4-Step Plan to Control Emotional Eating | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

4-Step Plan to Manage Stress and Control Emotional Eating

February 23, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Stress and a busy schedule can derail the healthiest of eating regimens. You may start with great intentions, but when the unexpected happens they get pushed aside, often without a second thought. Unfortunately, you can't control what life throws at you, but properly managing your emotions, stress and time can help you stay on track even during difficult situations

. (See How to Form Healthy Eating Habits.)

Plan Your Days

It's harder to get off track when you can plan exercise and meals around your work and family schedule. Set appointments in your calendar for specific times and the type of exercise you plan to do. Pack your lunch the night before, have healthy snacks at your desk and plan a couple meals out for the week ahead.

Generate a Stress Strategy 

Try to come up with three things you can easily do when you are feeling stressed instead of turning to food. These could be as simple as reading a magazine, taking a five-minute walk, calling a good friend, or reading your favorite quote. Having these simple things in place will help you when you are not feeling your best. (See also The Low-Stress Diet Game Plan.)

Rate Your Hunger

It's more than okay to have a small snack when you're hungry. The idea is to know whether you are truly hungry or if you are feeling hungry from stress. An easy way to determine this is to rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being so hungry your stomach is growling and 10 being uncomfortably full. When you feel the hunger pang, take a minute to rate your hunger and be an intuitive eater. This can help you move forward. Another good question to ask yourself is: "Would carrots satisfy my hunger?" If the answer is yes, you're probably pretty hungry; if not you may just want something sweet.

Don't Ignore Your Cravings

Sometimes ignoring a craving can cause you to overeat because you won't feel satisfied. Instead, try to incorporate the craving in a healthy way: mix a small handful of dark chocolate chips with some almonds, use chocolate protein powder to make a healthy smoothie, or roast some chickpeas with olive oil and salt to satisfy the salty, crunchy cravings.

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

So Happy Together Foods that Pack a Power Punch together Nutritional Power Combinations Amy Jamieson-Petonic Want to take your workout to the next...

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Boston Cannons'

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

The Case for Red Meat

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food