Conquer Stress Eating for Good: Expert Tips from a Licensed Therapist

how do i stop eating when i am stressed?

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

“Ry, how do I stop eating everything in my pantry when stressed?” It’s a question many of us have asked at some point. Let’s break it down and clarify what the real issue is and what it isn’t.

Is the problem that you eat everything in your pantry when stressed, or is it that you’re overwhelmed by stress and seeking a coping mechanism? The key question here is whether munching on snacks genuinely helps address the root cause of your stress, which is often a resounding no.

Stress and Coping: Not the Same as Solving

Eating, like going for a walk or other coping mechanisms, serves to calm us down when stress hits. Coping is valuable, but it’s not a solution. So, if you want to break free from stress-induced munching, let’s address the underlying stress issue. Once that’s managed, you might find the urge to snack naturally subsides.

Key Questions to Address Your Stress

By thoughtfully addressing these questions, you can develop a more profound awareness of your stressors and uncover healthier ways to manage them, ultimately leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

What Triggered the Stress?

Let’s start by figuring out what’s been stressing you out. Take a sec to think about what’s been bothering you recently. Is it some recent drama, like a crazy work deadline, or maybe a little tiff with someone close? Or is it more of an ongoing thing, like the never-ending demands of your job or family stuff? Stress is stress, no matter where it’s coming from. Knowing what’s behind it helps you see what’s really bugging you.

What Does This Stress Reveal About Your Needs?

Stress isn’t just a random annoyance; it’s like a message from your inner self. It tells you something about your needs. For example, if work stress is eating at you, maybe it’s saying you need a better work-life balance. If it’s kid-related stress, perhaps it’s a nudge to chill a bit and let them do their thing. Stress about your body might mean you need some self-care. And if it’s relationship stress, it’s time to dig deeper into what’s going on. Understanding these messages can guide you toward fulfilling those needs.

What’s Not Working in Your Current Approach?

If you’re here looking for answers, it’s a sure sign that your current stress-busting game plan isn’t quite cutting it. Time for a little reality check on the strategies you’re using. Are you turning to not-so-great habits like stress-eating or binge-watching TV to escape stress? Maybe your current moves are just quick fixes and not long-term solutions. Recognizing what’s not working is a big step toward finding better ways to handle stress.

What Can You Let Go Of?

Think about creating two lists that can help you sort out your stress. List one: stuff you can control versus things that are out of your hands. It’s like separating what you can change from what you gotta roll with. List two: tasks and duties you absolutely have to do versus stuff you genuinely want to do. By focusing on what really matters and letting go of stuff that’s sucking your energy with no real payoff, you can make space for things that truly light you up.

It’s Not The Eating That’s The Problem

Remember, it’s not about the eating; it’s about addressing the stress itself. By understanding the triggers, recognizing your needs, and letting go of what no longer serves you, you can find healthier ways to navigate stress. Coping is a part of the process, but true transformation comes from tackling the root causes.

The Best Guided Journals To Start A Journaling Practice 

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

“The Five-Minute Journal”

A widely acclaimed guided journal designed for daily gratitude and self-reflection. This journal prompts users to express gratitude, set positive intentions, and reflect on daily achievements, fostering a positive mindset.

“Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” by Meera Lee Patel

This beautifully illustrated guided journal encourages self-exploration through a series of thought-provoking prompts, creative exercises, and inspirational quotes. It’s a visually engaging journey of self-discovery.

“365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Precepts” by R.J. Palacio

Inspired by the best-selling novel “Wonder,” this guided journal offers daily precepts, quotes, and prompts to encourage kindness, empathy, and reflection. It’s a heartwarming and insightful companion for personal growth.

“The Mindfulness Journal”

Geared towards promoting mindfulness and reducing stress, this journal includes daily prompts for meditation, gratitude, and reflections on the present moment. It’s an ideal tool for those seeking a more centered and mindful lifestyle.

“Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll

While not a traditional guided journal, Ryder Carroll’s method has gained immense popularity. The Bullet Journal is a customizable organizational system that combines to-do lists, calendars, and reflections, offering a flexible and personalized approach to journaling. Click here for a bullet journal. 

“The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal” by Julia Cameron

Based on Julia Cameron’s transformative book, “The Artist’s Way,” this journal encourages the practice of “morning pages” – three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing every morning. It’s a tool for unlocking creativity and overcoming creative blocks.

“52 Lists Project” by Moorea Seal

This guided journal provides a year’s worth of weekly list prompts designed to inspire self-reflection, gratitude, and personal growth. Each list is thoughtfully curated to explore different aspects of your life and goals.

“Calm the Chaos Journal”

Targeted at those seeking stress relief and emotional balance, this guided journal combines mindfulness exercises, prompts for self-reflection, and spaces for creative expression. It’s a holistic approach to calming the chaos in daily life.

“Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal”

Perfect for those who prefer a long-term commitment, this journal offers a daily question for five years, allowing users to track their thoughts and experiences over time. It’s a unique way to witness personal growth and changing perspectives.

My other favorite guided journals

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.