by Marjorie Nolan

Many people overeat in response to stress—whether that stress comes from work or personal issues. People can also stress their bodies through dieting, which only adds to personal/work stress and often results in a vicious cycle of increased stress and increased food intake in response. It’s overeating based on emotion, not need. If this sounds like a situation that’s familiar you, read the following tips for managing stress-related overeating to help you check this unhealthy habit.

1. Keep yourself nourished! Eat regular, healthy snacks to maintain your energy level. Skipping meals while under stress only prompts you to eat more—and often worse–when you do get around to eating.

2. Remove tempting food items from your home or office. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it! Never go shopping while hungry and always make a list of food items prior to shopping. That way, you’ll only bring home what you feel good about eating.

3. Practice self-control. Work on over-riding your instinct for instant gratification when hunger hits. Tell yourself you’ll wait 10 to 30, minutes to eat. Chances are good if your cravings are only stress-related, they’ll disappear.

4. Keep a food journal of what you eat each day. Knowing you have to write down every snack or nibble can be a good way to remind yourself to think before eating.

5. Enlist a friend’s help – ideally one who also is tempted by stress-related cravings. When you feel like eating as a response to stress, write him/her a quick note or make a phone call.

6. Post some reminder messages wherever you’re likely to see them when stress-related cravings begin. Use any message that works for you. Examples might be “Are you really hungry?” or “Think about why you’re eating.”

7. Take time for yourself every day. Whether it’s 10 minutes to reflect and relax, or whether it’s some fun activity that will revitalize you, it’s critical to do it. Health is not just physical–mental well-being is just as important. You deserve to mentally de-stress everyday!

Marjorie Nolan is a National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Nutrition and Fitness expert, author, Nutrition Counselor and speaker. She has widespread experience in the health and wellness industry including adult and child weight loss, eating disorders counseling, diabetes management, wellness nutrition, sports nutrition, disease prevention and personal training/group fitness. She has well-respected academic qualifications and a heartfelt passion for helping individuals attain nutritional wellness and physical fitness. These strengths combine to make Marjorie Nolan a wellness professional of the highest caliber. Contact Marjorie

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