A happier, healthier you


A happier, healthier you

Are You Eating Your Feelings? Here are 7 Ways to Stop.

by Yes Health

Our whole world and ways of being have been turned on their head as many of us prepare to head into week four of sheltering in place. And even if you aren’t stuck at home, but are simply (or not-so-simply) practicing social distancing, well, let’s just say none of this is easy. For anyone.

Being at home a lot more can mean being surrounded by food 24/7–especially since many of us are stocking up to cut down on trips to the store. This perfect storm of feeling stressed and confined can cause us to graze all day and overeat at mealtimes.

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy ways to lessen our stress and anxiety so we can all eat well and still stick to our health goals. Here are seven suggestions from the coach team:

  1. Start your day off right. Research suggests that beginning your day with a stressful activity can keep you feeling anxious throughout the day. Rather than checking the latest headlines before you get out of bed, do something that helps you feel calm or upbeat. For example, five minutes of meditation, stretching, cuddling with your pet or dancing or listening to a favorite song. Make space and time for yourself. Techniques like square breathing and Yoga Nidra can also help deeply relax your mind and body. 
  2. Feed your soul. Coach Sara A. points out that stress behaviors are often a result of your brain itching for a dose of feel-good hormones. Instead of reaching for the fridge handle, feed your soul with an emotionally soothing activity that doesn’t involve food. Call a friend, curl up with a book, check in with a Yes Health coach, go for a walk or run, practice yoga, meditate, play with a pet, clean a room in your house, take a hot shower or warm bath, practice a hobby or work on a craft project. 
  3. Make an eating schedule. Planning your meals can help you avoid random snacking while keeping your energy levels up by reminding you when to eat. Apps like Recipe Calendar and Meal Reminders let you set times for your meals and snacks and will send you a reminder. Also, plan ahead for when you feel the urge to eat by having healthy snacks on hand, such as carrots and celery sticks and hummus or homemade popcorn.
  4. Practice self awareness. Coach Marcella recommends getting still and quiet and asking yourself what you’re feeling and why. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to show myself some loving kindness in this moment?” Your actions now have an opportunity to become conscious rather than unconscious and you’ll be better able to cope with whatever is stressing you out in a healthy way.
  5. Put things in perspective. Write in a journal to release the stressful build up. This exercise can help you see and understand what’s going on with more clarity. Putting your feelings on paper helps diffuse them making you less likely to comfort yourself with mindless eating.
  6. Take action. We tend to over (or even under eat) when we’re distracted and not present to the moment in front of us. Gardening can especially help with stress and anxiety because it engages our mind and body and grounds us, literally, in the Earth. If you don’t have outdoor space of your own, you can take advantage of the virtual tours that have been made available online to museums, zoos, aquariums and hiking spots to learn more about and immerse yourself in places you’re not currently able to visit in person.
  7. Walk on the wild side. Connecting with nature can help you feel more relaxed and connected to the world around you. Taking a walk in the park, woods or on the beach helps reduce anxiety as you reconnect with nature and enjoy the present moment. 

“There’s no right or wrong way to be,” says coach Kathleen. “The key is to figure out the most important thing for you to change and what you need to make that happen.” If you could make one small change to reduce stress eating, what would it be?  Start there. Building on success is the best way to put the brakes on unhealthy habits and start creating new healthier ones. 


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