When you’re feeling stressed out, it’s almost second nature to grab a box of cookies or reach for a bag of chips.
You say that you’ll only have a handful, but before you know it, the entire container is empty, and although you don’t feel so great, your hunger still isn’t satiated.
This cycle may repeat itself time and time again, and you’ll continue to gain weight without actually solving your problems.
Stress eating is a toxic habit that is easy to fall into, but with the proper steps, you can break the cycle, lose weight, and keep it off.
Losing weight requires work, but it’s not complicated.
If you put enough effort into it, you can easily achieve your weight-loss goals and overcome your stress eating habit for good.
To help you along your weight loss journey, here are seven effective ways to slim down and stop stress eating.
See Also: Are you looking for more health benefits from healthy eating? Check out these 15 Items in Every Healthy Woman’s Refrigerator!
7 Ways to Stop Stress Eating and Slim Down
1. Stay Busy.
People tend to reach for snacks and junk food when they have nothing to do, and that makes perfect sense.
Think about it; if you’re busy organizing your attic or improving your garden, then you won’t have the opportunity to slip into the cookie jar. However, if you’re just mulling around your house without anything to do, then you’ll find your way to the pantry sooner or later.
Bowling Green University staff conducted a study at sarahdomoff.com that shows a strong correlation between boredom and food consumption, so the link between boredom and stress eating isn’t just based on intuition; it’s a scientific fact.
To combat boredom, you need to find something to do. If you have a large chunk of free time every day, then consider joining a club or finding an activity. When the urge to snack hits you while you’re not doing anything, find a chore or task to keep your mind off of it.
2. Record Food Intake.
A scientific study at sciencedaily.com found that people who keep a food diary lose about twice as much weight as those who don’t.
When you write your food consumption down, you can better understand and reflect upon your habits.
Most people who gain weight believe that they’re consuming fewer calories than they actually do, so a food diary can help contextualize your eating patterns so that you can readily make changes to your diet.
3. Uncover the Causes of Your Stress.
When you feel a lot of stress, you’re driven to do things that will make you feel better in the short term. It doesn’t matter if those things are good for your long-term health; your brain wants you to put a Band-Aid on your problems.
According to a study at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, people who feel anxious or stressed out are more likely to reach for high-sugar foods that provide a quick dopamine rush.
If you’re under stress, then you will continue to feel the urge to eat. With this in mind, you should consider identifying and addressing the root causes of your stress. Once you deal with the things that cause anxiety and other bad feelings, you’ll find that you won’t feel the need to snack as often.
4. Set Quality Goals.
At psychologytoday.com, Marilyn-Price Mitchell, an esteemed developmental psychologist, notes that people who set goals are far more likely to achieve their goals.
If you’re trying to lose weight without any concrete goals, then your efforts may prove futile. When setting weight loss goals, they must be measurable and attainable.
Instead of making a broad goal to lose weight, you should set a benchmark to lose a certain number of pounds by a specific date. You can break this goal up into smaller goals to make your progress easier to track.
If you find that you’re not able to achieve your goals, then it’s time to lower your standard. There is nothing wrong with adjusting your goals to make them more achievable.
Weight loss isn’t a competition, and you won’t be ridiculed for having a different goal than someone else.
5. Get Adequate Sleep.
At nhs.uk, the National Health Service asserts that people should get around eight hours of sleep per night for optimal weight loss.
If you’re not well-rested, then you may reach for unhealthy snacks to compensate for your energy gap.
Sleeping is not only good for weight loss, but it can also reduce stress and improve your overall health, so even when you hit your weight loss goal, you should still strive to still get enough sleep.
6. Have patience.
You’re not going to lose all of that extra weight in a week. Weight loss takes time, so you shouldn’t try to rush it.
According to the Mayo Clinic at mayoclinic.org, the average person can expect to lose about one pound per week when consuming 500 fewer calories per day. When cutting out 1000 calories per day, the average person can expect to lose about two pounds per week.
Unless you’re stranded on a desert island, you can’t expect to lose more than one or two pounds every week. This may be frustrating, but weight loss is a long-term commitment, and it’ll get easier as time passes.
Your weight loss journey is a lifestyle change; it’s not just some quick effort to look good in that dress before an event.
7. Exercise & Stay active.
Exercise burns calories, and when you burn more calories, you lose more weight.
According to a scientific study at onlinelibrary.wiley.com, people who exercise at least 15 minutes per day tend to maintain weight loss more successfully than people who don’t regularly exercise.
On top of burning calories, exercise can also reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep, so it is an effective tool to help you lose weight and keep it off.
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