Stress eating and can't stop?

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"Help, I'm stress eating and can't seem to stop!"

Was in the subject line of an email I got recently

Jan was a client from years ago who's work was downsizing and she'd been given more responsibilities than she felt like she could handle. Jan found herself heading to the kitchen throughout the day and constantly picking at anything she could find. Even though she knew she wasn't hungry, she couldn't get herself to stop eating. So she came to see me for some help.

Do you find yourself heading to the kitchen when you're stressed? 

You know you're not hungry, but you just need "something." Something to comfort, soothe, a way to escape the chaos of this thing called life.

This habit is becoming more common in the clients I see. Which is no wonder when you think about the go, go, go world we live in. Especially for women, it can feel like we’re constantly juggling a million things at once. And when life gets overwhelming, it’s easy to turn to food for a quick fix, because let's face it, it works. Even if the "fix" is only temporary.

Clients will tell me: "I just need more willpower," or "I must be addicted to food!"

But stress eating is not really about the food. It’s about the feelings we’re trying to avoid or numb out. When we’re stressed, anxious, frustrated, or lonely, food can become our go-to way of coping.

We eat, not because we’re hungry for food, but because we’re hungry for relief.

Yet when the last bite is gone, we’re left with the same stress as before, along with a helping of shame and guilt. It’s a vicious cycle that can leave us feeling trapped and out of control.

​To stop stress eating, it's important to first understand that it both helps and hurts you.

It helps because it offers comfort and distraction from difficult thoughts and feelings during tough times. But it also hurts because we eat large quantities of high fat, sugar and salt containing foods which can affect our health. Plus we often end up feeling worse afterwards, which affects our confidence and self-esteem.

​It's easier to focus on what we're eating instead of looking at why. But why we're eating is exactly where we need to focus. 

​We need to get comfortable with our emotions because they are at the core of our issues with food. After all, it's called emotional eating for a reason!

Many of us find it difficult to express feelings. We're taught as children to keep our emotions to ourselves and not express them.

But we have feelings for a reason.

Next time you have a craving, instead of immediately turning to food, take a breath, then from a place of curiosity, ask yourself what it is you're feeling. Once you identify how you are feeling, you can work out why, then set about fixing the actual problem.

This is what I helped Jan do. Once she realised what was happening, how she was using food to cope with how she was feeling, we made a plan that she was able to follow through with immediately.

The very next day she spoke to her manager and explained how she felt.
Together they resolved the issue and Jan no longer needed food to "cope."

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Hey! I'm Caroline

Dietitian & Eating Psychology Coach

Don't waste your time, destroy your energy levels or mess with your health by going on diets, restricting carbs or counting calories.

Life it to be enjoyed.

I believe you can live life AND manage your weight.

I share my thoughts on how you can do that on this blog...

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