With complicated work problems, relationship issues, financial strain, finals, and visiting family, it’s not shocking to see so many of us feeling stressed. Unfortunately, one of the ways that we cope is through stress snacking. Stress snacking is more of a mental trigger rather than physical hunger making it difficult for us to resist the urge for a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, and other unhealthy cravings. If you are someone who indulges in stress snacking, don’t fret because today I’m sharing some ways to beat stress snacking.
When you find yourself reaching for cookies late at night or start mindless munching at work, these 10 tips can get you back on the right track.
1. Breathe Deeply
The breathing solution can help almost any stress-related problem. Medical experts say that a steady and deep breathing exercise calms you because it causes the hypothalamus to send out hormones that trigger relaxation. Try it for at least five minutes after you experience a stressful event and before you allow that pins-and-needles feeling to overtake you and control your actions.
2. Drink Water
A tall glass of water can give you a full feeling and deter you from snacking when you don’t need to do such. As you know, water can also cleanse your system and keep you hydrated. You can substitute the water with Gatorade or add a lemon to it if you are not fond of the plain water taste.
3. Eat Healthy Snacks
This is more of a replacement method than it is a cessation method. There is nothing wrong with snacking in itself. It’s the reason you snack and the object of the snacking that makes the situation a problem. You can replace your usual chips and cookies with carrot sticks, broccoli stalks, peanuts or even little cups of plain yogurt. Those food items will promote wellness and even fat burning.
4. Exercise the Problems Away
Try doing some jumping jacks instead of going to the refrigerator or reaching for the box of Doritos. Get involved with some high-intensity exercises instead of snacking and you will lose weight and kick-start your feel-good hormones.
5. Buy a Stress Toy
Another way that you can wean yourself off of stress snacking is to buy a stress toy for yourself. A stress toy is an inexpensive squishy item that you can squeeze whenever you feel a wave of stress coming. Many office workers buy stress toys and become addicted to playing with them. Be careful when you use a replacement technique. Stress toys are cute, but you don’t want to let them stop you from doing your work assignments. The average stress toys cost $5 to $10. You can buy one online, or you can get one at your local department store.
6. Call a Supportive Friend
Sometimes all you need is to hear the voice of a good friend, family member or associate to get you back on track. What you can do is get on the phone and call someone that you have designated as a “go to” person for when you have binging or stress snacking urges. This person should be an understanding person who cares for you and understands your desire to get away from unhealthy habits.
7. Chew Gum
Chewing gum can provide you with a sudden burst of flavor that can trick your body into thinking it’s getting something delicious and fulfilling. Strong cinnamon or peppermint gum brands are the best types to do the trick with. They can both induce saliva release, as well, which can help you to eliminate bacteria in your mouth. Chewing gum will help you to forget the urge to stress snack almost instantly.
8. Read a Book
Put a book in between your hands, and you won’t be able to put food in between it. You can forget all about stress snacking in the time it takes to read one chapter of a good book. Grab a motivational and inspiration book because they will move you the most.
9. Clean Something
Cleaning is an activity that you can fall back on all the time. There is always something that you can take time to clean. You will begin to focus on your cleaning project, and that will make you lose the urge for eating when you don’t need to eat. Try vacuuming the floor, dusting the bedroom or bleaching the bathroom. All those activities can help you.
10. Write in a Journal
Writing is a therapeutic activity that is a much better choice than eating foods that can harm you. Grab a pen or your laptop and write the thoughts that you have in your head right now. Send an email to a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Write a grocery list. All of those activities will allow your mind to stay away from stress nibbling.
You should be able to beat stress snacking by using one or more of the above tactics. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work for you right away. Many people have tried to quit habits many times before they were successful. They eventually succeeded and were happy for it.
Resource: Harvard Health Publications