“I’ve got a date with Ben & Jerry tonight.”
It’s all something we’ve said, heard, or imagined at one point or another. What we’re really saying is, “I’m eating my feelings tonight, no holds barred.” Forget cheat days and treats, emotional eating can completely derail any diet, making you feel like all your health-conscious decisions have been wiped away.
What is emotional eating, after we push away all those candy wrappers and empty chip bags? Stress. When life seems unmanageable, we get stressed, feel crappy, eat crappy food, feel better, and then feel crappy again. It’s sort of human nature.
We all know stress isn’t going anywhere, and emotional eating is by no means a stop on the path to a fitter, healthier lifestyle. If you weren’t already aware, stress is a major contributor to spot-specific belly fat. Yuck! So, how we manage stress is essential to keeping away those crappy feelings and flabby bodies, by choosing either a “negative” or “positive” way to cope with that stress.
Here’s the deal: if you’re not actively searching, planning, and implementing said plan to positively manage your stress, it’s almost guaranteed that you will naturally choose a negative coping mechanism, like eating the entire pizza pie instead of just a slice. Again, it’s human nature. But don’t fear! Positive coping mechanisms are all around us!
Running, jogging, or going for a walk gives you the opportunity to tune-out of life’s realities and just think about whatever comes to mind. If you’ve got a lot on your mind, even better! You won’t focus on how long you’ve been running for, or how much longer you have to go, and instead you’ll surprise yourself with how much activity you’re getting done. Additionally, you’re flooding your cerebellum with those feel good endorphins, which are not only great for your body, but also relieves stress!
If you’re just not up to exercising, another alternative would be to hop in your car (or on public transit if you’re not “vehically equipped”) and cruise till your mind is clear and ready to tackle life.
Pump up the jams!
Music is known to be a big factor in relieving stress, whether it’s listening to it or making it, it soothes the soul. You know what’s even better than listening to music? Listening to music AND running, jogging, walking, or driving! Bye-bye stress. Hello air-guitar solos at the next red light.
If you want to take away the power that emotional eating has over your healthy lifestyle (who doesn’t?!) you HAVE to consciously and actively seek out positive coping mechanisms. If you don’t, those unhealthy behaviors become habits that are hard to break, which quickly turns into more pounds added to the scale.