In our environment today we can get overwhelmed with the many tasks we voluntary put on our ‘to-do” list which can overwhelmingly lead to stress eating.
Are you stuck in a stress eating cycle?
We’ve all been there and I’m no perfectionist at this myself – however I’m very aware of when I’m in a stress eating bubble.
Rushing around being all productive, look at the time, oh sh** I’ve missed lunch.
Quickly whip something up. Which is usually grater zucchini, spinach leaves, cucumber, sprouts, turmeric and avocado – salad made in 3 minutes.
But what happen’s next is where it get’s me and I know I’m not alone here. We prepare all the good food and as soon as we sit down to eat it, it’s gone in seconds. Poof! Like a vanishing action, gone.
There’s two suuuuuuper important questions here:
1. Why do we do this?
2. What does it mean for our health … aka our digestion.
What lead me to share this with you was last night I ran a LIVE Masterclass for our 28 Day Be Healthy Challenges over in our Facebook Group and the questions that rolled into the comment box when I talked about ‘rush’ eating and ‘stress’ eating was overwhelming.
No one spends time making a delicious meal only to scoff it out of existence however when we’re zipping through the day at lightening speed it can be challenging to SLOW do and enjoy the 10-20mins with your meal.
So here’s something I prepared earlier – 4 Simple Ways to Stop Stress Eating.
These are the 4 steps that we go through live in my workshops and retreat days tailored around mindful eating and abundance eating. Yep! I totally made that up, abundance eating and what it means is eating with an abundance attitude, NOT a plate overflowing with food.
Before we go there let’s touch on those 2 questions first.
1. Why? We do it out of habit. The fear of not getting enough food, the fear of missing out, the fear of not getting things done. All of this communicates stress on our bodies and we get in the cycle of scoffing our food down not because we want to but rather we’ve just been doing it for so long. Guess what – it happens to me too sometimes. No one is perfect, perfection doesn’t exist but what we can be is mindful and forgive ourselves in a split moment and come back to where we were with a different approach… slowing down.
2. What does stress eating mean for our health? Two super important points here. When we’re stressed our gut is activated like a tense neck which makes it the opposite of what we want for digestion, relaxed, calm and eased. The second point is when we are stress eating we most often forget to chew our food rather we just hog it all in swallowing chunks rather than well chewed food. Which do you think our digestion prefers?
Chewed food you guessed it. Have trouble digestion, reflux, constipation, gut pains? The best place to start making adjustments is in your chewing!
Now let’s get into the goooooooods.
How can we stop stress eating even if we’ve been stressed and running around all day or all morning?
Here, do these 4 things:
4 Simple Ways to Stop Stress Eating
Once your meal is made and ready to eat, sit down and take 3 long deep breathes. Let me emphasis LONGGGG deep breaths. This communicates safety to your body and will prepare your body for digestion. Rather than eating tense and under pressure. BREATHE.
TIP: If you’re halfway through your meal and you forgot to breathe. STOP, breathe the 3 long deep breathes and then proceed eating.
2. Remove all judgment.
Judgement of others, judgement of yourself, judgement of your food. Judgment simply makes food harder to digest and it’s a stress creator. Remember to apply the sometimes vs. daily rule. Sometimes foods are sometimes, they’re your 20% of the time meals, while you’re daily foods are your 80% of the time foods. When you’re out for a birthday dinner aim to not feel guilt or judgement over what you’re eating, rather bring joy into the environment, company and the experience.
3. Chew your food.
When we’re rushing like I said above we forget to chew. When we’re present we remember to chew. This mastication (not masterbation, get your mind out of the gutter), the art of chewing your food, it’s optimal with 20-30 chews per mouthful. Sounds mushy hey, well it is and that’s how our stomach likes to receive the food, mushy and chewed well. Chewing makes you slow down, breathe in-between each mouthful and makes you present which releases stress. #WinWin.
4. Pay attention and enjoy.
I’ve already mentioned being present however in doing so pay attention to senses of taste, touch, and texture all the things that make food delightful and enjoyable. Eating under stress we simply don’t pay attention to this and when we tap into it, wow it can shift our gratitude of food as well as the size of the meals we eat too. (that’s a topic for another day, meal sizes)
We may not be able to control all of the stresses in our life however what we can control is our approach to eating starting with these 4 easy steps.
Here’s a recap:
2. Remove all judgment.
3. Chew your food.
4. Pay attention & enjoy.
Think you’ll forget – write them on a post it note and stick it on the fridge, your lunch container or set a reminder in your phone.