I think maybe I should start every day with a weather report until summer. Summer is always the same day after day..sunny and 100 degrees! For the middle of winter, Atlanta is supposed to be sunny tomorrow and 60! I am so psyched about that. Today it was 48 but there was still some ice on my driveway from last Thursday. I don’t get that, it just doesn’t want to melt!
I wanted to share the exciting news that I got to write for The Gracious Pantry about stress eating and clean eating. You can see the interview here (I was not the only interview). I thought it was informative, and wanted to share the entire interview.
1. How would you personally define “stress eating” or “emotional eating”? “Stress eating” or “emotional eating” is eating just to have something to do, or mindless eating. A lot of the time, that person is not hungry. Sometimes a stress eater will eat to comfort themselves or to compensate for the stress they are feeling. As stress cannot be controlled, subconsciously a person may be trying to feel in control and the way they do that is by eating. However, I would like to point out, that the eating could go either way, for example, a person may also lose their appetite as well, which is also a problem.
2. Do you, or does anyone you know turn to food when stressed? I know many people that turn to food when they are stressed. I have done that in the past also. However, when I get very stressed about situations that are uncontrollable, I tend not to eat. This causes another host of problems, it’s not that I don’t want to eat, but I’m just not hungry. Then, by the time my brain seems to register that I’m hungry, I’m famished and can’t get to the food fast enough. I am well aware of this issue, though, and try my best to make sure that I am not binging when I do eat, which could easily happen it that sort of situation.
3. How do you think this impacts a clean eating lifestyle? I believe that stress eating greatly impacts a clean eating lifestyle. If a person is stressed and in that kind of mind frame, they may just eat what is available to them, or eat things that they don’t normally eat. I have run across people in the past who think “just this once” or “I deserve it because I fell bad”. On the other hand, you have people that stick to the clean eating lifestyle no matter what, and they may binge, but it would only be on a clean food, such as natural peanut butter, or raw brownies, or foods that they look at as a “clean eating treat”.
4. What would your suggestions be for someone who is a stress eater and trying to follow a clean eating lifestyle? I would suggest that if a person is in a stressful situation (or know that they will be entering into one) to have clean snacks ready and measured out…snacks that they really like, so they don’t reach for unclean foods such as chips and cookies. What I can honestly say, also, is that they need to remind themselves that if they eat the unclean food, that they’re going to feel worse…mentally and possibly physically. That alone should be enough incentive! I know that when I’ve strayed from eating clean, I didn’t feel good. I felt bad for doing it (because you know you’re putting things into your body that shouldn’t be there) and sometimes it even resulted in stomach cramps or the like.
5. Please share any tips you may have for handling stressful moments in ways other than eating. There are many ways that a person could handle stressful moments in ways other than eating. They could take a walk, they could take a mental timeout, they could cook a clean meal (if they like to cook, that is!), if they belong to a gym, they could exercise (running or elliptical is always good, as is lifting weights). Even if they don’t belong to a gym, there are other ways to exercise. For example, a person could rent a workout DVD and use that. Or do push-ups until their arms are exhausted.) They need to really think about and then ask themselves if they are really hungry or if they are just reaching for food for comfort.
6. If somebody feels they absolutely have to eat to handle a stressful situation in their lives, what foods do you think would be the best foods to “use”? Personally, I like to make my homemade trail mix: (raw cashews, raisins and cacao nibs), or eat an apple with natural nut butter, or if chocolate is what you want make some chocolate peanut butter oatmeal (1 serving of oatmeal, 2 Tb of unsweetened chocolate, 1 Tb agave nectar, and 1 Tb natural nut butter). Throw in some protein powder and you have a complete meal 🙂 Clean comfort food for stressful situations that is good for you!