Don’t Stress To Eat Less

December 25, 2012

If you're an emotional eater, stress can be a trigger for you. Stressors are a part of life. When we allow stress to cause us to emotionally eat, we need to create a plan that includes strategies for stress management. For many of us, once we have a plan in place to cope with stress, the strong urge to eat over our stress will be minimized, and we'll eat less.

Here are some ways to de-stress, so you can eat less:

Healthy meals. Make sure you eat lean protein with each meal. Eating healthy food choices promote your weight loss and maintenance, but also provide an overall sense of well-being that includes an ability to better manage stress. Use ObesityHelp's Health Tracker to help you with food and activity accountability.

Activity. Physical activity is an important part of any pre-op or post-op healthy lifestyle. Take your stress to the gym or engage in your favorite activity to release it from your body. Physical activity elevates your mood and reduces stress.

Write it down. Journaling is a great way to de-stress. Write in your journal every day. Writing about your emotions and stress helps with stress management. Self-monitoring your food, activity, and emotions are an excellent way to become more aware of your triggers and behavioral patterns.

ObesityHelp support. Post on any of your favorite message boards. Let your fellow ObesityHelp members support you. Research has shown that staying connected is one of the most important aspects of dealing with stress and staying on track.

Stop the drama! When stressed, do you immediately jump into the drama of a situation? Instead of reacting emotionally, try to step back and look at the situation objectively. When you talk to a trusted friend or family member about a stressful occurrence, discuss the facts. If you include our stress and emotions, you'll get worked up and tend to feel like a victim of the situation and your emotions. That doesn't do you any good to avoid stress eating! Take yourself out of the equation and review the facts unemotionally. Make the shift out of victim mode and out of any accompanying drama. Deal with it, move on, and thrive!

Relax and re-group. Give yourself 15 to 30 minutes every day of peace and quiet reflect, meditate, or simply unwind. Relax in a luxurious bubble bath, escape to a quiet room, go outside to gain perspective, or anything else that will energize and empower you.

Be good to yourself. I LOVE quotes! Make a list of motivational quotes and sayings that inspire and strengthen you. Use affirmations daily to help you feel good about yourself and confirm your personal goals.

Me Minutes

Make a list of strategies that can help to empower you, so eating isn't a reaction to stress. Include any of the strategies above and add ones of your own that would work for you. Keep your list handy, so you can refer to it when you feel stressed. Emotional management, that includes de-stressing, will be important in your healthy lifestyle from bariatric surgery. Enjoy your Me Minutes with strategies on your list that will calm and nurture you. By using your Me Minutes, you will allow yourself to be more than any stressful situation and uncomfortable emotions.


-Photo courtesy of Leonid Mamchenkov

cathy wilson


Cathy Wilson, PCC, BCC, had RNY surgery in 2001 and lost 147 pounds. Cathy is a regular contributor to the OH Blog and authored the "Mind Matters" column in ObesityHelp Magazine. Cathy is a licensed pilot and loves flying. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

Read more articles by Cathy!