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How To Stop Emotional Eating Due to Stress

Updated on September 30, 2018
Is stress eating sabotaging your diet?
Is stress eating sabotaging your diet? | Source

Are You Stressed?

Perhaps it's family or work that are causing you stress. Maybe it is a combination of things. Many people turn to food for comfort when they are under stress. Food is a great distraction, unfortunately overeating leads to obesity and health problems. Stress eating is extremely common. Becoming cognizant of this behavior is the first step to stopping it.

Why Do Some of Us Eat When Stressed?

Stress eating is linked to emotional eating. An increase in the Cortisol levels in our bodies can trigger carbohydrate cravings. Another thing we are doing when we are stressed is 'stuffing our emotions' with food. Foods, especially foods high in carbohydrates, release endorphines in our brains and temporarily make us feel better.

Using Different Techniques to Battle Stress

Finding positive outlets for your stress and planning ahead will prevent you from going to the fridge or heading to the vending machine at work. Deep breathing, counting or just get up and walk away. Sometimes when I find myself becoming stressed at work I will just take a break. Just going to the coffee machine or talking to a co-worker for a few moments can help you to de-stress.

Music is also my personal secret weapon to battling stress. Create a playlist with songs that make you feel good and listen to that playlist while you are working. This sounds so simple but it is extremely effective. Music is a great tool for creating a positive mood.

Be Cognizant of Your Emotions

Understanding what makes you tick and what triggers your stress is more than half the battle. Don't say to yourself 'screw it', and head to the vending machine. First admit that you feel your stress levels rising. Tell yourself, firmly, that eating is not an option. When we are stressed, we lose control. Address what you are feeling and admit that you are stressed. This gives you your power back.

Keep Healthy Snacks Nearby

If you are going to eat, eat healthy. Keep celery sticks, carrots, apple slices, almonds and low calorie crackers at work. Make sure your home is stocked with healthy goodies. A favorite of mine is cut up apple slices with a tablespoon of sugar-free peanut butter. Celery sticks and hummus also make a great snack food. Remember it's the sugary, high fat and empty carbohydrates that put on weight.

Water and herbal tea are also great alternatives to pigging out on junk food. You can add a squirt of lemon to your water for some added flavor, without the added calories!

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

People who exercise on a regular basis and eat right tend to have less stress and lower body fat than those who don't. People who have a balanced lifestyle, make time for friends and family also tend to have lower stress levels. Spend time with loved ones, take care of your body and most of all laugh often! Believe me, an unhappy person is much more prone to stress and over eating than one who is happy. Sure, your life may not be perfect, whose is? You can still have a life that is rich with love and joy. A positive, healthy attitude can make all the difference!


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    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks Vicki, I appreciate your comment. I find it interesting that some people overeat to deal with stress and some not at all. I wonder why that is. Anyway, you are correct. Being aware is the key. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi amymarie, enjoyed this article. A topic that would be of interest to so many of us. Emotions do play a huge part in eating, as I discover each week with participants in my bereavement group. Some eat more, some eat less. Like all things moderation is the best, and realising how emotions trigger eating is key.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for your kind comment and great advice about keeping busy. I agree that women tend to be more prone to emotional eating than men are. Thank you once again for stopping by!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I completely agree with the topic of your hub, that is people do tend to eat senselessly, when they are facing emotional stress. I have observed women, especially in their middle ages, when their children are all settled in life and they have much less work to do and perhaps they start feeling lonely, start eating more, without even feeling hungry.

      It is better to eat healthy, if you really can not get over this habit...a fruit or some nuts. Or the best option is, keep yourself busy, as you have suggested.

      Very nice hub, with very good suggestions....will be useful to many who face this situation. Thanks for sharing.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Onegreenparachute! Glad you stopped by! The celery and hummus is so tasty! It's a great snack food. Thanks for commenting and hope this helps a little with the over -eating. We all do it and for different reasons. Take care!!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Fpherj48! Took a well needed break. I was writing for two different sites and managed to burn myself out! Glad to be back! I must check out some of your hubs while I'm on today!!

      And I wish I was like you! Some people truly don't have this problem! If I were someone who didn't stress eat, I'd probably be the tiniest person on the planet!!! LOL! Thanks for stopping by! I've missed you!

    • onegreenparachute profile image


      8 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      I'm not sure my over-eating is due to stress but I'm going to try celery and hummus for sure. The apple and peanut butter also sound delicious. Thanks for a great hub!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from Carson City

      I can fully understand and relate...however, isn't it strange how each individual reacts with "food" in totally different ways? Anytime I have had an overload of stress in my life, I am literally unable to eat...and thus, I lose weight. As a result, I am also lacking proper nutrition and wind up getting sick in some form. In more recent years, I have much less stress and what little that come my way, I'm better prepared to handle...

      Haven't seen you in a while.....and I was happy to see you pop up on my thread......Hope you have been well. Thanks for this great hub, amy.....UP+++


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