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3 Ways to Stop Anxiety Eating

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Emotional eating comes in a variety of forms, For many people, anxiety can trigger the urge to binge or indulge.

Whether it's brought on by social situations, unresolved feelings or stress, tackling anxiety-eating involves getting to the root cause of your feelings and coming up with some actionable steps to change the behavior.

Have a stress-reduction plan

Anxiety, while it can be caused by many things, is simply a stress response. The body physically and psychologically responds as if there is a threat, which can put you in a state that triggers self-protective behaviors. One of these behaviors might be eating, which helps you to cope with the stress and feel better.

To stop anxiety eating, it's important to develop a plan for stress reduction that is implemented on an ongoing basis.

Everyone relieves stress differently – whether it's through exercise, therapy, deep breathing or meditation – but it's essential to find the stress-reduction techniques that work for you.

Dedicate time each day or week, depending on the severity of your anxiety, to relieve stress.

A conscious awareness to practice this will help minimize anxiety. Therefore, the eating associated with these feelings could alleviate as well.

Keep a food diary

While you may just think, "I eat when I'm anxious," it's possible there is more to explore when it comes to what specifically triggers this response.

A good way to track this is to keep a food diary. Make an effort to record what happens after an episode of stress eating. What were you feeling before it happened? Who were you with, if anyone? What environment, state of mind or experiences were a part of the episode?

You may realize that a particular feeling, a past event, or a current set of circumstances are triggering the episodes of anxiety eating. With that awareness comes the ability to take back control and make progress.

Use the "take five" approach

It can be hard to take a step back before you indulge a stress or anxiety binge, but even just pausing for five minutes can give you enough time to assess what's going on.

Check in with yourself in that moment. What are you feeling? What has your day been like? What worries are currently occupying your mind?

A small pause can give you the opportunity to make a different decision. This tactic is easy to do if you decide beforehand that it's OK to eat at the end of the five minutes. Why? In most cases, after this time has passed, you've gathered enough awareness to shift gears and choose a healthier behavior, yet you're not making "rules" you may not be able to stick to, which can lead to a downward spiral of shame and guilt.

Source: Help Guide