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Raise Your Hand If You Are A Stress-Eater

By Sandy Schroeder

Many of us could recite the process in our sleep, and sometimes do, as we sleepily munch a few chips or cookies at 3 a.m. Reacting to stress with big inputs of junk food can be fairly rampant in the office.

I worked with a boss who controlled the budgets for our department. When I went in to see her, if I looked carefully I could spot several candy bars peeking out from the pages of figures on her desk. My own personal choices, while I worked there, ranged from a drawer full of nuts, cookies and chips, to really large burgers and fries lunches, followed by pizza on Friday nights.

Often driving home, I would find my car turned into my favorite franchise almost by itself if it had been an exceptionally long day. But over time I found some good ways to loosen the grip of stress-eating. Here are some from

Good Ways to Break the Cycle

Walk Instead of Munching – Whenever you feel the urge to munch, take a 15-minute break and walk around the office or across the parking lot and back.

Empty the Snack Drawer – Clean out your stash of goodies. Just keep gum or saltines at your desk.

Bring In Citrus – When it’s break time, find a quiet spot and take your time to peel an orange instead of merging into the break room where all of the donuts live. The smell of citrus and the act of peeling can do a lot to calm the stress demons.

Run a Good Roadblock – Instead of diving into a treat, pull out something that you enjoy doing such as knitting, puzzles, weaving, or sketching.

Do Small Really Good Treats – Small squares of excellent dark chocolate, a tiny wedge of your favorite low fat cheese, half an avocado, fresh berries, grapes or apples are all healthy choices to subdue the urge.

Try Meditation – If you have never done deep-breathing exercises, or simple meditations, you may find they help to siphon off stress and change the whole flow of the day. When stress mounts, step away from your desk, or close your door, and take 15 minutes to leave it all behind. If you have trouble relaxing, picture your favorite spot at the beach, in the park, or on the water.

If you have been a stress eater for some time, you may have more good ways to calm down and munch less. Whatever they are, keep going. It gets easier when you go shopping and discover you have dropped a pant size. 

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