• How Do You Handle Stress Eating?

    April 11, 2012

    Woah. Is this morning flying by for anyone else or is it just me? Hey, I’m not complaining—I mean, the quicker the day goes by, the closer I am to vacation! Vacation countdown: 3 days. Can you tell I’m just a tad excited?

    Breakfast

    Remember my failed protein pancake from yesterday? Well, I perfected it this morning! Introducing: Tropical Protein Pancakes!

    2012-04-11_0746

    I love anything with coconut in it, so these pancakes definitely hit the spot this morning. Coconut was the dominate flavor with a little bit of pineapple, banana, and vanilla coming trough in each bite. I topped my pancake with sunflower butter and more shredded coconut. Delish!

    Tropical Protein Pancakes

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
    2. Heat pan (or griddle) over medium-low heat; coat with non-stick cooking spray.
    3. Pour batter onto the pan/griddle.
    4. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Cook on the other side for about 1 minute.
    5. Serve with your favorite toppings.

    Serves 1

    Feel Great Weight

    A few years ago, I worked a 9-5 desk job in an office where the kitchen was a ever-present buffet of donuts, muffins, cookies, and other larger-than-life pastries. I honestly can’t remember too many days when there wasn’t some sort of sweet treat tempting me to eat it. I often fell victim to those goodies when my stress levels rose, and instead of dealing with what was actually stressing me out, I temporarily masked my feelings with the treats. I didn’t recognize this pattern was happening for a long time—until it led me to gain several pounds.

    Even now when I feel stressed, I still crave sugary carbs, which are loaded with calories and fat and not helpful when it comes to maintaining my Feel Great Weight. It’s not always easy to overcome those emotions, but these tricks have certainly helped me (and will help you!) get a handle on stress eating: Stressed Out? Tricks to Avoid Emotional Eating.

    Question of the Day

    How do you handle stress/emotional eating?

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    { 53 comments… read them below or add one }

    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Definitely trying these this weekend!

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    @Claire @ Live and Love to Eat: Yay! Hope you love them! :)

    Reply

    CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com April 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    substituting eating with another activity like taking a walk can sometimes calm me down. or reading, i am very much into taking my mind to a completely different place that is outside the food world in general.
    but if those two things arent an option, i have “healthier” sweet treats that i enjoy and they are almost always stashed in my desk….mini lara bars, emerald sweet and salty nut mixes, adora calcium disks. I actually like those things better than doughnuts!!

    Reply

    Charissa Hogeland April 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I’ve been trying to eat only whole foods the past month and honestly the commitment to that has made it easier: If I don’t have sugary cereal in the house, I won’t eat the sugary cereal when I get home from work and don’t really want to make a healthy dinner. If I don’t have chips in the house, I won’t graze on them all day. Simple, but it works.

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    @Charissa Hogeland: Eating more whole foods has been key for me too!

    Reply

    Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

    In the staff lounge, there are often donuts, muffins, bagels.. basketbas of candy.. and more. To keep myself from staying too far from my healthy living, I try to make sure I always have healthy snacks on hand. I look forward to healthy, satisfying, filling foods more than I look forward to foods that leave me often feeling yucky.

    I tended to struggle more with eating late night.. than emotional eating.. but I have gotten better with that,too!

    Reply

    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 11, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Haha I thought that was a pizza with cheese on top when I first opened your blog! When I realize I’m stress eating I try to find something else to do with my hands, or make some coffee or tea to sip on!

    Reply

    Carrie April 11, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Ugh, I know what you mean about stress eating. But it doesn’t help. Afterward not only is my problem/stress not solved, but now I feel more upset because I just ate junk!

    Reply

    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

    i definitely am guilty of stress eating from time to time. it’s taken me awhile, but now i’m usually able to stop myself before i get into the pantry or fridge. i ask myself if i’m truly hungry or if there’s something else that’s bothering me or stressing me out.

    Reply

    Annette@FitnessPerks April 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I think for many there is a deeper, underlying issue(s) going on, and until those are targeted, there is no REAL way to make emotional eating go away.

    But for those whom it is not such a big deal and only happens once in awhile, it is helpful to take a walk, call a friend, meditate, do something outside their comfort zone, or wait 20 minutes before deciding on that certain food that they were going to reach for. Keeping a journal helps too–especially for those who struggle more with it.

    I am a recovered emotional eater/binge eater, and now do coaching for those same things–it is amazing to me the beauty and life we miss out on when we stress about eating—> which leads to more eating! Great post!

    Reply

    katie @ KatieDid April 11, 2012 at 11:07 am

    mmm like pina coolada pancakes, love it!

    Reply

    Tasha April 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    A lot of the typical tricks to avoid stress eating don’t work for me. Here’s what does:

    1. Walking. If the weather is nice, I take a walk before I consider getting a snack.
    2. No cash. I don’t carry cash because I am much more likely to fritter it away on a special treat.
    3. A magazine and a healthier treat. A People, a Diet Coke and a healthy snack perk me up when nothing else but emotional eating will do.
    4. Stop buying trigger foods. I WILL eat the entire box of macaroni and cheese, Australian licorice or Swiss Cake Rolls. Therefore, I can’t buy these foods. I don’t even enter the stores where I normally buy these foods when I’m feeling emotional and snacky.
    5. Bring snacks. To save money, I almost always bring my lunch and snacks with me. I feel like I’m wasting money if I eat anything else.
    6. Limit my baking. I love to bake, but two people cannot eat two loaves of banana bread before it goes stale without eating more than they should. I don’t routinely bake anymore, but when I do, I give it away to our landlords, my classmates and my fiance’s workplace. We leave enough at home that we can eat before the baked goods go stale without bingeing on them.

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    @Tasha: Love these! :)

    Reply

    Emily April 11, 2012 at 11:21 am

    This looks great! thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    Lindsay @ Running the Windy City April 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Pineapple coconut pancakes- yum! Can’t wait to give these a try!

    Reply

    Erika@YouJustDidWhat April 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

    It’s so hard! The only way I’m really good about keeping the stress food out is just to keep it out of the house. I don’t have it around. And if I do, I indulge a little bit at a time. I try to keep the sweets to fruit and yogurt.

    Reply

    Coco April 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

    So glad you posted this. People in my office LOVE to bring in treats. Which is totally great. I usually try to have just ONE (or a piece of one if it is a huge baked good) and then my craving is satisfied and I can move on with my day. I also am sure to fill up a large water bottle several times throughout the day–sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are really just thirsty!

    Reply

    Courtney P April 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Being in advertising and publishing, I’ve worked 9-5 desk jobs since I joined the workforce. Something about sitting at a desk all day mentally exhausted me and I came home depressed and grouchy almost every night. For about 6 months last year, I had a position that required me to run around the office all day and being up and active away from my desk transformed my after-work mood immensely! I am a huge advocate for saying no to sugar treats in the break room, bringing healthy snacks from home, AND making sure you get up and walk around for at least 15 minutes every 2 or so hours. Will prevent you from packing on pounds (and from wanting to do nothing but go home and sleep after work)!

    Reply

    Faith @ For the Health of It April 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I’m not good at managing my stress eating – and then I end up feeling worse about myself after stuffing my belly. I try to go take out some aggression at the gym if I start feeling stressed – a much better way to cope!

    Reply

    Khushboo April 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Finding an outlet other than food helps during stressful periods!

    Reply

    Ashley @ The North Carolina Cowgirl April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I’ve been doing a lot of stress eating lately! I can’t stop baking cookies..it seems to be what I crave when I’m stressed. Funny how it never makes me feel better, it just makes me feel worse and have a tummy ache lol.

    Reply

    Julie Casey April 11, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Man, I wish my week was going by quicker…I’m off to Hawaii on Monday so I know how you’re feeling! Have a great trip :)

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Woohoo! You too! :)

    Reply

    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio April 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I actually blogged about a similar topic today. Stress definitely affects my eating in a negative way. It’s something I’m still working on. Thank you for the post!

    Reply

    Anna Lynn April 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I totally turn to sugary anything when I’m stressed. I use gum as a distraction a lot. Sometimes I’ll tell myself “If you don’t want a healthy snack (veggies, fruit, yogurt) you’re not really hungry”. I also get snacky when I haven’t eaten enough so I’m trying to get into a better habit of turning to real food rather than froyo for dinner!

    Reply

    Cat @ Breakfast to Bed April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    this is my battle right now. It’s tough, but I am finally getting a grip on it. stupid sugar.

    Reply

    Laura @ She Eats Well April 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    My work has food and sugary stuff out all the time! Big bowls of candy always. I find that I just stay away from it. If I have one piece, I can’t stop. So I just try not to dive in and I find that then I don’t crave it and I feel better at the end of the day.

    Reply

    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! April 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Love the sound of those pancakes! Mmmmm. I handle stress eating by trying to be mindful of the reason I’m about to eat… Is it because I’m actually hungry or something else? If it’s something else, I try to pinpoint what it is and focus my attention elsewhere and not on food!

    Reply

    Cait's Plate April 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I can’t wait to try these!

    I try to listen to my body in terms of eating – so if I’m stressed I’ll often do something like take a walk or a bubble bath in lieu of eating.

    Reply

    Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles April 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The 9-5 thing def increases my stress eating/snacking. Plus, I’m much less active in the office than I normally would be. I try to give myself set times to eat– aka, “you can have a snack at 3pm” so I’m not constantly grazing, but it still can def be a problem some days (esp when I’m extra tired!).

    Reply

    Cindy April 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hey Tina! your posts these past few weeks have been right on point with things I’ve been struggling with. Stress eating has been consuming my past few weeks and to say my clothes are getting snug is an understatement! I’m trying to forgive for those slips up and get back on track with healthier choices and regular exercise. Thanks so much for your posts on everyday struggles!

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    @Cindy: You’re so welcome! I hope they help! :)

    Reply

    Amy @Health Hungry April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Those pancakes look/sound fantastic! Are you going somewhere tropical for your vacation? Emotional eating… a reality I have battled over a lifetime. I think you have some good tips. For me; knowing my food triggers AND my emotional triggers is key. For example, I can’t eat one cookie – add in anxiety or stress and the batch is gone! So, the best way for me to enjoy a cookie is to get one when I am feeling like I am able to be satisfied with one. Even better, bake a healthy batch(like many of your recipes) to share!
    Caffeine and sugar, no matter how emotionally stable I feel in the moment, can quickly add to my CRAVINGS. Water and fruit are so much better for sustained energy… And of course, talking and blogging about it helps A LOT! Happy Wednesday :)

    Reply

    Tina April 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    @Amy @Health Hungry: I am! Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, and the Cayman Islands! :)

    Reply

    Brandi April 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Not very well! Sometimes it can be more difficult than other times, but it’s still hard not to fall into that trap of stress eating. I try really hard to stop and take a breath and try to establish if I am really hungry or it’s stress.
    The aftermath is what hurts the most. The guilt, the anger. Things that can cause you to continue to turn to food.
    I also believe that once you can figure out your triggers it is somewhat easier to deal with.

    Reply

    Hillary April 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Oy. This is something I deal with at work on a daily basis (and I’m also guilty of being the one providing the treats!) I’ll indulge if I really want it—and if it’s homemade and not store-bought, but I try to only eat the food I bring in with me and indulge in moderation.

    Reply

    Michelle (Peachy Palate) April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Having suffered from binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia when I get the urge to over eat or emotional eat I remind myself of the bad times and how much worse I will feel after. Exercise is a great distraction. I also have a freezer full of healthified baked vegan goodies for when savoury just won’t do. The fact that they’re frozen means the decision to defrost an item to eat is more conscious and less convenient in terms of eating more than what is an advisable portion!

    Reply

    Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate April 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Loving the tropical vibe! I’ve been trying to put a new spin on my regular bowl of Kellogg’s FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch cereal- I think crushed pineapple might just do the trick!

    Reply

    mary @ minutespermile April 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Cup of tea! I keep a couple boxes of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, chai on hand. I’ll brew a cup and “treat” myself by adding milk and sugar- true, a few calories added, but definitely not as many as a slice of cake! An especially crucial trick to have at the office where sweets are always lingering.

    Reply

    Yellaphant April 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    How do I handle stress/emotional eating? Well, I’m sitting at my desk eating an ungodly amount of chocolate covered peanut butter eggs and I don’t even like peanut butter eggs all that much. So great, I’d say.

    Reply

    j3nn April 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Pineapple pancakes sound good!!

    I handle stress eating by not handling it. I’m not so good at it and try to make up for it later on. I also try to just fast through things now. Intermittent fasting has helped tremendously.

    Reply

    Lenna@lennalivinglight.blogspot.com April 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I am bad about emotional eating. I try to drink decaf green tea or have a twizzler or something not so bad for me when i’m feeling the urge. …but you know ..where I live there is literally a lock on the fridge. Maybe I should get someone to just lock that baby down from 8pm – 7am. That’s probably the most effective way to go.

    Reply

    Alex @ Raw Recovery April 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I’m kind of in a weird spot because I used to emotionally eat when I was in high school but during my last few years of college developed anorexia and was in treatment for it all of 2011. Now that I actually let myself eat starches, I do find that I crave them when I’m stressed but I try to just stick to my meal plan which gives me a good variety of food so I don’t feel deprived of anything. I have tried new atypical “comfort” foods like green juices and chocolate banana vegan protein shakes that satisfy my chocolate craving and boost my energy.

    Reply

    Jen @nutcaseinpoint April 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I have to keep myself busy busy busy- especially outside of the house where I can’t get to the kitchen. Plus, I’m cheap so I wouldn’t want to buy an expensive meal while I’m out

    Reply

    Ruby April 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    The microdermabrasion and cleanser set!

    Reply

    Kevie April 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Tina,

    Help, what would you recommend: I’m a sweets girl, I love my chocolate! I’m also a teacher, so I keep candy in my classroom to reward my students on special occaisions. After lunch I feel I need a sugary pick-me-up (nothing but chocolate seems to satisfy this need), so I dig into my the candy stash INTENDED for my students, and once I start, I can’t stop :( Any words of wisdom? How can I fill my chocolate cravings without overdoing it, especially when there’s a whole bag at my fingertips??!

    Reply

    Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction April 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    First I try to drink water, then I try to satisfy my craving with a healthy snack like a fruit, if all else fails, I’ll usually just give in!

    Reply

    Sunnie April 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    These pancakes look amazing!

    Reply

    Carrie April 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Just an FYI/PSA it’s spelled “whoa” not “woah”.

    Reply

    Luv What You Do April 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I’m not sure I do handle stress eating well, but one option that works if I am in a ‘snacky’ mood then I eat something with more volume (popcorn or edamame). It keeps my hands out of the trail mix and chocolate chips!

    Reply

    April April 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I try my best not to keep “trigger” foods (sweets, fatty crispy items) around the house since I know I will dive for those first when emotional eating. Otherwise, if I know I want some chocolate strictly for comfort sake, I adjust the rest of my day.

    Reply

    Brian | Comforter Sets April 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I think this is a real great blog.Really thank you! Great.

    Reply

    Leslie April 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I totally agree with the tip about asking yourself if you’re truly hungry, because so often stress eating for me happens way past the point of being full. One piece of advice I read somewhere said, “If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, don’t eat.” I also like your tip about distracting yourself with your favorite blog instead, which is what I’m often doing on your site!!

    Reply

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