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TOPIC: How Do I Get Past Stress Eating???

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August 2, 2012 7:35 AM
I did well all week, logged everything, was making great progress, then last night happened. One of my grandsons is having some health issues and is having some medical tests and my other son took his youth group to Atlanta and was driving back with a carload of teenagers in severe thunderstorms. I had picked up Outback for dinner since nobody was going to be home but me. Looked over the website carefully and made choices that fit well within my food budget. I was feeling great until about 9:30 - my son wasn't home yet, the weather was terrible, and I caved in to incredible cravings. I'm very disappointed in myself, but I guess I did learn something. I never really thought of myself as a "stress eater," but last night was living proof! How do you cope with stress eating? The cravings that hit me last night were huge!
August 2, 2012 7:36 AM
Non-butter popcorn. Celery. Eat your heart out. :)
August 2, 2012 7:38 AM
I was going to say "Find non-food ways to destress, such as taking a hot bath or watching a movie," but I gotta say, I like DanaDark's suggestions, too. :)
August 2, 2012 7:39 AM
Replace the behavior with a better one.

For example: take a walk OR eat but eat better (all the veggies you want).

Over time you will reprogram your brain to react differently to the stress.

Also, use this community as a support group. Instead of eating get on the message board. I'm sure you'll find people to talk you down.

Finally, be aware of what your triggers are and try to minimize them. For example with you son being out, figure out a way to communicate with him when he is out so you know he is safe.
Edited by Goal_Line On August 2, 2012 7:42 AM
August 2, 2012 6:51 PM
I'm dealing with a pretty bad stress eating problem myself. But, I have so far lost twenty pounds, so you can control it, it just takes a little work!

I recently watched an older ABC News special with Dr. Pamela Peeke. She likened the modern reaction to our "fight or flight" (stress) response to "stew and chew." Her advice was to use your fight or flight, or stress response, productively to fight cravings and also to control stress hormones, like cortisol. A previous comment mentioned going for a walk, which is exactly what Dr. Peeke suggested. If it's too late or too dark or too stormy to go for a walk, do some jumping jacks, crunches, push ups, lunges, squats, etc in your living room, obviously modified for your fitness level.

What I have found that has helped me the most is simply cleaning when I'm stressed! I organize closets, clean out the junk drawer, sort laundry, scrub the oven, etc. It's a physical reaction to the fight or flight response in the body, and I forget all about eating.

If a physical reaction doesn't work for you, find snacks that will keep you busy for awhile and fill you up. Raw veggies, maybe fruit or apple sauce. And drink tea! Especially chamomile, ginger, or peppermint when you're stressed.

I wish you luck! You can do it :)
August 3, 2012 4:57 AM
Thanks for all the tips! Great suggestions!
August 3, 2012 5:07 AM
I have this problem too. And right now we're going through a house sale/purchase that has been an absolute nightmare. I'm trying to keep good stuff in the house because I know I'm a stress eater. I try to keep a little bit of room in my calories for ice cream or beer or something because sometimes healthy stuff just won't do it for me.

It sucks that chocolate, mac & cheese, beer and tequila fix it but broccoli and green tea don't.
August 3, 2012 5:12 AM
To build on the idea of knowing your triggers-

When you know you're going to have a stressful situation, have your network ready. Not just MFP, but your real life network. Call a friend and get together or just talk on the phone.

In addition, keep a journal. Write down the stressful feelings. Write down what they make you want to eat. Then do something better. I find keeping my hands busy with other things is a way to avoid the eating. Needle crafts and other things are my ways.
August 6, 2012 11:22 AM
I am eating sunflower seeds and listening to the Dinsey channel on Pandora right now to help with my stress level! I am also taking Goal_Line's suggestion and coming on here to vent. I have been eating healthier for almost two months and have lost 20 pds. Thought I was past the carvings for the sweets and carbs, but this past weekend and today have been awful. Yesterday, I found a "gift bag" from Christmas that had a fun-size pack of M & M's, a Godiva Chocolate gem and a Nature Valley Graham chocolate square and I proceeded to wolf them down like there was no tomorrow. Then I snacked off and on till I got to bed, luckily I only ended up about 100 calories over my daily allowance, but then this morning, I had to go get a 3 Musketeers bar. Huge mistake as I am also a diabetic! My blood sugar at lunch was 190 (this is what 46 grams of carbs, plus breakfast carbs will do to you)- when I have been averaging 111, with nothing higher than 169 max.

The stress level in my life right now is incredible. My 32 year old niece is dying of breast cancer. I have been back and forth to another state (8 hours away) trying to help out. In fact, I flew into a nearby airport on Friday, arriving about 8:30 am and when I turned the rental car back in on Sunday at 7:30 am I had put about 425-450 miles on the car! A lot of running around trying to get things done, which is probably one of the reasons I am feeling the stress today since I didn't stop all weekend. My Mother is also on hospice and the niece's Mom is also sick. I feel like I am the only one left who can get anything done right now, but I have my own trouble's too. I am confused about my job. I made a job change a few months ago, but I have never really been happy here. I could possibly have a chance to go back to my old place of employment, but am confused. Would I be going back just because it is comfortable or do I try and stick it out with the new company? They are nice enough here, but they are so disorganized and backwards and don't seem to really want to change things. Offices just don't want to work together here. At least the other company was trying to be more progressive and were always looking to make changes for the better. Other stuff is also happening, but this is where I think the majority of the stress is coming from, that and the impact that I feel it is having on me and my husband's life right now. We have been married for 25 years and I love him deeply and I hate feeling like I am ignoring him.

How do you do it? I mean I know all the answers - relax, distract yourself, exercise, etc. but right now I just feel so exhausted and the alternatives don't seem to be helping. Anyone got anything they could offer? Just writing this helped some, I think. I just want to find a corner and go ahead and have my nervous breakdown.


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