been known to decrease stress,” says Kharlamenko. Rather than getting a temporary high from foods like sugar and fat, do something that benefits both your body and mind, and you’ll find that you’re more likely to hit the treadmill than a bag of popcorn after a long day.