Stress eating isn’t helpful to your weight loss goals. It can be tempting to reach for a sweet treat or a a bag of chips when you’re feeling stressed. It may feel great at the time but you usually regret it as soon as you’ve eaten. These are a few things you can do rather than stress eating.

They can help reduce your anxiety and there’s no no guilt afterward.

1.Call a Friend

Sometimes it can be helpful to talk your problems over with a friend. You may even find that you figure out a solution just by talking to someone.

If nothing else, venting can help release your frustrations. It always makes me feel better to talk to a friend. They can also offer you a sympathetic ear and even some suggestions for whatever stressful situation you’re dealing with.

2.Have a Glass of Water

This may not help you to feel less stressed, but it’s a way to hit pause. Before you reach for food when you’re tempted to indulge in stress eating, have a glass of water.

This gives you a moment to think and decide to do something else instead of eating. Having a glass of water can also help kill the urge to snack. It’s a two-fold solution.

3.Plan Your Menu

If your mind is on food then one option is to go with it. Not in the sense that you give in to stress eating, but you do something food related.

It can be pleasurable to plan your menu. You get to think about food without actually turning to it for comfort. This is also a good time to research some new recipes to try.

4.Work out

This is another way to take advantage of those feel good endorphins released by exercise. Put in a good workout.

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.

Exercise is a wonderful tool in dealing with stress. It has a helpful side effect too, in that it makes you want to eat healthier. You usually don’t want to put junk into your body when you’re working out. You would be aware that you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste!

5.Journal

Writing about what has you feeling stressed can be very therapeutic. You don’t have to keep a daily journal to do this, although that’s a good thing to do.

Simply writing your feelings out on a few pieces of paper can help you to gain perspective. You can also type them out and then delete them when you’re done. It can feel very freeing to release all the stress that’s upsetting you.

6.Form a plan to handle the situation.

Sometimes the best way to handle stress is to deal with it, especially if it’s a reoccurring situation. Step back from the situation and look at it from an outside perspective. Brainstorm possible solutions you could use.

It may even help to make a list of options you could choose. Seeing things written down in black and white can give you clarity.

7. Keep A Food Diary

“I always recommend that people keep a diet diary for a week and write down what they’re feeling right before eating,” says Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD.”

Often people learn a lot, and see that the big plate of cookies is right after talking to mom, or the chocolate bars are after dealing with a difficult boss.”

Once you recognize your pattern of behaviors, you can find alternative distractions to deal with your problems, even if that means changing your route home so you don’t pass by your favorite bakery.

8. Keep Only Healthy Food At Home

Your body starts to form an association between relaxation and junky foods, but if you replace your unhealthy foods with snacks like carrots, nuts, or strawberries, it will start to crave those foods instead.

Plus, these foods contain vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to help naturally fight off stress.

9. Practice Mindful Eating

Don’t just sit in front of the TV and mindlessly devour a bowl of mac and cheese.

“Take your time to notice the taste, smell, texture and other sensory aspects about the food,” says psychologist Jennifer E. Carter, Ph.D. “To eat mindfully, sit at a table with no distractions (computer, TV, reading materials) and slowly savor the food.”

This can help you keep your portions in control and eat only when you’re actually hungry.

10. Get More Sleep

Studies have found that women who report that they get a short amount of sleep per night are more likely to participate in emotional eating.

Lack of sleep can raise your cortisol levels, making you more stressed and even more likely to reach for unhealthy foods out of desperation for comfort and energy.

Aim to get at least seven hours a night to keep your cortisol levels in check.

11.Go for a Walk

One activity to choose instead of turning to stress eating is to go for a walk. Walking is a great stress reliever.

It’s a type of exercise so it releases all those lovely endorphins that give you a feel good rush. Additionally, walking is an activity that helps to clear your mind. Things often look brighter after a walk.

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