Nutritionists and psychologists share their best tips for conquering cravings.
It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: Your arm reaches into your desk drawer, seemingly on its own, to retrieve a bag of chips, a bit of chocolate candy, or a cookie you had stashed for later.
Before you know it, the treat is in your mouth. You feel a rush of excitement, and then a calmness, which is followed by guilt. Eventually, you’re back to feeling anxious, which triggers the stress eating cycle all over again.
And stopping the cycle is tough.
Especially since people tend to eat sugary, junky food when they are stressed out. This kind of food actually reduces levels of the hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, thus relieving stress (at least temporarily) and hardwiring you to seek out these kinds of food the next time you’re under pressure.
The solution? Reminding yourself that you’re in the throes of a craving—and aren’t actually hungry—can sometimes be enough to snap you back to reality.
But when it’s not, don’t worry.
You still have plenty of tools to curb stress eating, like these 11 strategies and snack ideas from dietitians and food psychologists.
Related: Why You Eat When You’re Stressed