Raise your hand if you stress eat? I am right there with you-well, not as much any more..I used to be a HUGE stress eater. I would eat if I was worried.. then I would worry about gaining weight, so I would stress eat more(makes perfect sense, I know!). If I was going on a trip to visit family, I would be stressed, so I would bring some "comfort snacks" for the drive and the trip... all excuses to stress eat. I would eat without thinking, I would eat to give me something to do, I would eat to keep my brain and hands occupied, thinking that this would make me not notice the stress... HA joke was on me.. I would just be eating,but I would still be stressed.... I helped my mom navigate her way through Alzheimers and I would be so stressed, so busy, so tired, that I would eat less than healthy food... pictures of me back then showed that..there was no hiding it.... I finally realized this was NOT healthy, nor was it helping. Ironically, when my mom was dying, I could not eat at all and I actually felt a bit calmer with it all.... So trust me when I say, I feel you, I see you and I get you.. but I don't want you to stay there... there is a way out!!
1. Recognize that you are eating WAY more than usual. Say it out loud. Whisper it. Write it down. Just think it ..but recognize it.
2. Do NOT punish yourself for what you have been doing-that only makes things worse. Acknowledge what is going on right now that is adding to you wanting/needing to stress eat.
3. Perhaps you are at the hospital for weeks waiting for a loved one to heal. Some people pace-you eat... Try pacing the halls or walking outside instead. You have to get the nervous energy out. Go for a run.. Do a dance party at home before or after you go to the hospital.
4. Journal your feelings-some of us keep our feelings inside and don't want anyone to know them. That is ok-your journal is just for you. Heck, rip the pages or shred them, but get the thoughts out of your head and onto a page. That helps keep your brain busy and your hands busy,so you can't stress eat.
5. Don't buy junk-wow, I know, enlightening..but for real. Don't fall for your brain telling yourself,"It is ok to buy crap, just one more time or just because Mom is in the hospital." Stand up for yourself to yourself and tell your brain NOPE.
6. I like crunch. I like to snack. Cut up carrots. Cup up cucumber. Cut up apples. Cup up nuts. Snack on healthy stuff. Over time, your brain will actually start to crave the better stuff-my hubby thinks I am crazy,but I crave veggies!! It works;)
7 . Last of all, get help. Talk to someone , whether it is a therapist, a religious advisor, a friend, a spouse or heck, even a pet. Getting some support and knowing you are not a lone goes a long way.
Best of luck on your stress eating journey. I am always an email away!!