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Stress Eating? Tune Into Your Hunger Cues

Dietician-Approved Stress Maneuvers for Healthier Eating

Have you ever skipped lunch without realizing? Have you ever scarfed down a fast food meal that had little to no nutritious value at all? We get it, mama. Life can be stressful.

 

Emotional eating is a fairly common way to deal with stressful life experiences. However, using food as a coping mechanism is an unreliable strategy, because not only will it deter your healthy eating goals, but it will ultimately not address the root cause of the stress. 

 

Here’s how to tune into your body’s innate hunger cues to identify if you are bored, stressed, or truly hungry.

 

1. LOOK FOR THE SIGNS OF PHYSICAL HUNGER.

Hunger often manifests in the body as feeling tired, weak, and even dizzy. Some people experience growling stomachs or irritability. 

 

2.  CHECK IN WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. 

Ask yourself: why do I think I am hungry? Is it because I am sad or anxious? Is it because my stomach is growling? And for those times that you recognize that you are not physically hungry, but still want those snacks, allow yourself some grace. Maybe these check-ins do not alter your actions at first, that’s ok. This will get easier.

3. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

After a while of partaking in these check ins, you may start to understand your body and how you personally display hunger. Use your understanding to start listening and responding to your body. 

4. GET MOVING.

Aim to get some movement into your day. Research shows that physical activity can help to reduce stress. Including activities can prevent boredom, relieve your mind from anxiety and further help you towards your goal of living a healthy lifestyle. 

5. BUILD BALANCED MEALS.

If you determine that you are physically hungry, nourish your body with a balanced meal that will keep you full, energized, and ready to accomplish your day. Not sure what constitutes a balanced meal? Be sure to reach for a combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. 

Kristen Carli, RD is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, a private nutrition practice in Scottsdale, Arizona specializing in chronic disease prevention and management as well as vegan/ vegetarian nutrition. Kristen has a passion for helping others identify and knock down their individual barriers hindering them from living a healthy life.

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