If you find yourself reaching for comfort food more often than usual, it may be a sign that you’re stress eating. Stress eating is a common coping mechanism for dealing with stress and anxiety. While it’s normal to turn to food for comfort occasionally, doing so on a regular basis can have negative consequences for your health.
Stress eating can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can put you at risk for other health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Stress eating can also increase your anxiety and stress levels, creating a vicious cycle of emotional eating.
If you think you might be a stress eater, and you want to find out, here are some signs to look out for:
- You find yourself eating even when you’re not hungry.
- You turn to food for comfort when you’re feeling stressed or down.
- You have trouble losing weight, no matter how hard you try.
- You feel your eating habits are out of control.
- You have sudden, intense cravings for specific foods.
If you can relate to any of the above signs, it’s possible that stress is a factor in your relationship with food.
Some of the signs above can arise due to a stressful or emotional event triggering you to overeat. Once you know what your triggers are, you can work on avoiding them or finding other ways to cope with them. For example, if you tend to stress eat when you’re bored, try finding a different activity to occupy your time. If you tend to stress eat when you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a few deep breaths and focusing on relaxation techniques. Sometimes going outdoors or even going on a short walk can help clear your mind and relieve a bit of your stress.
Stress eating is a common problem, but it is one that you can manage with some effort and commitment. By identifying the signs and triggers and finding other ways to cope with stress, you can break the cycle of emotional eating and improve your overall health. Stress eating doesn’t have to control your life. With a little effort, you can take back the control and start living a healthier, happier life.