How can I stick to my healthy eating when I’m feeling stressed?
We all know which foods we can eat that give us energy and good nutrition. And we also know what we need to do to set ourselves up for success - we shop the healthy stuff, we prep in advance, we pack our lunches (sometimes).
But sometimes no matter how much we prep, we end up eating those Oreos when life gets chaotic.
So how do we keep ourselves on track?
The answer is all in how we approach our stress in the first place.
The reason we eat when we’re stressed is that our brain is sending an SOS signal that it’s feeling threatened, and we feel uncomfortable or anxious or angry or sad or overwhelmed, and we don’t like those feelings! They make us feel bad and uncomfortable, so we try to fix them by sending ourselves a care package with happy signals for our brains.
And junk food is a really effective way to give ourselves that quick fix, that rush of happy signals, to let our brains recover from those uncomfortable feelings that we're trying to escape.
So what can we do instead?
There are a bunch of ways to handle this, but my favorite one is through something called mindfulness.
Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, to whatever is going on around us.
So how can you practice mindfulness when you're feeling stressed and craving that pint of ice cream?
It just takes three simple steps:
1. Name that feeling.
What’s making you feel yucky, what is it that you’re trying to numb or fix or make go away?
Say it out loud.
Write it down.
Whatever you need to do to not be afraid of that feeling.
2. Ask yourself one question.
What do I need right now?
3. Take care of yourself.
Give yourself permission to take a little break.
Read a book.
Close your eyes and count to 10.
Hide in the closet.
Whatever it is that you need right now, in this moment, to face those uncomfortable feelings.
That’s it - that's all you need to do to give yourself a "reset" moment!
It may be simple, but it's not easy.
But at least you don't have to fight yourself.
It’s not about will power, self control, restriction, or overcoming your urges.
Your brain is sending out a help signal, it wants you to take care of it.
So go do that!
Acknowledge your stress, ask what you really need, and go show yourself some love!!