What is Stress Eating?

Eating Fast with Anxiety

Stress Eating

It’s one form of emotional eating that involves a high amount of anxiety.

It usually manifests in a few ways:

The Fast Eating Habit

You’ve been to those dinner tables where the family dynamic is to eat like they’ve just come out the other side of a famine. Perhaps your family is one of them. You sit down to eat and there is this urgency coming from everyone around you to eat as fast as possible.

It’s more than a race. It’s almost like something bad is going to happen if you don’t eat at that pace. Like something is wrong but nobody knows quite what, and they don’t want to find out.

People who eat this way usually picked up the habit in their childhoods. Their family experienced a lot of anxiety in general and one of the ways it manifested was while eating.

After awhile it becomes more than just habit it becomes the norm, with stress driving your eating and ruining any enjoyment that can come of it.

Multitasking & Working

Another form of stress eating is when multitasking. Also known as, wolfing down your food almost whole in order to get something into your body as fast as possible so that you don’t skip a beat with whatever else you’re doing at the same time.

That’s a bit long winded so we just say stress eating for short. Although feel free to use that completely made up phrase whenever you like.

This kind of eating happens when you’re on the go or have many things going on at once. Generally though, this usually happens at work or while working. Again it’s simply shoveling food down while you stay focused on that project that’s due the next morning.

If it’s done once in awhile then it’s not an issue but if it becomes more routine then problems can occur. More on that below.

Emotional Eating Calms Anxiety

Soothing with Food

Eating to Calm

The most common form of stress eating is when people eat really really fast in order to calm themselves down.

They carry around their anxiety all day and finally sit down to eat, only to do so at a frenzied pace again. They are having trouble regulating this tension and are using the food the way one would a drug, to calm down.

In the same way a drug addict can’t wait to get the needle in his arm, so too are stress eaters frantic to get their needle in. They eat hurriedly, not savoring their food one bit as the goal is to get the carbs into their body and wait for the blood sugar and insulin to spike. Then what follows is that sense of relief.

They sit back and breathe much easier as a full belly soothes you and makes you feel sleepy.

Eating like that, in an almost binge-like fashion also feels bad for many hours afterward, but at least the anxiety is temporarily taken care of. In other words it gives you a break.

How to Stop Stress Eating

Most of the advice that’s current talks about being mindful. I’m not big on mindfulness for the sake of being mindful as it can’t be sustained for a long period of time. You can only go so far meditating to new age music while trying to become one with each bite of food.

However being mindful to become more aware is beneficial. Being mindful of the state you are in, of how you are breathing and eating is helpful because then you are increasingly aware of the problem and can decide to take it on, and actually do something about it that works.

You can acknowledge the problem and dive deep with it; the only way to overcome it. Check out the guide below on what you need to do to manage it first and then slowly chip away at the problem.

Working on this issue carries over to all of the other issues in your life as well. It’s worth the investment.

Free Emotional Eating Guide

The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.

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