What Happens when we are stressed?

  • When you are stressed out your body is flooded with cortisol.
  • Cortisol is a stress hormone.
  • It is thought that cortisol can make you crave carbohydrates, sugar and fatty foods.
  • Researchers still don’t know exactly why we gravitate toward fatty or sugary foods when we’re feeling down, or how those foods affect our emotions.

What is emotional eating?

  • Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort.
  • People often turn to food when they’re stressed out, sad, anxious or bored.
  • Some of us use food as a reward and it can provide comfort during periods of stress.
  • Some people use eating as an emotional coping mechanism.
  • Eating can be a way to temporarily silence our uncomfortable emotions.
  • Food can bring feelings of comfort, perhaps you were rewarded with food when you were growing yp.
  • While you’re numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the emotions you’d rather not feel.
  • 39 percent of people reported overeating as a result of stress.
  • Reference  http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2011/impact.aspx
  • Researchers also found that guys seem to prefer hot, homemade comfort meals, like steaks and casseroles. Girls go for chocolate and ice cream.
  • Another study suggested that people who are said eat ice cream where as people who are bored eat salty foods.

What should we do

  • Identify you are an emotional eater.
  • Consider journaling or thinking about what the triggers may be.
  • Are there certain times of the day that you over eat?
  • What just happened prior to you turning to food?
  • Once you have identified the triggers consider formulating a substitute.
  • In order to stop emotional eating, you have to find other ways to fulfill yourself emotionally.
  • Learn healthier ways to deal with your emotions
  • Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions

Ask yourself,  “Am I really Hungary?”

  • Try to  identify whether there is physical hunger verse emotional hunger.
  • As your self when was the last time I ate?
  • If you are having  difficulty concentrating or feeling irritable then eat.
  • If not then think about what is causing this hunger.

What is physical hunger?

  • Physical hunger comes on gradually.
  • You will eat almost anything and be satisfied
  • You will not feel guilty afterward.

What is emotional eating?

  • With emotional hunger you have a sudden feeling of hunger.
  • You tend to crave sugary or sweet foods that provide an instant rush.
  • The food gives you pleasure.
  • Binges tend to lean towards emotional eating.
  • Emotional eating tends to be automatic and virtually mindless.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full.

Treatment for emotional eating

  • Whether you are stressed or bored the goal is to rewire your brain to identify non-eating behaviors as comforting.
  • You need to break the cycle of stress then eat or bored then eat
  • You will need to meet your emotional needs in ways other than eating

What is mindful eating?

  • Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits.
  • It is a process of slowing down and thinking about your need food.
  • Is it a physical hunger or something else.

What are some substitutions for eating?


  • Call a friend you have not spoken to in a while.


  • Go for a walk or jog.
  • Do jumping Jacks or jump rope.
  • Go for a walk out doors. The outdoors can really help clear your mind.

Quiet you mind

  • Read a book
  • light a candle
  • Play with a pet
  • Look at photos that may make you laugh
  • Meditate or do deep breathing exercises.
  • Yoga poses can help you concentrate and take your mind off the food.
  • Play a game.
  • Read a book.
  • Squeeze a ball

Catch up on some chores

  • Consider doing housework, laundry or a small task you have been putting off.
  • It may not feel as good as the food but you will be accomplishing a needed chore which can help relieve a little stress. a

Sip tea 

  • Sip black tea. A study in the journal of Psychopharmacology found that subjects who drank black tea experienced a 47% drop in their cortisol levels compared to 27% among the subjects who drank a placebo.

Reference The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial Andrew Steptoe, E. Leigh Gibson, Raisa Vounonvirta, Emily D. Williams, Mark Hamer, Jane A. Rycroft, Jorge D. Erusalimsky and Jane Wardle Psychopharmacology


  • If you are not sleeping enough hours you are more out to make poor choices because you are tired and not thinking this through.
  • Ensure you are getting enough sleep.

Do you need counseling?

  • All these tips are distractions.
  • If the the feeling or problem is not addressed you may might to consider counseling, especially if you are trying substitutions and it is not working.

Tips for when you are eating

  1. Try not to skip meals, you will be ravished and tend to eat more.
  2. Consider  healthy snacks to supplement if you are not able to eat a meal.
  3. Prepare ahead a time for those times where you may not be able to stop for a meal.
  4. Awareness on how you buy, prepare and eat your food
  5. Chose smaller portions and ask yourself before you back for seconds am I really hungry, do I need that.
  6. Slow down
  7. Put your utensil down between bites of food.
  8. Eat smaller bits
  9. Smaller plates
  10. Consider choosing foods that have protein and fiber that can sustain you to the next meal


Mindful eating Appetite. 2016 Nov 24;109:124-130. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.029. [Epub ahead of print]

Cortisol and stress http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2011/02/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis/#.WFgc-WQrKrc

Stress and over eating https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/


NEDA eating disorders http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

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