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How to Balance Your Stress Eating Habit

As Deepak Chopra puts it in his book, What Are You Hungry For, hormones work together as a symphony. When they are off balance, everything goes out of whack, including our body's natural hunger cues.

Ever find yourself watching a stressful movie or tv show (hello, GOT), shoving handfuls of popcorn in your mouth without even realizing it until half the bag is gone?

If this is a ritual that's more than an occasional feast after dinner, we're looking at hormone imbalance which can lead to weight gain plus risk for disease.

Here are some tips for balancing emotional eating:

1. Pay attention - you can even record how hungry you are, what your energy is like, and other helpful notes in a journal. If you find yourself reaching for the pint of Ben & Jerry's to sit in front of the TV with, first take a few deep breaths to help calm your nervous system.

2. Make a plan - this way you're prepared for times when stress is high because you already have a list of other activities you can do. Call a friend, dance to music, go for a walk, cook a balanced meal, color, play an instrument, or journal. Create your list and find what works for you.

3. Don't restrict foods - when you eat, enjoy your food, one bite at a time. The modern fad diet culture leads us to believe it's necessary to cut out certain food groups, like carbs and (healthy) fats. This simply is not true and can be problematic. Learn to nourish yourself in a way that makes you feel your best from the inside by listening to your body.

4. Balance the not-so-healthy foods by drinking water and eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and lean proteins. Once in a while it's part of a healthy balanced lifestyle to eat eat for comfort, to celebrate, or just because. Sure, you could go for a walk or head to the gym, but sometimes a scoop of ice cream is just the thing.

Emotional eating usually goes deep. If you need help, reach out to a professional.

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