8 Ways to Manage Stress in Weight Loss

There is one subtle enemy of weight loss that many people are not even aware of. I’m talking about stress. I had a weight loss student who suddenly stopped losing weight halfway through her weight loss program with me although she was following all my instructions.

When I probed a little deeper, I discovered that at that period of time, she was experiencing a lot of stress at work. And it was the stress that hindered her weight loss. When I coached her to deal with her stress, she could resume losing weight again.

It’s so common to find people who ‘comfort eat’ i.e. they eat to comfort themselves. This comfort eating is particularly acute during times of stress. “I’m stressed, therefore I eat.”

Here are a few proven ways to manage stress that I share with my weight loss students.

1. Distract yourself by giving yourself something to do whenever you feel like binging. This way, you will postpone your instant gratification when hunger hits. Tell yourself you’ll wait 10 to 30 minutes to eat. Chances are good if your cravings are only stress-related, they’ll disappear when you allow yourself to become distracted.

2. Keep a food journal of what you eat each day. Knowing you have to write down every snack or nibble can be a good way to remind yourself to think before eating.

3. Drink lots of water. Keeping yourself hydrated not only increases your metabolism (which boosts weight loss), but also keeps yourself feeling full.

4. Be accountable to a friend – preferably one who is also given to comfort eating. When you feel like eating, write him/her a quick note or make a phone call.

5. Don’t let yourself go hungry or tired. Eat regular, healthy snacks to maintain your energy level. Skipping meals while under stress only prompts you to eat more, and unhealthily, when you do get around to eating.

6. Post some reminder messages wherever you’re likely to see them when stress-related cravings begin. Use any message that works for you. Examples can be, “Are you sure you want to do this?” or “Think before you eat.”

7. Make it inconvenient for you to get certain foods (those snacks that tend to make you put on weight). Never go shopping while hungry and always make a list of food items prior to shopping; bring home only what you feel good about eating.

8. De-stress by doing something you enjoy regularly. Whether it’s 10 minutes to reflect and relax, or whether it’s some fun activity that will revitalize you, it’s critical to do it. Health is not just physical; mental well-being is just as important, you deserve to mentally de-stress everyday!