You just got home from a stressful day at work, and all you can think of is your secret stash of chocolate or ice cream. You feel you’ve earned a treat after such a difficult day full of anxiety, but you soon rationalize your unhealthy eating habits in the same fashion every day. Just because you do experience anxiety, this doesn’t give you an excuse to run to unhealthy food to calm your nerves. Experts give their advice for staying away from bad food while experiencing anxiety or its aftereffects.
Diana Fletcher, a stress-reducing expert coach and the author of “Reduce Your Stress: Month-by-Month Stress-Reducing Strategies,” sent seven tips through email that can help you avoid that junk food binge.
1)“Do not let yourself get hungry. Eat small meals throughout the day. If you are hungry and stressed -- disaster!”
2)“You know your stressed-out times. Prepare for them. One time may be right after work, when you walk in the door. Have food prepared at eye level in your fridge. Really good fruit, already cut up, low-fat yogurt and other ‘treats’ that can stand in for the junk. (You want sweet, creamy, crunchy ... etc. Be ready for those. Note: Pickles can stand in for crunchy and salty.)”
3)“Plan different routes home. If you know you pass a Dairy Queen or McDonald's and you will be tempted, have an alternate route.”
4)“Have food in your car. Again, different textures and tastes that can be substitutes for the high-calorie food.”
5)“Make a list of activities you can do when you are stressed. Deep breathing works wonders. Jumping jacks, hobbies, running around the house, and so on. Have the list handy and pick one activity when you are stressed.”
6)“Use the 15-minute rule. ‘I will wait 15 minutes to have chocolate.’ And then another 15 ... meanwhile, you may fill up on the healthy stuff.”
7)“Don't have the junk in the house.”
Stacy Spensley, a certified holistic health coach, has her own six tips for women to avoid eating when they’re anxious or stressed, that she sent through email:
1) “Take a deep, grounding breath. This helps you get in tune with your body and its needs before reaching for the candy dish.”