Even the most dedicated dieters who love healthy foods can fall victim to stressful times in their lives, and when that happens, the body can change its attitude toward what is appealing – and how much of it – leading you away from healthful meals and toward those that are higher in fats, salt, and sugars. Unfortunately, when you’re under a lot of stress, your resistance to those signals is lower than it would usually be, so you’re at a far greater risk of submitting and eating that three-cheese pepperoni pizza or that massive slice of cheesecake that you know you shouldn’t bring home from the bakery you pass on the way home.
Stress eating stinks. There’s nothing else to it. Fortunately, though, there are some ways to put it behind you and make sure that it doesn’t control your actions, holding back your ability to lose weight. Use the following techniques to give yourself an advantage against those nasty stress eating signals that are trying to get in your way.
• Block your right nostril and breathe through your left one. You may have already heard of this technique if you do yoga or if you’re into ayurvedic medicine. It may sound nutty, but breathing through your left nostril can help you to be calmer and less impulsive, lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. Breathing through your right one, on the other hand, energizes you.
• Do something that makes you feel cozy. Take a warm bath. Throw your bathrobe in the drier for a couple of minutes and then wrap yourself in it, or snuggle up on the couch under a blanket and read a great book for a few minutes. Even if you can’t take a lot of time out of your schedule, making yourself feel cozy and calm will help you to reduce your stress level enough to think more clearly in terms of what you want to eat.
• Breathe. Take deep, slow breaths that fill your lungs and whole belly and then slowly let it back out again. This stimulates a number of functions in your body and mind and sends more oxygen to the brain. That can calm you down and help you to make better decisions regarding your meals and snacks.
• Eat a piece of fruit with a peel – peel a small orange like a mandarin or a Clementine, or peel a banana. The action of opening up the little food-gift and then eating the sweet treat inside can be enough to be calming and satisfying to a stressed mind and hungry belly.
These tips will go a long way toward putting stress eating in the past once and for all, so that you can finally lose the weight.