When’s the last time you struggled with stress or boredom eating? You’re having a really rough day, staring at your computer screen, swamped with emails and an endless to do list. Grabbing some chips or cookies so that you can focus on eating and take away the stress.
Here’s the thing: Nearly 3 in 10 of all adults say they eat in order to manage stress. This number is even higher among women – with 43% reporting stress eating in the past month. Even higher are millennials, with 50% reporting stress eating in the past month.
The hardest part of stress eating isn’t necessarily the caloric intake but the emotional feelings after. After stress eating, about 1 in 2 adults report feeling disappointed in themselves and bad about their bodies and over 1 in 3 adults say they feel sluggish or lazy.
Can you relate? I know I’ve gone through times when I absolutely can!
In my opinion, mindful eating is a form of self-care — which has become much more pronounced and discussed over the course of the pandemic.
Mindful eating is rooted in the Buddhist concept of sati, smriti or, in English, mindfulness. When we are mindful, we are fully aware of what’s happening within and around us.
Without looking up, could you describe the environment around you right now? Can you identify all the sounds and smells? If not, you’re probably not mindfully reading this (and that’s okay – that’s the point, we’re not innately mindful in today’s society!).
Eating mindfully allows you to become more aware of your eating habits, which is why it can be so powerful as a strategy to stop stress eating. The goal isn’t to necessarily micro-focus on your meal but instead to pay attention to internal and external cues so that you can have a more enjoyable eating experience. When was the last time you ate a meal without some type of distraction?
Better relationship with food, by addressing the shame and guilt associated with stress eating
Improved ability to cope with psychological stressors without food
Likely lower incidence of weight gain and obesity, which are associated with emotional eating and binge eating – opposites of mindful eating
Greater ability to listen to hunger and fullness cues
Decreased intake of sweets and better blood sugar control
If you’re ready to take control of stress eating by becoming a mindful eater, join the Defy Stress Eating Challenge. This 4-day challenge will bring you from mindless to mindful at the table, so that you can keep stress eating at bay.