Got Anxiety Munchies? Tiffiny Hall Gives Her Top 5 Tips for Beating Stress Eating
We’ve all felt it — anxiety hits, and suddenly that whole family-sized block of chocolate seems like our best friend in the world. Or life just seems to be getting on top of us this week, and those second helpings at dinner time are a daily comfort.
Whether you’re binging or just grazing a little too much, chances are it leaves you feeling guilty. And that just makes the stress worse. I’m here to tell you that it’s not the calories that count — it’s how you move forward. There’s no point dwelling on it.
Next time you overeat, bounce back by following these five tips:
1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
There’s no use feeling guilty — a shame spiral will only make it harder for you to get back on track. I know eating too much can come with negative feelings afterwards, but this will only get in the way of your motivation and good work.
In fact, it may make you turn to the same food again to seek comfort. So, if you catch yourself feeling bad or guilty, stop. Accept that it happened and remember, you’re only human.
2. Reset With My Three Hour Rule
My three hour reset rule treats every meal as a new event — so if you do slip up and eat a few more chocolates than you think you should, it doesn’t mean the whole day is a write-off. Enjoy the treat, then reset your day and start fresh. Just make your next meal a healthy, nourishing one, like my Vietnamese Noodle Salad.
Turning to healthy meals instead of stress snacks will not only help build a positive relationship with food, but good nutrition can also boost your mood and overall sense of well-being.
3. Work Up a Sweat
Jump into your fave at-home workout, get that heart rate up and let those endorphins flow. A quick workout will help you take back control and prove to yourself that you’re able to make healthy choices.
Now, one sweat sesh won’t work off a whole cheesecake, but it’s the best way to get you back on track and improve your mental state.
4. Distract the Snack Attack
What do we do when we’re stressed? Head straight to the pantry or the fridge, right? Focus on sticking to a clear plan of meals and snacks — use the order of defined meal times to give your day structure.
When you do get the urge to graze, be armed with a list of things you can do instead: drink herbal tea, meditate, phone a friend, take the dog for a walk… Anything to keep you feeling better so you’re not turning to food for comfort.
5. Keep a Food Diary
If you’re in the habit of overindulging without paying attention – only realising how many biccies you’ve had when the tray is empty — keeping track could make it easier to get a clear picture of what’s going on. Stick a memo pad on the fridge or inside the pantry and keep an eye on your intake.
You’ll be more mindful of what you eat, when, and how it’s tied to your emotions. You’ll be able to see when stress is to blame for polishing off that party-size pack of chips, and soon you can tell the difference between stress eating and when you’re actually hungry.
Tiffiny Hall is a personal trainer and founder of TXO LIFE, a holistic lifestyle program that provides daily workouts, family-friendly meal plans and practical mindfulness tips.