Health and Fitness Self Development By Claire Henderson / May 10, 2016 Unknown to many, stress eating is one of the most common problems that affect millions of people worldwide. According to a survey that was published by the American Psychological Association, the number of people who turn to smoking, shopping, gambling, and alcohol are just the same as the number of people who turn to food whenever they feel stressed. Another startling fact about stress eating is that many of these people are not aware that they are suffering from this problem. This is why it is important to learn how to avoid stress eating, even if you think that you are not guilty of this bad habit. Here are some tips on how to do just that. Always remember that at some point, it’s inevitable Because of the fact that eating triggers a pleasurable response by satiating hunger or cravings, the body naturally aches to consume food whenever it feels stressed out or emotionally drained. This is the reason why there are times that you may not be able to stop your brain from having the desire to eat after a stressful event. However, by realizing that this type of hunger is inevitable, you will find it easier to identify this need and to avoid it entirely. Stop rewarding yourself with food Some people have made a habit of rewarding themselves with food whenever they excel in school or at work. This is a very bad habit, especially if you are already fond of eating whenever you are stressed. This is because this habit reinforces the thought that food is extremely comforting and that consuming it leads to positive and happy emotions. This means that rewarding yourself with food can increase the chances of stress eating to cope with negative emotions. Stay away from food sources whenever you feel stressed If you are prone to experiencing stress at work, stay away from the fridge or the pantry, even if it is the best place to unwind and have alone time. If you normally receive bad news at home, stay away from the kitchen or the pantry whenever you feel that stress is about to loom in. This simple tip is one of the most effective ways to avoid stress eating since you will not be physically able to fulfill your body’s needs. Replace the contents of your fridge or pantry Most of the time, people who feel stressed eat anything that they can lay their hands on at that particular time. This is why it is a good strategy to fill your pantry or your fridge with healthy food that you do not normally eat or are not fond of eating. This sends signals to your brain that you will not be able to eat something that you like as soon as stress hits you, hence enabling you to wane from stress eating. Do not go ‘cold-turkey’ For many, avoiding food entirely whenever they feel any type of negative feeling is not a feasible option because of the nature of their work or the fact that they have done it for so long. When this happens, your best chance of avoiding stress eating is to minimize your food intake little by little whenever you feel stressed until you are left with nothing. This is the easier and more effective route for those who have been suffering from stress eating for a very long time.