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Mental Health Center

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Top 10 Ways to De-Stress and Eat Less

Instead of comfort food, try these tips.
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Do you turn to food whenever you're stressed out? Stress-related food behaviors can be changed. Here are 10 tips to help you find better ways to deal with stress:

  • Fit in fitness every day. Getting regular physical activity works wonders in coping with stress. Give your stress to the pavement or the treadmill and let it go from your body. Staying active in winter elevates your mood and reduces stress.
  • Enjoy natural sunlight, especially in the winter. It can be depressing to be stuck indoors during the shortened days of winter, but a brisk walk in the sunshine can be a real mood enhancer.
  • Keep up your journal every day. Self-monitoring your food, fitness, and emotional feelings is an excellent way to become more aware of your triggers and behavioral patterns.
  • Don't deprive yourself of enjoying the foods you love, for this only leads to bingeing. Instead, plan to eat a small portion of the desired foods, eat it slowly, and savor every mouthful.
  • Set some ground rules about eating (such as only eat while seated, no food after 9 p.m., no second helpings, etc.).
  • Visit our community boards regularly and let your friends and professional staff help you. Research has shown that staying connected is one of the most important aspects of dealing with stress and sticking to your eating plan.
  • Identify the situations that cause overeating and develop a list of how you will handle these challenges. Be realistic. Talk it over with your buddies that face similar stressors to find realistic solutions that will help you manage the stress.
  • Relax. Give yourself 15 minutes each day of peace and quiet, a time to be reflective, meditate, or simply unwind. Soaking in a hot bubble bath can help release your troubles into thin air. Breaking free from the family, a breath of fresh air, or escaping to a quiet room will energize and empower you.
  • Be good to yourself. Have a list of motivational sayings that inspire and strengthen your resolve. Use affirmations daily to help you feel good about yourself and your mission to lose weight.
  • Eat healthfully. Proper nutrition promotes health, well-being, and rejuvenation, which in turn enhances your resilience to stress.

Reviewed on November 17, 2006

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