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Combat Stress Eating With These Tips

By Rachel Carver

Stress happens to the best of us. Schedules get hectic, something breaks at home, or an unexpected family illness occurs. Many life events cause stress, and it is common to find comfort in food, also known as stress eating.

According to an American Psychological Association survey, 38 percent of adults have eaten unhealthy food in the last 30 days because of stress. Half of the adults surveyed engage in this behavior at least weekly. Stress eating distracts you from your stress and becomes an unhealthy habit. Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, increase during periods of high stress. This makes your body crave sugar and fatty foods.

Here are some ways to avoid stress eating and the guilt that usually follows.

Find Your Stress

Ask yourself about what is causing your stress the next time you reach for that candy bar or ice cream. Identifying your stress triggers can help you break the stress eating habit. Jot them down on your phone or in a notebook. Use this journal to figure out what is upsetting you instead of using food to make it go away.

Organize Your Kitchen

We are used to grabbing the food we see. To prevent mindless eating, hide the junk food. Put the ice cream behind your frozen meat and vegetables. Put some cut fruit and veggies in the fridge to make it easily accessible. Filling your kitchen with healthy foods will keep you on track.

Set a Routine for Dealing with Stress

You need a stress management plan so you don't reach for the ice cream or chips. Establish a self-care routine with a brisk walk, giving yourself a facial, or reading your favorite book. Avoid your favorite drive through on your way home by choosing a different route and jamming out to your favorite tunes.

Exercise

Just a few minutes of exercise can fend off stress eating. Endorphins released during movement can drastically reduce stress. Commit to using your treadmill or exercise bike set days of the week, or sign up for a class to keep yourself accountable.

Practice Deep Breathing

When you feel the stress intensifying, spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing. Inhale through your abdomen and let it fill up as much as it can. Release the breath after a few seconds. Repeat this for several minutes, and you should begin to calm down. This will make it easier to think.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Covington, Ga.

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