When you’re under stress, you may find it harder to eat healthy. During times of particularly high stress, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs – sometimes called stress eating or emotional eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie or carbohydrate rich foods during times of stress, even when you’re not hungry.
To prevent weight gain during stress and reduce the risk of obesity or stroke, try to get a handle on your stress. When you feel less stressed and more in control of your life, you may find it easier to stick to healthy eating and exercise habits.
Try these stress management techniques:
- Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension
- Before eating, ask yourself why you’re eating – are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious?
- If you’re tempted to eat when you’re not hungry, find a distraction
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. If you’re in a hurry, grab a piece of fruit. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and helps to set the tone for your eating habits for the rest of the day
- Eat a healthy diet, such as whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Aim to include most food groups in your meals
- Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your home or office
- Keep a record of your behaviour and eating habits so that you can look for patterns and connections – and then figure out how to overcome them
- Learn problem-solving skills so that you can anticipate challenges and cope with setbacks
- Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, stretching, massage, deep breathing or meditation
- Engage in regular physical activity or exercise. This is often one of the most effective and under-utilized stress reduction tools
- Get adequate sleep
- Get encouragement from supportive friends and family
If you try stress management techniques on your own but they don’t seem to be working, consider seeking professional help through psychotherapy or counselling by speaking with your GP. If you’d like to learn more about how a bariatric procedure might help you, get in touch with one of our Program Advisors today at (888) 278-7952 or Connect through our website at https://www.smartshape.ca/connect-today/