As Seen On…
Want to learn more about Stress Eating?
Check out one of these blog posts by one of Way’s credentialed Dietitian Partners
More About Stress Eating…
There’s so much conversation about stress eating – stress this, stress that, stress from work, stress from my kids, stress from traffic. Stress from wanting more out of life.
And so we’re told, that eating when we’re stressed is “bad” or that you’ve done something “wrong” when you eat while you’re stressed. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why Everyone Should Take A Chill Pill About Stress Eating
There are a lot of reasons why we eat when life throws an overwhelming amount of things our way. Being clear about different types of stress is very important to define, too – you can be distressed, like you have bad stress and are worried, anxious, fearful or desperate, or you can have good stress, where you feel invigorated, excited, joyful, and yet exerting a lot of energy mentally, emotionally, and/or physically.
There can actually be a physiological need to what we call “stress eating” – it could stem from a low blood sugar level, where your blood sugar is so low that your body is entering a flight or flight response, which can make you angry and looking for food at every moment.
Some call this feeling being “hangry” – like you’re hungry and angry at the same time, and you’re likely coming off as being grumpy or mean because your body is screammming for food and you need to extinguish that fire in your stomach.
How to Handle Stress Eating Situations
Stress Eating can also come from a different emotional sense – you feel worried because you have a deadline at work and you’re behind, or you got made fun of at school by some mean classmates and so you eat when you get home to cope with that emotion and feel good from eating comfort food. In none of these situations are you doing something “bad” or “wrong”, and feeling shame or guilt will likely only make the stressful feelings even more dramatic.
But it may be helpful to get curious – become curious of where the feeling is coming from and how it got there.
When did you start feeling the need to eat?
Like, exactly what hour and minute was it? What happened that changed around that time or recently before then?
Did you feel mad, sad, excited, energized, or what feeling gave you the sense that eating was a good idea?
What makes you think eating something will make you feel better?
These are just some of the questions that can help you explore, giving you a peaceful moment to pause, have some reflection, breathe and make sure that whatever you do, you’re being mindful. If you feel stressed and then mindfully eat something because your body is hungry and giving you hunger signals, that’s fine! If you feel overwhelmed and know that, and you cope with your emotions by eating, that’s also fine!
Create A Habit of Kindness Around Stress Eating
Creating a habit of kindness with your emotions is the best way to gain and understanding of their root cause. Get familiar with them. Then, always come back to listening to your body, understanding what the actual hunger or fullness cues are, and make the decision to eat or do something else based upon what aligns with your values and what you’re feeling in the moment.
At first it may feel a little different, but over time you’ll find this practice gives you so much space to have freedom and not feel like there’s something wrong or bad with you. You’re a beautiful and unique creation, just remember to tell yourself that, every once in a while.
If you’re ready to explore a little deeper – the Way app is easy to download and our Emotional Eats Pathways was designed to help you. Flip the connotation of emotional eating as something you need to “fight” or “stop”. This way, you can explore how emotions influence eating.
Being aware of your emotions, accepting your emotions, you can gain more harmony in your relationship with food and your relationship with you body.
Join the community of over 10,000 people who have started their journey with us. We keep our subscription affordable at less than $10/month because our mission is to enhance your health and happiness. Healthline, the biggest health website on the internet, recognized Way as the 2023 Best Non-Diet App.