12 Ways to Stop Stress Eating

12 Ways to Stop Stress Eating

In today’s era, self-quarantine has become a way of life. Right now, all we are concerned about is to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. Being home for a long time will ultimately end up gaining some bad habits. Among them is one – overeating, which is due to stress and anxiety.

It is only normal for people to indulge in comfort food and that too when you are under stress. However, overeating will end up bringing out the negative effects on your health. Most importantly, it will lead to being more anxious and stressed.

Overeating and Stress Can Be Controlled

One of the easiest ways to avoid overeating is to be aware of why this occurs. The best way is to understand this by paying huge attention to yourself. There are various reasons for anxiety, stress, and depression.

Be Aware of Your Stress Eating

If you are eating a lot or too often, then the time has come to have a closer look at yourself. The first thing you must decide is whether you are hungry or not and if something else is bothering you. Here you must try and get into the habit of understanding how you are feeling before you eat.

Do you feel stressed? Are you anxious, bored, and lonely? Just try to evaluate these circumstances and these will assist you in understanding what is making you go on the overeating spree.

Sometimes you might have issues in controlling these bad eating habits. In that case, try seeking out assistance for many disorders. Now if you are continuously overeating right to the point where you are feeling discomfort, then this is the sign of the eating disorder and you must seek help.

Stress Eating Is Harmful

Some people might turn to food when they are stressed out. Maybe it could be stress at work, family life, or social obligation. Keep in mind that you are not alone. Various physicians and psychiatrists state that when you are stressed, you become emotional and this affects your health and weight.

Stress is considered a common trigger for emotional eaters. The everyday life circumstances lead to anxiety and stress and this leads to overeating. Now certain stress comes from within and this is like the stress that you put on yourself to be perfect.

Sometimes it might be anxiety that you feel when you raise or confront an issue that involves your family members and friends. There are other stressors, and these come from the outside of yourself like the demand for medical issues, job, family obligations, social pressures from friends, etc.

Do You Think Stress Leads to Hunger?

There is no doubt that you have both a psychological and physical relationship with food. Here the physical relationship with food is based on the kind of food that you select to eat, the eating behaviour you have or habits, and how your body is responding biologically to the diet.

Here the emotional and psychological relationship you are having with food is based on how you are thinking about food, how you are using food as the reason besides satisfying your hunger, how the food is related to your body image, and the way you are feeling about how you look.

At times you might be eating for satisfying your hunger. Might be that you are trying to fulfil your physical requirement for eating and surviving. Even you can go on the stress-eating factor just for satisfying your appetite or the desire to have a certain food. Why? You believe that it provides good relief.

Now the emotional or psychological needs will not do anything good to your actual hunger. Here emotional hunger is the driving response that leads to overwhelming emotions and feelings.

Do you know there is a biological reason for overeating when you are stressed? When you are stressed, it will increase the ongoing secretion of the hormone called cortisol. This will mingle with our bloodstream. A high blood level of cortisol leads to increasing one’s appetite.

Studies show that stress-related kind of cortisol is significantly higher among obese women compared to healthier weight women.

What Are the Ways to Avoid Stress Eating?

1) Creating Healthy Meal Schedule

Keep in mind that you are stuck at home. Hence, it does not mean that you are going to have a healthy meal schedule. Irrespective of whether you are working out of your house or not, it is necessary to cook healthy home meals. Also, you must add healthy products to your meal schedule.

Sometimes you might be used to eating 3 meals each day. Better try and stick to the program and if you want to try to have 2 meals each day. Frankly, sticking to your normal schedule is the best way to avoid overeating and will make you be on a good schedule.

It might be tough to stray away from the normal habits. When you have a new lifestyle, it is necessary to maintain and continue the normal eating habits as much as you can. The best way is to go with a nutritional plan that is by following your normal eating pattern and this is based on your needs and the normal eating times.

2) Avoid Depriving Yourself of Food

Never deprive yourself of food or make the intake of your food way stricter. By setting up unrealistic goals, you might end up eating high-calorie food. This might lead to a binge and even overeating.

During a stressful time, we must follow some restrictive dieting. If you begin to deprive yourself of certain food items, it will backfire. Most importantly, you must be good to yourself.

Multiple types of research show that restrictive diets are not that effectual. You might be harming your mental and physical health due to this, thereby leading to a huge amount of stress that you already have a lot.

3) Getting Rid of Various Temptations

Of course, you are stuck at home. The time has come for you to put together a great healthy diet meal plan. One that would investigate and have some nutritional diet programs.

Now if you have a candy or cookies in a bowel that is right near your counter, then you are bound to snack here and there. Such kind of temptations must be avoided and hidden. You must make sure that you are not snacking even when you are not hungry.

At times, getting tempting foods right into your sight will make you go for snacking on them. Various studies show that high calorie run food can lead to the striatum. This is something that is present in your brain for regulating impulses and will lead to overeating and increasing the cravings.

4) Go with Some Latest Recipes

Yes, these are difficult times, but there are certain silver linings. As most of the restaurants are shut down during this quarantine, you do have a chance. Take this time for creating or cooking some special meals at your home.

Look for some exciting or new recipes online. Take charge of improving your whole good health.

Multiple studies prove that individuals eating home-cooked meals get more vegetables and fruits in their diet. Plus, people having home-cooked meals more than 5 times a week are less likely to be overweight. They will not be carrying a huge amount of body compared to those that rarely eat a home-cooked meal or have them three times a week.

By preparing a nutritional diet program and having healthy products each day will help in filling the empty spaces present in your schedule. It will improve the quality of your diet by lowering the chance of becoming obese.

5) Have Plenty of Water and Fluids

Frankly, being stuck at home is the best time to develop some good habits. These consist of having plenty of fluids and liquids. Good hydration is necessary for your health and this will help you from avoiding overeating.

Even additional research displays that there is a huge association between the risk of getting obesity and chronic dehydration. Sometimes being dehydrated will lead to mood swings, and this will reduce the attention spans and energy level of yours. Such things will lead to bad eating habits.

6) Get Up and Move Around

It is not a great joy to stay cooped right in your home. Most importantly, you cannot go to your gym as it is shut down. Plus, you have a huge amount of time right in your hand that leads to overeating or snacking.

This becomes your refuge from getting bored and increases your stress. In such a case, you better try for something brand new and with variety. Watch a YouTube workout session, take a leisure stroll right in nature, go jogging and walking just around the neighbourhood.

7) Get Rid of Your Boredom

Well, this is a known fact. When you have a huge time right in your hand, it will lead to boredom. Here you must understand that it is up to you to fill the spare time. Try to go for some hobby that you might have put on the back burner; might be due to some hectic work life or medical emergency.

Well, this is the best to pick such hobbies. When you are learning something new or you begin a new project, you end up unloading your boredom. You will feel accomplished and even get rid of the stress.

8) Being in The Now and Here

Sometimes it is great to watch some movies. Catching up with the favourite television sitcom or classic old movies will help to get your mood off. However, you must not get stuck with various distractions. And these are common when you are eating. Sometimes distractions can lead to binge eating and this is not best for you.

Sometimes you can have the major habit of eating right in front of the TV. The major important thing is to eat right in a lower distracting environment. You must try to concentrate on what you are eating and be aware of what your loss of hunger is or even know when to stop as you become full.

9) Be Aware of Portions

Of course, it is easy to begin overeating. This is common when you begin to snack out of the containers right from where the food has come. One perfect example would be when you raid the fridge and have the container of ice cream.

You eat a lot more than what you want rather than taking smaller portions and putting it in the bowel. Here the rule of the thumb would be rather than eating from the large container, just fill yourself with small portions that avoid you from overeating.

10) Go for The Habit of Opting Nutritious Foods

Irrespective of whether you are going shopping for deliverable foods online or purchasing supermarket, get into the practice of loading your pantry or refrigerator filled with foods that are good for you.

Make sure that you try and stay away from rich foods filled with calories. Replace them with foods that can help you to cut back on the snacking of the stuff which is bad for you.

11) Avoid Your Alcohol Intake

It can be relaxing to have a glass of wine or a cocktail. However, you must keep in mind that alcohol will increase your appetite. It can lead to overeating and even lowers your inhibitions.

Besides, alcohol will harm you in many ways. And this will lead to dependency. Make sure that you remain within the guidelines given by your dietician and doctor.

12) Pay A Bit Attention to Your Whole Health

Of course, there is no doubt that you must be compassionate and do your best in such stressful times, but that must not stop you from having nutritious food. Well, this is the best way to be happy and healthy.

It is not the best time to be restrictive and begin over-exercising. If you are beginning a fad diet, then try to focus on your weakness. However, never compare yourself with others.


Eating or overindulging in food will make you feel lazy and wobbly. Stress eating is dangerous for your health. So, it is better to take precautions when you are stress eating.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.