Being a Stress Eater Really Sucks
Learning to prevent emotions from controlling my eating habits.
I'm on a quest to lose the last bit of weight before hitting my goal. Unfortunately, I'm also a stress eater. This means I often find comfort in foods when things get a bit screwy in my life. And the events of January 6th really didn't help my situation.
Don't get me wrong, I don't just binge eat because of political news. The holidays this year also added to gaining over 10 pounds since last June. Needless to say, 2020 was a terrible year for trying to slim down.
But, I'm still going to put in maximum effort to meet my goals in 2021. Well, as much effort as I can muster, anyway. There's a lot going on in my life right now.
How the Pressure Builds Up
Normally, I can control the levels of stress and not gorge myself. However, not all weeks progress the same. And as I am putting in a lot of effort into my writing lately, I am faced with much more than just a political climate.
Deadlines I've implemented on my self come and go, my fans eagerly awaiting a new post or video, and then trying to balance clients all culminates into a very stressful day.
Since I never leave the house, even before the pandemic, and often isolate myself in my office, I wind up binge eating a lot of calories as I watch Netflix or YouTube.
3 Realistic Results of Being a Stress Eater
Everyone deals with situations in their own way. In fact, not all stress eaters are the same when it comes to comfort foods. That's because everyone is unique with specific wants and needs.
However, there are several factors that can come into play regardless of who you are. It's how you handle them that makes the difference.
For me, there are three profound things that happen as a stress eater.
1. Gaining Weight
The first obvious element of binge eating is gaining weight. But, not everyone will gain at the same pace. Some people will pack on a few pounds over the span of months, while others will tip the scales rather quickly.
I am the former.
I weighed in at 218 at the end of June 2019. This morning, I was surprised to see 230 pounds again. Now, that's not an overly massive gain. But, it's enough to have to retie my pajama bottoms.
2. A Lack of Sleep
One aspect that not everyone thinks about is how stress eating can affect sleep patterns. This can lead to a lack of energy, short-term cognitive decline, and reduced motivation.
Different types of foods can keep you awake longer. For example, chocolate does have a certain amount of caffeine...which is a stimulant.
Another side of losing sleep is due to indigestion and heartburn. In my case, it's the heartburn that interrupts my sleep throughout any night I feel like binge eating.
3. Not Properly Dealing with the Problem
And lastly, being a stress eater doesn't really help you deal with the underlying problems. Comfort foods might make you feel better for a short time, but the stressful situations might still be there later.
Luckily, I was able to remove myself from certain situations that were causing me to overeat. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of doing so or recognizing warning signs.
In reality, it's probably a good idea to seek professional help if you're a stress eater such as myself. Therapists can help you recognize those signs while guiding you to alternative ways to deal with the stress.
How Will I Deal with Being a Stress Eater?
Now, I'm no doctor. So, I can't give you medical advice regarding stress, depression, or eating disorders. However, I can share what I do to curb some of the binge eating I experience.
Perhaps some of these methods can give you some ideas on how to handle your eating habits.
Finding More Constructive Ways to Handle Stress
First, I try to focus on constructive things to handle daily stress. In my case, it's writing, blogging, playing games, or exercising. In fact, I'm big on getting in front of the Xbox Kinect for 20 minutes and sweating out some gameplay.
I've also found that journaling about stressful events helps me cope and feel better overall. This is far better than stuffing my face with chocolate.
Staying Away from the News in the Morning and at Night
I've identified that watching the news is not conducive to my overall health. I get a bit worked up over certain situations, and starting my day or ending my night with those instances makes me want to eat.
They also affect my sleeping patterns and sap the energy out of me. This means I am less motivated to work or have a lot of difficulty actually resting at night.
Getting Away from the Computer More Often
I also have come to terms that getting up and away from the computer is ideal to relieve stress. This includes leaving my phone behind on the desk.
Even something as simple as walking around the backyard for 20 minutes helps refocus my mind and energy. This is far better than looting the fridge.
Get Involved with Groups or Communities
Another way I deal with being a stress eater is being more involved in local groups or online communities. This is especially helpful since I despise eating on camera.
Unfortunately, COVID is making this kind of a thing more difficult. I'd much rather hang out with people in person. But, ZOOM, Hangouts, and other online video platforms are a passable alternative.
Being a Stress Eater is Manageable
It can be difficult to manage being a stress eater. But, if you can find something that either helps you deal with stress or find alternatives to eating, it can make a world of difference.
I know I feel much better when I'm not downing an entire box of cordial cherries. You just need to keep an open mind and find the best things that work for you.