Emotional overeating is a very bad habit that can negatively affect our health. How to stop eating stress and how to accept your body, if you are used to eating stress since the beginning of the war? Find the answer to these questions in our new article.

how not to eat stress

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Why we eat stress

The war caused panic in all of us. Many people began to «eat» stress. Why is this happening?

  • Food is a distraction and a calming factor.
  • During stress, cortisol levels increase, which can also increase appetite, including cravings for sweets and fatty foods.

6 tips to help control emotional overeating

Emotional eating and using food to numb stress is not an old story, so there are time-tested and human-tested ways to overcome this problem.

1. Review your meal plan

If you turn to food as a source of comfort, consider the possibility that your usual diet does not cover the needs of the body to fight stress. Develop a complete anti-stress menu that will cover the body’s needs for nutrients. Malnutrition is often the best friend of stressful overeating, so your first step is to eat right and well.

2. Ask for support

Shame and guilt often make us overeat to kill them somehow. And the environment can significantly worsen our condition. Therefore, it is worth:

  • get rid of toxic people who make you feel guilty and ashamed;
  • ask for support from those you can trust.

Of course, the best way to get quality support is to make an appointment with a nutritionist, but that’s not available to everyone right now, so reach out to friends and family first.

3. Find tools of struggle

It’s not a shame to overeat if you feel stressed. And this is not the worst thing that people do to calm down. For some reason, no one shames smokers for smoking a pack or two during deadlines?

Along with the fact that there is no shame, also arm yourself with another tool: the understanding that using food as an anti-stress is only a temporary measure.

That’s why it’s helpful to create other comforting strategies in case of difficult times. Sit comfortably on the sofa with a notebook and start writing a list of everything you can do during a stressful period, besides overeating. When the moment of stress comes, take out your notebook with tools of struggle and start taking action.

Advice from the author of the article. When I feel stressed or exhausted, especially emotionally, I either write in a journal about my feelings or make beaded jewelry. Now I have a huge journal and a lot of jewelry.

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4. Pause and ask yourself about your feelings

When you notice that your hand is reaching for comfort food, you should pause and ask yourself: «What do I need now? Am I hungry? Am I just sad/scared/hurt/lonely?”

Rational thinking is the key to understanding why you crave certain foods.

5. Make sure you eat enough protein and fiber

One way to avoid overeating is to always feel full. Provide yourself with food rich in protein and fiber, as well as prepare healthy snacks. Then you will always feel full and will not reach for ice cream or chips.

6. Eat

You can feel stressed and hungry at the same time! Therefore, if your stomach grumbles, go and eat.

How to accept your body if you have been eating stress since the beginning of the war

Margarita Shavlovska, a psychologist-sexologist, a member of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, the Association of Psychologists of Ukraine, gives advice for the «Psychological Support» channel.

First of all, it is worth acknowledging that this coping strategy helped you survive. Thank yourself for finding a way to respond to abnormal events.

  • If you were diagnosed with an eating disorder before the war, it may get worse. Please contact a specialist for help.
  • If you had a stable relationship with food before the war, let’s try to determine the cause of overeating. In order to forgive yourself, it is important to understand why you did what you did. And choose a new strategy.

Get rid of emotions or get them

Everyone has heard that the consumption of certain food products stimulates the production of the pleasure hormone — endorphin. In difficult moments, you want to forget and switch your attention to something familiar.

  • Try to identify which emotion triggers the binge eating cycle. Often after eating «forbidden» food, there is a feeling of guilt. Try to track him down and forgive yourself.

Take back your sense of control

In a situation of instability and uncertainty, it is important to have something familiar and stable. Sometimes this island of safety can be cooking or eating food. We may try to control the body in order to feel safe.

  • Try to choose more constructive ways to regain control. For example, breathing exercises, exercise or plans for the day.

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Punish yourself

Powerlessness, the inability to change something, the feeling that you are not doing enough can provoke feelings of guilt and self-hatred. Also, aggression that is directed at the enemy and that you do not allow yourself, can manifest itself in the form of auto-aggression. If you are safe, you can have survivor’s guilt. Then overeating can be an attempt to punish yourself.

  • Remind yourself that the war did not start because of you and that you are not responsible for the actions of the occupiers.

Avoid interpersonal problems

Just like before the war, excess weight can have a secondary benefit. For example, you are afraid to build a relationship or do not want intimacy with a man. Then an unbalanced diet may be your way to avoid anxiety.

  • Think about how being overweight helps you. Could you meet these needs in a different way?
  • How your parents responded to your appearance also affects your ability to accept yourself. Have you been criticized, compared to others, or devalued for your efforts to look good? Remember the beliefs you were told as a child about your body. Evaluate whether you really need them in adult life or do you live according to the usual scenario?

Accepting your body can be difficult. Feeling valued, regardless of appearance, can be easier in a relationship. When there is someone who does not judge you, but accepts you.

Try to look at yourself through the eyes of a person who loves you very much. What would she tell you about your body? That you yourself would tell your best friend who would turn to you for help accepting her body?

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The opinion of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author of the article.



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