Have you ever fallen into the trap of stress eating? Do you sometimes feel it has taken over your life, and you need to stop somehow and get back in control?
At times when balance is off in our lives, some of us turn to food for comfort. Rather than sitting down to enjoy a meal, we find ourselves eating on the go, eating in front of the TV, and essentially eating more than we should. This leaves us feeling bloated, overly full and feeling like we've fallen into a food coma.
There are certain things in life that are out of our control, things we cannot change. There are also many aspects of life over which we do have control, and our health is at the top of the list. After all, we only have one body to take care of during this life. We control what enters our mouths at any given time. When stress and anxiety take over, some of us turn to food to feel better, when, in fact, it has the opposite effect. At that point we've entered the self-sabotage phase.
The smallest shifts can get you back on track. Once you make up your mind that you want to feel good again, these simple steps can help you to get there.
1. Take a different course.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are eating out of control, stop and put the food down. Instead, go take a walk. Sit and meditate for five minutes. Pick up a book and read for fifteen minutes. Do whatever it takes to slow yourself down. When you're ready, sit at a table and eat your meal properly without distraction.
2. Plan your meals.
You need to bring back the focus to being in control. Think of the next three days in front of you and write down what you plan to eat for each meal. This provides you with an outline in advance, and may prevent you from eating whatever, whenever.
3. Keep it simple.
When preparing your meals for the next few days, do keep it simple. The more complex planning is involved, the easier it will be to fall off track.
4. Break habits.
Take notice of when you're stress eating. Is it in front of the TV at night? If so, change your evening routine. Schedule a yoga class or go for a run after work before you head home. If you plan on winding down to watch TV, have your dinner at the table beforehand. If you're still hungry later on, make popcorn as a light snack. Limit the amount of time you watch TV. Possibly turn in a little early with a book.
If you find yourself mindlessly snacking at work because of the endless junk food in front of you, make a deal with yourself that you won't waste the calories at the office. You will wait to treat yourself to a nutritious dinner or a snack with your herbal tea later that evening. Always ask yourself, is it worth it?
5. Do something nice for yourself.
Remember, you should always treat yourself with kindness. Find something you're passionate about and schedule it on your calendar. Take the focus off of food. If you love running, book a race. Get a manicure to brighten your mood. Take yourself to a movie. Get lost in a new book. Schedule a haircut and opt for that hairstyle you've always wanted.
When you're feeling great, observe how you appear in that exact moment. Also, remember you're in control of your actions. You have the option to make a change for the better.