Are you a “stress eater?”

What Kind of Stress Eater Are You?

Let’s face it.

We all deal with stress on some level.

Stress from work, kids, family, friends, the list goes on and on.

How we deal with that stress is an entirely different animal. Some people like to listen to music, watch movies, go for a walk or a jog ALONE, play an instrument, etc.

Others EAT.

Are you a “Stress Eater”?

I get it, trust me. I have taken down a few slices at Cacciatori’s in Mahopac during a stressful time.

But, did you know there are actually different kinds of “Stress Eaters”? Recent studies have found two distinct patterns.

Scientists have found that stress eaters can be divided into two groups, munchers and skippers. Munchers tend to eat more after a negative experience, while skippers eat more after a positive event. Munchers also eat about 33% more calories on average.

What style describes you?

You’re in luck because below I will tell you how you can change it.

Once you become aware of your habits, you can take control of them. Try these strategies for munchers, skippers, or anyone who struggles with emotional eating.

​Strategies for Munchers

1. Give yourself a pep talk. Remembering all your blessings makes difficult times easier to bear. Thinking about your major accomplishments helps you to recall your strengths even when you’re cringing over a recent mistake.

2. Look on the bright side. We usually experience a number of failures on the road to success. Even when you fail to get the results you wanted, see what you can learn from the situation. People that come to us are so hard on themselves in the beginning. What you focus on grows. Focus on positive things, picture yourself doing great things!

3. Laugh more. One thing we love to say at TFW is “sweating and smiling”. Enjoying yourself and having fun with your workouts is super important! Some stressful situations may seem funny when you try to find the humor in them. Think about that horrible blind date, or an embarrassing moment you had in the past. I bet it’s a funny story now.

4. Develop self­-compassion. At the same time, validate your feelings. Acknowledge when you are upset or angry. Expressing emotions makes us less vulnerable to using food for comfort.

​Strategies for Skippers

1. Put pleasures in perspective. It’s natural to get excited about a dream vacation or expensive hand bag. However make sure you find happiness and contentment in your relationships, a good meal and healthy living so you can manage your emotions and thoughts.

2. Share your joy. The most effective way to use pleasures constructively is to share them with others. The gratification you’ll feel when you give part of your raise to charity will outshine any extra dessert.

3. Plan non­food celebrations. If you usually go out to dinner to celebrate good times, try planning more unusual festivities. Go away for a ski weekend on your next wedding anniversary. Go for a group hike or spend a family day at the park.

4. Be extra careful during the holidays. The average weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds during the winter months adds up over a lifetime. Put your heart into Christmas carols and decorating rather than eggnog and chocolate cake.

​Strategies for Any Kind of Emotional Eating

1. Practice relaxation techniques. Melt away stress with meditation or a warm bath. Pet your dog, or listen to good music. Heck I play the guitar and find it to be a terrific escape when I need to get away mentally.

2. Exercise regularly. This is A BIG ONE. Exercise counters emotional eating in several ways. Physical activity burns off calories and temporarily suppresses your appetite. It also elevates your mood so it’s easier to resist cookies.

3. Talk things over. Call a friend instead of a pizza parlor when you feel especially happy or sad. Discussing your feelings provides longer lasting relief than marinara sauce and extra cheese even if it’s Cacciatori!

4. Keep a food journal. Spot your individual triggers by writing down what you eat and how you feel on the spot. Your sensitive areas may be related to work or your family.

5. Discover smart substitutions. Minimize the impact of emotional eating by finding satisfaction in fewer calories. Replace corn chips with carrot sticks dipped in salsa. Indulge in a square of dark chocolate instead of whole fat ice cream.

6. Consider counseling. Professional therapists have helped many people to gain control over emotional eating. Ask your physician for a referral.

Whether you’re a muncher or a skipper, you can choose to develop new and healthier habits. Every thing that goes into your mouth is your choice. Eat right and manage stress preferably with exercise so you can look and feel your best!

If you’ve been trying to get consistent with your workouts, but you just don’t know where to begin, take on our TFW Mahopac Starter Program. Our personalized workouts and nutritional guidance will help you get back on track, and in the best shape of your life! Why wait till the New Year? Get lean before 2016!

About the Author John Praino

Coach John's enthusiastic approach and positive energy will get anyone excited about fitness. However it's his ability to motivate and inspire people to do more not just in the dojo but in life that gets results.

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