Community Blog

Five Ways to Beat Stress Eating as a Caregiver

By Ketan Shah

Stress eating is usually a mindless form of eating, where you’re snacking all day long on usually less healthy food choices. It might seem to help in the moment, but is it really?

Look for Other Ways to Manage Your Stress

Stress eating isn’t an effective way to manage stress because usually you’re eating foods that might taste good, but that offer you little to no nutritional support. So, in effect, your body still craves whatever it’s missing and you end up needing to eat even more. Stress eating is a habit, and it’s one you can break. You just need to find other ways to manage your feelings.

Make it a Habit to Drink Water Before Eating

Hunger and thirst feel very similar to your body, especially when you’re out of touch with what’s going on in your body. If you’re not drinking a lot of water, you might misinterpret the urge to drink some water with hunger. One quick solution to judge the difference is to make it a habit to drink a glass of water before you reach for something to eat. Wait a little bit and see if you still feel hungry. If you don’t feel hungry still, then move on.

Walk in Place for a Minute Before Eating

Moving releases endorphins and other chemicals which can help you to relieve stress. But it’s tough as a caregiver to get regular exercise sometimes. One way around this is to start doing something like walking in place if you want to grab something to eat. When the urge strikes, walk in place for a minute and then assess whether you still feel like eating. If you do, at least you’ve moved a little bit, too.

Start Journaling

If you’ve been avoiding your feelings, you need to find another way to sort through them. Journaling can help a lot. You might start by journaling about what you’re eating and when, which can help you to get a full picture of your stress eating habits. You might start to realize you’re not eating as much as you thought, but your choices aren’t nutritious ones. Or you might realize that you’re eating way more than you thought you were, which can be a wakeup call, too.

Bring it Up with Your Doctor

There may be medical reasons behind what you’re experiencing. If you haven’t been to your doctor in a while, it might be time to make an appointment and go. Explain what you’re battling and what you’ve tried in order to beat the problem. There may be more going on than you think and it could be an undiagnosed medical issue to blame.

When you’re eating the right foods as a caregiver, you might find it’s a lot easier to manage your emotions and to get everything done that you want to do. Food can be fuel or it can clog up the works and make everything more difficult.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Los Altos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.