If you are a stress eater sheltering at home or in social isolation during the Covid-19 you are living with your nemesis: FOOD you love. You may have those foods you are restricting in the house because of other people in your home who are not dieters. Or you may have those foods at home you restrict because your children want them. Trying to resist eating your forbidden foods now just adds to your stress level.
Now is the time to finally discover the real reason why you are a stress eater, and beat this condition once and for all.
Changing Your Perspective
Watching the news and hearing about people dying from this very contagious Covid-19 flu like virus should be putting a different perspective about your life in your mind. Things that once seemed very important are receding. For instance, instead of focusing on what your body looks like now you’re also very concerned about not allowing yourself to get sick; building immunity to the virus so if you do get it you will recover; not transferring the Coronavirus to family members. There’s nothing like the threat of death to change your perspective and priorities.
Preventing Stress Eating
Stress Eating is the result of a combination of factors. Some Gurus say it’s the result of stress. But that’s the second step in the process. If you are someone who typically eats from stress, the foundational reason is most important. The overwhelming vast majority of people who eat from stress is because of one reason. You are unhappy with your body. There is some thing that you are dissatisfied with. For most it’s just your weight. For other’s it’s a body part that you think is too fat or too big.
The Real Reason You Stress Eat
People who habitually eat from stress don’t like their body and try to stop eating food that they enjoy because it's "fattening". That leads you into the revolving door of dieting or restricting a particular food or class of foods (carbs, sugar, gluten, etc.), losing and then regaining more weight.
If you are on any particular diet, you are probably under-eating the food that you enjoy and stuffing yourself on the food that the diet “allows” – such as watery lettuce and other foods that supposedly won’t affect your intake of calories. You miss the foods you used to eat, you feel like a victim and blame your body. The foods you miss will be what you go for when you're under stress!
Dieting and Restriction Causes Rise in Cortisol
At a certain point, when you are hungry and ignoring the signals from your body that you need to eat, you are creating the stress hormone Cortisol, which is released in your body. While cortisol is a protective hormone it is only meant to be used SHORT TERM. But constantly restricting food is stressful and keeps that cortisol flowing in your body!
Cortisol lowers our immune system because it is designed for short-term release to help us in fight-flight-freeze. Cortisol turns off all the systems our body does not need immediately to escape a predator or a dangerous situation. That means you don’t need an active immune system when you are steering your car away from an out of control automobile heading in your direction. You need blood pumping to your muscles and hyper-attention to where to drive to be safe. Cortisol allows you to do that.
Constant high levels of cortisol makes us vulnerable to getting sick because our immune system is compromised. During the Coronavirus pandemic you want to make certain that your immune system is pumped up and working at 100%!
Stress Eating a Result of Covid-19
Most of us are feeling stressed out due to fear of Coronavirus, the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are also bored and don't know what to do with themselves during this time. Our proximity to the food we want and the discomfort we feel from watching the news, not being able to live our normal day time activities, fear of illness and even perhaps constant proximity to people we love, but don’t see ALL the time is having an impact. When you are a dieter and stressed out food becomes your self-treatment.
People try to sooth ourselves in different ways. Some people use alcohol, others use drugs, sex, smoking, etc. Stress eaters use food.
Breaking the Stress Eating Habit
The ONLY way you will eliminate the stress eating habit is to deal with the foundational issue by learning to accept your body the way it is. People who are not restricting certain foods and not limiting what they are "allowed to eat" do not stress eat! The foundational cause of stress eating is because you are unhappy with your appearance. That's what drives you to diet. And please, don't lie to yourself and say, "I just want to be fit". Because you can be fit without losing weight or even being thin! Really.
I Can’t Stand My Body
You may think that you CAN'T stand yourself the way you are. There are very few things in life you “can’t” do. You can’t live forever. You can’t fly without a flying suit or being in a plane. You CAN learn to accept your body. You have to be committed and WANT to change your diet mindset and finally make peace with your body. And, it is really hard when you have the entire world against you.
You’ve been conditioned since you were little that only the only attractive people are thin. It's all around you, the pressure to diet and restrict food. All those diet commercials, and you only see thin people only in the media. Smaller sized people don't even realize the thin privilege they have just by living in a smaller body! But that's still no reason to restrict food- especially when you finally KNOW that dieting actually CAUSES eventual weight GAIN!
Health and Self-Acceptance Go Together
Your body will do its best to support your health as long as you can love yourself. Self-hatred leads to stress, and stress leads to dis-ease and illness. It makes us vulnerable because our immune system is compromised. During the Coronavirus pandemic you want to make certain that your immune system is working at 100%!
How to Start Accepting Your Body
Learning That Fat is NOT Unhealthy
Yes, we’ve been lied to and brainwashed not only by media, but by the medical and pharmaceutical industry to believe that having extra weight is unhealthy. But actually, it is NOT true. You know those “drug pushers” the pharmaceutical reps that get in to see the doctor even when YOU have been waiting an hour for your appointment? Well, those reps are the ones who are giving doctors “the skinny” on new drugs and information about getting rid of fat. And they are pushing those drugs because they make a fortune on people who are dissatisfied with their body and want desperately to lose weight.
The Diet Industry also has lobbyists who go to congress and push their agenda, despite actual un-biased research that shows that having extra weight is NOT an illness and doesn’t cause sickness. They hire their own researchers who "find" the results that the Diet Industry wants them to report.
I am not going to write about all of those studies, but many very educated and unbiased people HAVE written about that research in books and online. I highly recommend that you read Health At Every Size, by Linda Bacon, Ph D. Also, an older book, but an excellent book that puts so much information together is by an award-winning journalist Paul Campos, "The Obesity Myth".
You must get to the point where you KNOW that the Diet Industry has been “feeding you” (pun intended) MYTH-information designed to worry you about your weight and make you believe you need to diet.
Well, I want you to understand and KNOW that this is untrue. Being heavy is not going to make you sick. Not just “believe” but KNOW it. Just like you don’t “believe” in gravity, you KNOW it exists!
This is a change in your mindset that you must make in order to realize that you must stop dieting forever and finally make peace with your body! When you are really there, you will not stress eat anymore! You'll be able to eat like a thin person.
Fooling Yourself: Doing a Lifestyle Change to Be Fit
People say that they are dieting because they want to be "fit". But "fit is now a euphemism for being thin. It's just like the term "lifestyle change". It's just another term to describe a diet plan, and it generally even involves exercise as well.
It's still about secretly wanting to be thin. Women in particular are desperate to lose weight. And when you find out the odds of maintaining weight loss, so many will just ignore it and go on a diet anyway. They will show you before and after photos as they are losing weight. They're thrilled as they go down size by size. And the comments on social media are invariably asking what diet you're on, and complimenting you as you are succeeding with your diet.
But something happens eventually. These dieters, 95 percent or more, start regaining weight. Sometimes stress eating is a contributing factor, but not always! Your metabolism has slowed down because you've restricted the amount of food you've been eating. You can't fool Mother Nature!
Eventually, practically all dieters end up heavier than when they first started the diet! Then you don't hear from them on social media anymore. There are no more "after" the diet photos from months or years later, because she has regained the weight. She is embarrassed to tell you about that or show new photos. And she blames herself. This is the saddest part. We blame ourselves for diet failure when it's simply the response of a healthy body!
Yo-Yo Dieting is Unhealthy
And weight cycling also known as yo-yo dieting is more unhealthy than maintaining a steady weight. The most important point is you must learn to accept your body as it is. Your stress level goes down. Life is so much easier! So much of your day, your time is focused around food and trying to look good when you're on a diet. So many of your thoughts revolve around your appearance, your embarrassment, guilt, jealousy... not pretty thoughts. Stressful thoughts are a constant in your life.
This is the hardest mindset change to make. You have to accept yourself even though you wear a larger size than you used to. You have to learn to love yourself even if you have a "muffin top". You must learn to love yourself even if you are plus size. Because that is what your body is, and the probability is that you will stay that weight unless you get seriously ill, or a miracle occurs and there is actually someway to lower body weight and maintain it that is discovered. There is NO DIET, NO lifestyle change, no exercise program that has been successful in achieving that goal as of this day.
So, it's your choice whether to be constantly dieting and hating your body and blaming yourself OR to learn to accept and eventually love yourself the way you are!
It's not easy to make that 180 degree flip and start loving yourself. But below are some ways to help you make that transition to accepting yourself and eventually being happy in a larger sized body.
Until you can really accept yourself and clear your mind of the “need” to lose weight for health purposes or any other reason you will always have that little voice that tells you “you better not eat that bread, or piece of chocolate” because it will make you fat and sick. You will still be stuck in a diet mentality, a stress eaters, and even mindful eating can't work for you.
You already have “ruts” in your brain and thought processes that tell you that fat is ugly. You have to change those beliefs by stopping those thoughts and replacing them with positive or at least neutral thoughts about fat. You can do this by looking in the media and follow people to admire who are NOT skinny and have more weight on their body.
Don’t listen to what Oprah says about using Weight Watchers to diet. She’s been up and down more times than the longest roller coaster in existence! But think of the positive things that she’s done despite her weight- when she’s not focused on losing weight. She’s helped a LOT of people with gifts, educating them, supporting them through their hardships.
Look at other role-models in the media who are heavier and beautiful in their souls and in what they do. Look for people who are not skinny who do positive things for society, for animals, for whatever has meaning for you! Realize that you can admire them and not be looking at what her belly looks like, her hair, her make-up, what kind of shoes she is wearing. All of that is so shallow.
Once you can start looking at people and ignoring their body and appearance you are on your way.
Stress Relief to Prevent Stress Eating
This is just a short introduction to let you know that the solution to stop stress eating is stress relief. There are many types of methods to reduce your stress. I love using my Inner Balance HeartMath type of bio-feedback device. I KNOW that I am actually changing my physiological stress and mental stress when I use it. And HeartMath’s research done for over 30 years shows the unbiased research that proves it. This type of stress relief is not just to stop stress eating, but it works on all types of stress! You can actually feel a shift after doing a session with any of the HeartMath stress relief methods. And it lasts for hours.
Using the Inner Balance during the day relieves my stress. It is a great aid to prevent you from stress eating. You just pick it up and do a five minute session and then decide whether you are actually hungry and need to eat from physical reasons or if you were just stressing. If you were stressing your need to eat will dissipate. If not, you'll be able to eat mindfully, enjoying your food and not feeling guilty!
EFT Tapping, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique is another form of stress relief that works very quickly. Their research study showed that a tapping session actually lowers cortisol in the blood after being exposed to a stressful situation and then tapping. Tapping before eating also helps you identify whether you are stressed or hungry.
I have a many wonderful stress relief tools in my toolbox- some focusing on mental, some on physical, and some that are combined. But the best stress relief is what you will practice daily. Especially now, in the times of Coronavirus Covid-19 we ALL need to be doing a stress relief practice. It can actually save your life.
Get my free report and stay tuned for my upcoming course on Stopping Stress Eating Forever. Get free from the constrained and miserable life of a dieter and start enjoying food, your body and your life. You deserve it!