When we are feeling stressed or anxious we often reach for food as a way to comfort ourselves. Does this sound familiar to you? It may be chips (salty and crunchy) for one person, while another is drawn to chocolate (sweet and creamy) or sometimes it just seems we can’t eat enough, so we keep eating whatever is around. The drawback is, what seemed soothing and stress relieving at the time often makes us feel worse later. We can end up feeling bloated and even worse, guilty!
If you find yourself standing in front of the fridge when stressed, here are a few things to think about:
- First thing – reach for a glass of water. Sometimes we are thirsty and we don’t realize it! Make sure you get your six to eight glasses a day. This helps to fill you up and helps the digestive system stay healthy. (It’s also good for your skin.) So, drink before you eat.
- However, don’t drink alcohol or caffeine when stressed. These can actually make your feelings worse or prolong your anxiety and its side effects.
- Stop all activity for a few moments and take several long slow deep breaths. You will probably notice that your breathing became quite shallow, and this will help you get back to normal breathing.
- Do not smoke – all the carcinogeous stuff in ciggies make you feel more anxious…it’s the deep breathing that relaxes you. Just pretend you have a cigarette in your hand, and breathe!
- Now, you have had a glass of water and you are deep breathing, check in with yourself – are you hungry? If the answer is yes…
- Remember to keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating three nutritious meals and a couple of healthy snacks daily rather than three large meals, or the ever popular “skip a meal because you don’t want the calories.” That will bite you back!
- Do your best to include some omega-3 fatty acid rich foods in your diet. These include flaxseeds and walnuts, salmon and deep sea fish.
- Magnesium helps relax muscles and is found in most foods, especially dairy products, fish, meat and seafood. Also include in your diet apples, bananas, brown rice and tofu.
- And magnesium is found in chocolate!
Oh well, we are not looking to be perfect, just to be healthy.
If anxiety is causing you misery and your eating feels like it is out of control, try helping yourself by improving your diet and drinking more water. If you need more help, please contact me for an appointment and we will work together to get you back on track.
- And my final tip…walk away from the fridge and take a brisk walk outdoors. You will breathe deeply, get some exercise and begin to clear your thoughts.