Many of us struggle with stress eating as proven in the numbers. Between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK alone are affected by an eating disorder that often starts off with stress eating. Stress eating can also be referred to as emotional eating and is used by many people to help them deal with stressful situations, events, or changes that may be happening. People of all ages can experience stress eating and it can be caused by physical triggers, psychological triggers, or sometimes even a combination of both.
Do you overeat?
If you’re looking to book a FREE 30-minute consultation call with me to delve further into stress-eating and direct coping strategies, I would love to hear from you.
Stress eating is used as a coping mechanism for short-term relief of psychological or physical symptoms but can often result in further stress. For example, a person that is going through a difficult life change such as a relationship break-up may stress-eat to make themselves feel better temporarily. However, when this becomes a habit, the person may then over-indulge which can lead to weight gain and therefore feelings of guilt, low mood, and low energy. The vicious cycle of over-eating then may continue to repeat itself.
It’s a possibility that you may be stress-eating without even realizing it. The first clear sign of stress-eating is if you are over-indulging subconsciously. By this, we mean going for food without thinking consciously of what you are doing. Another key symptom that may indicate you are overeating as a by-product of stress is if you feel out of control where food is involved. This may be particularly prevalent for you if you feel you have a real lack of willpower daily over your food choices.
What causes stress eating?
As previously mentioned, there are a whole host of reasons as to why you - and millions of other people throughout the UK - are stress eating. A few of the reasons may include;-
Change - As human beings, we naturally love the comfort of certainly but unfortunately, many things in life are uncertain with situations in our lives changing all the time. Some people can deal with change much better than others but those who tend to avoid inevitable change are likely to be the ones who encounter stress-eating, as a result.
Bereavement - The loss of a loved one is a horrible time for any person and it can affect us in different ways. The natural emotions of bereavement include sadness, anger, and guilt. These are all strong emotions that can emotionally trigger people to over-eat.
Stress & Anxiety - If you are struggling emotionally with anxiety and your own mental health, you are much more likely to stress-eat as you may suffer from low-self esteem.
Relationships - Just like life, the dynamics of relationships can change. Romantic, personal, and family relationships can be stressful. Moreover, you may be reciprocating similar overeating habits to those closest to you.
Many harmful effects come from stress eating. Before we go into the solutions for stress-eating and how you can help yourself, it’s a good idea to explore a few effects of what this type of eating can do to our bodies. Stress eating may promote excess body fat from the simple fact that you may be consuming more calories than you are burning. Moreover, stress-eating may also increase the risk of disease and poorer long-term health. This is because overeating and binge eating can lead to obesity and that can result in being more at risk of heart disease and strokes.
If you are experiencing stress-eating, it’s not all bad. There are direct solutions and techniques to use that allow you to become much more conscious of your eating choices and habits.
Solution 1 - Check-In With Feelings
One of the best ways to significantly reduce or eliminate stress-eating habits is to become more conscious of your eating choices. You can do this by simply asking the question ‘’am I stressed’’ before you go to the fridge or cupboard. By getting in the habit of asking yourself this simple question, you will then be in much better control of your next eating decision.
Solution 2 - Mindfulness Eating Coaching
Here at Naturally Empowered Health, Margaret offers mindfulness eating coaching that starts with a 30-minute discovery call. This is a call to find out if 1-to-1 coaching is right for you, as well as find out more about your emotional triggers so that we can become more mindful about eating habits.
Solution 3 - Implement Healthy Stress Coping Strategies
There is a whole host of other stress coping strategies out there and it’s all about finding the right ones that are right for you. Eating is one of the easiest stress-coping mechanisms but it’s one of the most detrimental to our bodies. Instead of stress-eating, you may want to try yoga, running, having a relaxing bath, or talking to a friend.
Arrange A FREE Consultation Call
Here at Naturally Empowered Health, we are passionate about healing your challenges with food. If you are ready to learn proven coping strategies to truly be at peace and have full control of food, please get in touch today and book a consultation call by calling 07413 012 474.