Why do I eat when I am stressed?

Anxiety in children
Does your child have anxiety?
September 15, 2021
Show all

Why do I eat when I am stressed?

Stress Eating

If food is your go-to when are have had a stressful day, you are not alone! Reaching for the biscuit tin or ordering your favourite takeaway to relax is common practice.

This form of emotional eating is (although many people who not recognise it as emotional eating) is a way of finding a solution to the stress or emotion you are feeling.

If you recognise that food is your drug of choice emotional crutch you might be wondering why it has such control over you?

Firstly whether you reach for food, a glass of wine or fire up the laptop to do some online shopping – they are all ways of providing relief to an unpleasant feeling, a solution to a problem and not the problem itself.

Food is much more common and often flies under the radar as being an issue as it is something we have to do everyday in order to survive, it is easily and readily available. There is also the associations we have made to food during our formative years that determines how and why we use food for emotional support.

But ultimately because it WORKS! Once we have a solution to a problem why would we look for answers elsewhere!

Food then becomes an unconscious solution to feeling better in response to stress and overtime through repetition this becomes so automated that we later on do not recognise that there is any emotion behind it, but there is always an emotional trigger!

The Stress Response

Our inbuilt survival mechanism is constantly being triggered from a busy day at work, an argument with the partner prompting our autonomic nervous system to respond which means that we lose access to the rational part of brain that is responsible for willpower/motivation and then we have to rely on our unconscious learning.

People often feel like this is when the self-sabotage and feel out of control – this is a classic reaction that the brain is doing what it is designed to do.


Cravings and Binge Eating

A craving/binge eating episode is ALWAYS a reaction to an emotional trigger – so if we learn to deal with the underlying stress or emotion then it then changes that behavioural response.


How do I stop stress eating?

Putting an end to stress-eating might seem like an uphill struggle and the first step is recognising that stress eating is the solution NOT the problem so in order to resolve this long term it is important to address real issue. This is the first part of my Conquer Comfort Eating program where I help my members to understand what is really going on for them and this in itself can provide massive transformations to your eating habits.

If you would like to learn more about how to stop stress eating so you can lose weight without dieting register for my FREE training here.


What can I do to reduce stress instead of eating?

If you are prone to relying on food when you are stressed then actively reducing stress in your life is only going to help.

Here are some ideas on how you can reduce stress in your life:

Move your body

Now I don’t necessarily mean exercise, yes you can grab your running shoes or unroll the yoga mat but really any activity that requires you to move your body will help reduce stress. Make it fun too to get a double whammy of benefits, join a walking club, dance to your favourite tunes or even sex!


Relax your mind

A daily practice of mindfulness, yoga, breathing or meditation can really help to alleviate the build up of stress.

It doesn’t have to take long even just 10 minutes a day can have positive benefits, why not download my FREE 10 min audio to start with.


Phone a friend

Seeking support of friends or family in times of stress is invaluable, or consider joining a local community group that meet regularly so you have committed time in your diary for creating that connection.


Take Away (I’m not talking Chinese here )

Reaching for food when you experience stress is very common as many of us know when you stress-eat, however, any relief it provides is often temporary and often followed by feelings of guilt.

Emotional eating can affect your weight, overall health and well-being.

It is important to acknowledge that it is impossible to avoid stress altogether so that is why it is necessary to find alternative healthy ways to deal with daily stressors and anxiety that don’t involve eating.

If you would like to learn more about how to stop stress eating so you can lose weight without dieting register for my FREE training here.