Do you find yourself reaching for a bag of chips or binge-eating chocolate chip cookies when you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted?
Do you drink endless amounts of coffee filled with sugar to get you through the day?
Do you start to crave junk food around 3 p.m. like clockwork every single day?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are in the right place. Trust me when I say I've been there and struggled with all of the above.
Stress and exhaustion are two of the most common reasons people reach for sugar, carbs (the bad ones), and lots of caffeine.
We crave the comfort and that feel-good feeling that comes from consuming these unhealthy foods. We often forget about that dreaded crash that comes shortly after.
When we're stressed and exhausted, we're not always in the best mindset to make the healthiest choices for our bodies.
So I'm not going to tell you how to stress less or sleep more, but I'm here to give you simple strategies for eating healthy even when you're stressed to the max, running on little to no sleep, and just really want to eat that cupcake.
1. Be prepared.
Always make sure to have healthy food prepared and available for moments of need. I love to carry around Larabars, bananas, and clementines because they provide that sweetness I crave, but they are a much healthier alternative to the candy bar or chocolate chip cookie that I think I want.
By always having healthy options available to you, you're less likely to get something easy and convenient that may not be as nutritious.
2. Find healthy alternatives.
There's pretty much a healthy alternative for just about anything these days.
If you tend to crave chocolate, then perhaps you could make some avocado pudding or have some raw cacao nibs. If you tend to crave something crunchy or spicy, you could make sure to always keep some veggie sticks and salsa around.
Get creative and find healthier solutions for those things you tend to crave most.
3. Go for a walk.
Sometimes when you're really stressed it's simply because you need to take a break. Get outside, soak up that vitamin D, and take a short walk to see if the food cravings subside. The change of scenery and moving your body can truly uplift your mood.
4. Stop overcomplicating things.
Sometimes when we're trying to eat healthy, we want to try all of these new recipes or we feel like we have to eat a variety of different foods.
We often dread taking the time to chop those vegetables and actually cook a meal, but it doesn't have to be that complicated.
When you're feeling stressed or exhausted and you just don't want to cook, it's OK to just have a super-simple meal.
Heat up some frozen veggies and rice and put some hot sauce or soy sauce on it. You can make some avocado toast with seasonings to spice it up. Just eat whatever is simplest and easiest but still offers nutrients and nourishment to your body. There's no need to overcomplicate things.
5. Write it out (or talk it out).
Sometimes we bottle up our emotions and feelings, which can leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and alone. It can feel amazing to just let it all out and journal about your feelings, frustrations, or what you're grateful for.
If you prefer talking to someone, then get a coach, friend, or counselor and talk it out to release some of those built-up emotions. We all need to start acknowledging and honoring our feelings more so we can just move on without feeling the need to comfort ourselves with food.
Now, no more using the excuse that you are just too tired or stressed to eat healthy.
You don't have to eat perfectly in order to be healthy. Appreciate and acknowledge each healthy choice you make. It can be hard sometimes, but it's not impossible if you really desire to be healthy and live your best life.
Do you find yourself struggling to eat healthy when you are stressed or exhausted? How do you usually cope?