5 Ways to Stop Stress Eating for Better Health

We all race home and find the dog peed on the floor, the toddler’s finger painted all over your dining room table, and the traffic took twice the time as normal. What do most people do to cope? If you’re an American, you likely turn to food. Stress eating—taking the edge off of your day with some comforting albeit unhealthy food—is taking the country by storm. After a couple of years of this, the weight creeps up, the inflammation kicks in, and you’re in for a full body assault. It’s not good for the body or the mind—so why do we do it?


“We view food as a comfort,” says Dr. Heather Bartos, of be. Women’s Health & Wellness. “That pizza, those nachos, that ice cream play a biochemistry trick on our brain. But we can outthink it.”


To do so, Dr. Bartos suggests reframing how you view the food you eat.


Dr. Bartos recommends 5 ways to reframe how you look at food. You can implement these right now to break free from the stress eating. Get ready to jump back into the driver’s seat:


  1. Especially about how we’re feeling. Sometimes we feel icky or have a blah “off” day. We might be cranky and don’t know why. We don’t want to feel it. The first step is to say: “I’m feeling off. What is my body communicating to me?” A feeling is just a feeling, not good or bad. We can shift that feeling and say, “Huh. Is there something deep down that’s making me feel this way because I have a stressor that’s driving this behavior?” Take a moment each day and think before you reach for food-journaling. What was I craving? How was I feeling?
  2. How to manage the stress? Waiting until the end of the day to relieve our stress is a bad idea. Close your eyes, take deep breaths. Blow away all the stress after thinking about your happiest moment. Turn up the brightness in the picture. At the office? Hop into the restroom and take a calming moment for yourself. In other words, don’t want until later in the day!
  3. Limit distractions during Otherwise you’re 70% more likely to overeat. Eating in front of the TV is one of the worst things you can do. If you sit in the same place doing the same thing every night, your brain automatically associates sitting in front of the television with ice cream or whatever you eat there. You will be fighting within yourself because your brain already made that connection. That’s why it’s challenging to break the cycle, but it’s not difficult: move to another spot at your table, 2 chairs down to form a new connection in your brain. Be more mindful in your eating habits. It’s much better to eat at the table and not on your phone.
  4. Choose your words. Don’t say things like “I’m just fat,” “I’m just lazy,” or “I’m not motivated.” We are creators, and we create our reality through the things we say to ourselves. Did you know that our subconscious is 5-7 years old? Our core beliefs are driving us and when we embed negativity into those beliefs, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Be mindful of the way you speak to yourself. Use the phrase, “I choose…” when thinking about your habits. Remember: negative thinking is habitual. Instead of negative thoughts, try some of these on for size: “I am healthy.” “I am fit.” “I am strong.” “I am a loving person. I am attracting abundance.”
  5. Change the story about food. Change how you think about food by changing the names of things. Such as a Whopper with cheese, which might become a “sick-cheeseburger.” Shift your thinking about the foods you no longer want to eat to change the emotions around the food. For example, pizza might symbolize friends and fun and youth, but if it makes you feel bad, perhaps a better way to view it is in terms of a once-in-a-while treat or a food to avoid altogether. What would happen if you shifted your pizza thoughts?


“Each one of us has the power to shift the emotion with food,” says Dr. Bartos.  “Rethinking how you will feel and understanding how your body processes the foods out there puts you back in control.”


Taking Care of Your Thyroid

It weighs only 25 grams (about the weight of a handful paper clips), and it sits at the base of your neck. You may not think much about your thyroid gland, but that little butterfly-shaped gland is not functioning optimally then nothing works well.  January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and in honor of that little butterfly-shaped gland, here are some tips on taking care of mother nature’s circuit breaker.


  • Dine on Iodine: Thyroid hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are named T4 and T3 due to the number of iodine molecules they possess. T4 possesses four iodine molecules, and T3 possesses three. Without iodine, your body simply cannot make these thyroid hormones and issues then follow. Iodine deficiency is common, though we can increase our intake of it by consuming iodine rich foods such as seaweed, fortified dairy products, and seafood.
  • Choppin’ Broccoli: The brassica family—kale, broccoli, and cauliflower—are what known as “goitrogens” which means they can suppress the function of the thyroid gland by blocking the uptake of iodine. Cooking them lightly will reduce the negative impact of these powerhouse foods but keep all their vitamin-rich goodness.
  • Let’s get nuts: Selenium is required for the thyroid to convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 as the enzymes required for this conversion are actually dependent on selenium. It is also a potent antioxidant; protecting the gland from oxidative stress.  Brazil nuts are one of the highest natural sources of this mineral. Alfalfa, broccoli, butter, eggs, fish, garlic, onion, turnips and seafood are also fantastic sources.  Eating one unsalted Brazil nut daily is an easy way to increase your intake and also provides your body with other minerals and healthy fats.
  • Up your ANTIOXIDANTS: Antioxidants are well known to help lower the signs of aging but they’re also fantastic for your thyroid, especially if you have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, such as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease. The thyroid is very susceptible to oxidative stress. Consuming a rainbow of fruit and vegetables daily will ensure you are getting a lot of antioxidants as well as B vitamins which will help to protect your thyroid and ensure proper hormone balance.
  • STAY AWAY FROM FAD DIETS: Good advice in general; starving yourself is never a good idea! When you dramatically lower your calorie intake or deprive your body of sustenance for certain periods of time, your body will do everything it can to help you survive. One of the body’s primary survival mechanisms is for the thyroid to release a hormone call reverse T3 which acts to slow your metabolism. If you are starving to death in the middle of the desert, this may come in handy, however, if you are trying to get to a healthy weight and feel healthier, then not so much!

Lastly, the key to thyroid health is to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy, lean sources of protein—both animal and vegetable sources—drink plenty of water and lower your intake of refined sugars, junk food, sugary drinks and get plenty of rest. A thyroid-healthy diet will enhance all of your health, and what better month to start than right after New Years!