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Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to Avoid Stress Eating When We Are Dieting

For many of us, stress eating is a common problem when we are trying to lose weight. When we feel anxious or stressed, we eat for comfort making us feel even more stressed, making us eat even more. This can be a vicious circle which can go on and on unless we can find a way to break free from the cycle.

When we decide to begin a weight loss program, it is imperative that we break the cycle of stress eating, or completely eliminate stress from our lives, which is probably not likely to happen.

What can we do to break the cycle? Perhaps we are so accustomed to eating in response to stress, that we know of no other way deal with it. This can make starting a diet a frustrating, confusing and challenging exercise.

Fortunately, breaking the stress eating cycle simply involves us learning and employing some new methods of coping that we can utilise rather than resorting to food for relief and comfort.

Here are a few excellent ones to get us started:

- Release Frustrations

Rather than wrapping our negative feelings and frustrations in the comforting cocoon of food, we should release our frustration in other ways. Release them verbally to others or even privately, put them in writing, or simply go through them mentally, but expressing our stress issues is a deliberate and conscious way of bringing release and relief.

- Get Help and Support

Perhaps a family member, or good friend can be there to give support and encouragement when we are struggling against the temptation to stress eat. We could call them when we are battling with the relationship we have with stress and food, and they are likely to help by being sympathetic and to talk things through with us, giving the encouragement and support we desperately need.

- Burn off the Stress

Physical activity in any form is an excellent way to purge stress from our mind and body. We could go for a brisk walk or jog, tackle the weeding and dig the garden, spring clean the house or give the car a vigorous wash and polish. Engaging in vigorous activities will release our stressful feelings bringing relief and making us feel calmer and more relaxed.

- Release the Stress

Another tactic that works really well is deliberately deciding to release the stress so it does not continue to be a burden and eat away at us. We should spend a little time considering what is causing us to feel stressed, and then imagine bundling all this stressful baggage into a small boat and set it adrift, letting it disappear into the distance. If the stressful feelings return again later, we can repeat the exercise and over time we will soon be capable of releasing stress rather than letting is build up inside us.

- Embrace the Positive Side

Stress can be overwhelming and challenging because it keeps us focused on the negative aspects of some situations. We should overturn this by purposely focusing on the positive aspects rather than the negatives. For example, we may be stressed and nervous about a new employment opportunity, we should spend a few minutes boosting our confidence by looking at the positive aspects of the new venture and look at what we can offer and how we can benefit from, and give to a new position. There is almost always a positive side to every situation, even when things look daunting and grim at first glance.

When we get into the habit of employing these stress-relieving techniques, it will suppress the need to rely on food to calm our stressful feelings and will help us to move towards our weight loss goal with ease.

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