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Anxiety, Stress & Coping
February 3, 2020
6 Ways You Can Manage Stress Without Calling UberEats

Melissa Di Fonzo

A woman fills up an "Uber Eats" travel bag with orders.

How To Avoid Stress Eating

When we experience uncomfortable emotions—especially stress, anxiety, loneliness and anger—an instinctive reaction can be to avoid the feelings. Some people use food as a way to shift their focus onto something they feel they have more control over at that moment.

The issue with this is that food only serves to provide temporary relief, and the issues that brought along the desire to reach out for food in the first place don’t actually get resolved. Now you’re left dealing with the aftermath of a stress-eating episode, including feelings of shame and guilt.

If this sounds a lot like you, you are not alone. I have provided some things you can do to help you get through those stressful moments without turning to food.

1. Get back in your body & let yourself feel

One great way to begin to stop this cycle of eating is by allowing yourself to feel whatever emotions that are coming up instead of avoiding them. Deliberately and consciously try to get back into your body— meaning tune into how your hands, legs, feet, etc. feel—and try to notice where in your body you might be feeling negative emotions. Once you have identified where you are feeling an emotion, allow yourself to feel it fully. Take slow, deep breaths and surrender to it. Ask yourself, What is driving this hunger? What is it that I need? You may find you’re less likely to stress eat if you take the time to understand what you’re feeling and then think about what you might do instead. 

2. Make a to-do list

Instead of stress eating, write a list of all the things you want to accomplish including action items for the day AND at least one pleasant thing you will do just for you. You can make this a daily habit.

I make a small list of daily goals every morning on a paper pad like this one and feel a real sense of accomplishment when I get to check them off my list throughout the day!

3. Call a friend and vent

As human beings, we all share that longing to be seen and heard. Sometimes when we’re stressed, it’s helpful to let out our frustrations and feelings and have someone be present for us and listen. Instead of turning to food the next time you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed, try and call a friend. Tell them how you’re feeling. Let it all out. I find connecting with someone I know and trust when I feel stressed can make a huge difference. By the time I get off the phone, I find the urge to stress eat goes away and I can actually focus on what needs to be done in the present moment.

4. Journal

Maybe your friends are not around and you can’t really phone anyone up. Don’t worry, you can always pull out a pen and paper or grab your phone and use the notepad app to let off some steam. Writing is a fantastic way to help you connect to your feelings and decompress. When you notice the urge to eat coming up, try writing for ten minutes. Check in with yourself and ask yourself what you are feeling and how you can resolve the issues that are creating stress in more productive ways.

If you find you need some prompts or structure to get your thoughts flowing, this journal is great.

5. Change up the scene

Notice where you are when you find yourself wanting to stress eat, and remove yourself from the situation (even if it’s for a few minutes!). Change things up a bit. This might mean leaving the kitchen or office and going into another room. Or even something as simple as sitting in a different chair might help you gain a new perspective on things.

Think back to the last time you wanted to stress eat. Were you on the highway passing through your favourite drive-thru on your way home from work? Maybe you were at home alone? Take notice of your stress eating rituals and try to break the familiar routine by changing your environment.

6. Pamper yourself

The next time you feel like eating food to cope with stress, try to do something pleasant for your body that engages it in one or more of the 5 senses to re-shift your focus onto nurturing yourself instead. Make yourself a cup of warm soup or tea (we love David’s Tea at the clinic). Take a hot shower or bubble bath and put on some nice smelling lotion. Slip into some comfy clothing and read one of your favourite books! Not only will your body feel amazing but you’ll leave feeling empowered that you were able to fight off that urge to stress eat by doing something nourishing for yourself instead!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we may get a small commission should you buy something through one of the links, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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