I have a confession to make, one that I really didn’t know until a few weeks ago. I can be an emotional eater. Since I’m not in a priest’s confessional booth, I won’t go into details, but life has been a little crazy over the last few months and I’ve found that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends.
Subconsciously, I’ve been dealing with that stress by snacking more than I should (it doesn’t help that I work from home). While I’ve been writing about diet and fitness for a decade, I’m by no means an angel or have the resolve of a nutritionist or fitness instructor. That means, if I’m not careful, I can find myself having difficulty buttoning my favorite pair of jeans.
What this all means is that maybe I can benefit just as much as you can from the advice I’m about to dispense. Here are some great ways to stave off stress eating:
1. Keep a glass of water at your side at all times. Often when you feel hungry, it’s really a sign that you are dehydrated. Plus, if you are finding yourself stressed, sipping water can distract you from your short-term urge.
2. Chew some sugar-free gum. This is a great way to not only deal with stress (through the chewing), but to satisfy your sweet tooth as well. A sugar-free gum that I love is Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights, which comes in amazing flavors like apple pie and mint chocolate chip.
3. Exercise. You should already be getting your exercise in, but it’s not just good for shedding weight and building lean muscle, it’s also a way of reducing stress, since you release endorphins when you put in a sweat-filled exercise session. That doesn’t even account for the self-confidence and pride you feel after putting in a good workout.
4. Just say om. A 2008 study found that a meditating group suppressed more than twice the number of stress-related genes than a group who did not meditate. You don’t have to become a Tibetan monk to benefit. In fact, those people in the study who didn’t meditate began to do so for 10 minutes a day for eight weeks, at which time they started to see stress-reducing benefits.