There are many people under pressure asking how to stop stress eating at work.
It doesn’t help your efforts when Google conveniently places nice, fresh macaroni and pizza a few feet away from you.
In this post we’ll cover 3 steps to stop stress eating at work in the Bay Area.
- Honor Your Hunger
- Defeat Cognitive Distortions
- Enjoy Your Food
How Stop Stress Eating At Work
Stress eating, is well, stressful.
I’ve worked with a handful immigrant tech workers, usually from India, who are incredibly surprised about how much weight they gain once they start working at tech companies in the Bay Area.
The story is common.
Back in India (or wherever really but most of my experience is with Indian culture) they didn’t really think about food.
Food wasn’t an issue.
Do you remember those days when food wasn’t an issue?
Then in America, where there is an overabundance of food, you see yourself gaining 20-30 lbs per year.
What the heck?!
What’s going on?!
You know there is a problem going on, and your situation is even worse because your incredibly stressed about keeping your job, visa status, language, making friends, fitting in, etc.
Plus, let’s be honest here…
We’re not even counting the millions of people who can’t stop stress eating at work simply because Silicon Valley and modern life in the city is …
So stress eating is quite natural.
1st Step To Overcome Stress Eating
Honor your hunger.
This is something I’ve talked about before.
Honoring your hunger is the 2nd Step in the Intuitive Eating framework I was trained in while getting my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University.
If you are letting 5 or more hours go by without eating, you will not be able to stop yourself from overeating.
So you need to feed yourself.
So many times workers in the Bay Area get so busy with work they forget to eat.
You need to break free of this mindset and embrace the fact that you need to either bring food with you to work, or get some meal breaks during work.
There’s a great article that I wrote about hunger, titled “How Your Hunger Heals Food Fear with Santa Clara Eating Disorder Therapist”
2nd Step To Stop Stress Eating At Work
You must defeat your cognitive distortions!
Let’s examine the picture below:
This is pretty typical.
Something bad happens. You get stressed. You eat.
First, remember – you must not be starving.
You can’t be starving. Otherwise step 2 doesn’t work.
But if you are feeding yourself regularly, then you can overcome cognitive distortions.
In this example, you might think:
“Oh my god my boss is going to fire me. I am going to have to go back to India and my whole family will be disappointed. I’ll have to work at a restaurant the rest of my life. I am hopeless.”
The first step is to write your thoughts down. All of them.
Then begin to question the truth of your thoughts.
- Has your boss yelled at you before? If so, did he/she fire you back then?
- Can you correct your mistake?
- Did you even make a mistake? Is it possible your boss is out of line?
By questioning your thoughts you will be able to see that most of them are based on doomsday future scenarios.
For more in depth information about this type of therapeutic technique, check out my article here on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
3rd Step To Stop Stress Eating
Enjoy your food.
Overall, these are the general strategies you take to stop food cravings and stress eating.
If you are wolfing food down, you aren’t enjoying it.
If you are distracted, you aren’t enjoying your food.
So slow down, and enjoy your food.
Pause and notice your emotions.
(lastly, a great article on how to pause and feeling your emotions, written by Inc.com and titled ” 7 Strategies Emotionally Intelligent People Use to Keep Their Feelings Under Control”