Staying Healthy

How to Avoid Stress Eating: 5 Ways to Calm Those Cravings

We’ve all been there. Completely smashing it with our diet plan, but all of a sudden a stressful event or situation means that we end up falling off the wagon and reaching for the comfort food. During stressful periods, or times when we’re stuck at home, it can be incredibly tempting to start comfort eating, and it’s only natural that at the moment, a lot of us may be turning to our favourite snacks for a little pick me up! However, while stress eating or even emotional eating can make us feel comforted for a short period of time, it can move us further away from our weight loss goals. Plus, there’s the added risk that you’ll more than likely feel incredibly guilty afterwards, which isn’t the best thing for your mental health, particularly if you were feeling a little fragile to begin with. There’s no definitive answer when we look at how to stop stress eating, however, there’s a few things you can do that might help you beat the cravings and stay on track. So, today we’ve put together our five top tips to help prevent emotional eating when times are a little tough, and we hope you find them helpful!

Keep a Food & Mood Diary

If you find yourself stress or emotional eating on a regular basis, it can be a good idea to keep a food and mood diary. The idea behind it being that by writing down what you’re eating, it will help you identify any patterns between your mood and the food you eat. Write down what you eat, when you eat it, and how you were feeling when you ate it. From there, you’ll be able to work out any triggers that cause you to stress eat. Perhaps it’s always after spending time with a particular friend, or perhaps there’s a major event going on in your life. Either way, by identifying what causes you to comfort eat, it will give you a chance to look at how you can manage them better. 

Beat the Boredom

Believe it or not, boredom eating is a thing and has been identified as a common issue behind overeating. Especially during times when we’re stuck at home, reaching for the snacks can often be done out of boredom, or even procrastination. We’re all guilty of it – delaying our start to work just to have one more biscuit! Particularly if you’re feeling stressed it may be more tempting to reach for the crisps or chocolate to keep you occupied during that Netflix binge. The solution is simple – keep busy! Most of us will currently be gifted with a lot more free time, so make good use of it! Whether you clean your house, go for a short walk or give your friend a call, doing something to keep you occupied can be another simple way to stop eating unnecessarily. 

Take 5 Minutes

Before you head to the food cupboard, try and delay it by a few minutes and just check in with yourself. Ask yourself whether or not you’re physically hungry (Have you eaten recently? Is your stomach rumbling?) and how you’re feeling at the moment. While it may not necessarily stop you from giving in to the craving, it may help you identify why it’s there and help you become more aware of what you can do as an alternative, and that’s a step in the right direction! We’d also recommend having a glass of water to ensure you are not feeling dehydrated, why not add a water enhancer to make them ever tastier?

Manage Your Stress

It may be an obvious one but when it comes to preventing stress eating, one of the best things you can do is – you guessed it – manage your stress. Everyone will be different in what works for them – for some it will be gentle exercise, for others it might be mindfulness or breathing techniques – so it’s worth doing a little research into how you can keep your stress levels down. It may be that you try a number of different techniques before you find something that actually works for you, but you’ll get there. 

Get Rid of Temptation

Again, another obvious one, but it’s a quick and easy way to put a stop to any emotional eating! If you have cupboards stocked with treats, it’s most definitely time for a clear out. If you have a weakness when it comes to a particular food, such as chocolate or crisps, avoid buying them when you do your weekly shop and make a point of getting rid of any stash you might have. Don’t deny yourself completely though, especially if you’re actually hungry – instead, prepare healthy snacks to graze on such as raw fruits and vegetables, or even take a look at our selection of delicious recipes for some inspiration?

One final thing – don’t be too hard on yourself if you do end up indulging in a little comfort eating. During times of stress it can be easily done, and punishing yourself for it may do more harm than good! If you’re in need of some extra support, our Facebook community is an incredibly supportive place where you can chat to other people who are following our exante diet plans. It’s great for giving each other some well needed support! Remember to bear these tips in mind too, and you’ll be back following your exante diet before you know it!

Written by Amy Jackson – Content Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes – 1st April 2020

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Amy Jackson

Amy Jackson

Writer and expert

Amy graduated from The University of Northampton in 2013 with a degree in Psychology. She currently writes for a number of websites and has a special interest in creating posts around well-being and self-care. She's a big fan of Pilates and has recently started taking up yoga. She loves animals (especially her cat, Tilly!), scrapbooking, and curling up with a good book or a boxset.


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