We all get stressed out from time to time. Getting stuck in traffic, problems at work, relationship issues and anything that poses a challenge to or threatens our well-being can begin to feel overwhelming. We wonder whether we really can cope with the mounting pressure. This is even more true as an entrepreneur, where the demands of starting your own business compound additional pressures, combined with a propensity for founders to neglect taking proper care of their health and well-being.
Stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation or it can last a long time and interfere with one’s ability to live a normal life. Some stresses are good and can be drivers to being more productive and even bring satisfaction to our lives when overcome, but when stress threatens both our physical and mental health, it is bad.
For many of us, when we are stressed out we find solace in “comfort foods.” While some research suggests that certain foods can help reduce stress, other studies have found that stress can actually cause people to overeat.
A long list of “comfort foods” like pizza, french fries and ice cream release chemicals in our brains that make us feel good — if only temporarily. Unfortunately, these comfort foods can cause the body and the mind more stress in the long run.
Stress eating is a serious issue, so we spoke with local Whole Foods Market Healthy Eating Specialist and registered dietitian, Stephanie McCubbin, and compiled a list of three quick tips to help you manage stress eating.
“I think the biggest thing to know is that stress eating is often used similarly or parallel with mindless eating — we often don’t realize we are doing it,” McCubbin said. “It is out of habit.”
This habitual, mindless eating is problematic as it can create bad habits, which brings us to our first tip.
- Realization. You need to be aware that you are stress eating in order to address it. Understanding when you eat and what you’re eating can help you become more conscious about your potentially bad eating habits. One way to become more conscious is to keep a food journal, our second tip.
- Keep a Food Journal. If you think you are stress eating, a food journal can make you more conscious of what you are consuming on a daily basis. If you know that you have to make note of what you eat, it forces you to consider your consumption habits and potentially alter them. Compile as much data as possible by keeping a journal for an extended period of time in order to determine what your habits are. There are a number of apps out there that facilitate tracking, and have databases of nutrition facts to automatically quantify what’s in the food you are eating.
- Keep Healthy Snacks Around. By keeping healthy options like unprocessed, whole foods around, it makes it easier to remain at peak mental fitness while enjoying snacks that actually reduce stress, rather than contributing to it. It also prevents you from becoming overly hungry and then binging on unhealthy food all at once.
In the end, eating is a lot easier to accomplish than dealing with stress — it’s easily accessible and tends to be a quick fix. However, the feeling provided by that fat-filled, sugary cupcake that allows you to temporarily forget that you’re stressed out will quickly dissipate and give way to additional stress on the body and mind.
At Boomtown, we’ve taken steps to provide cohorts with healthy sustenance to fuel our entrepreneurs. We have a wide assortment of food options from Whole Foods Market in order to help them avoid stress eating, while keeping them well-nourished and operating at the peak of mental fitness. While it isn’t always easy making healthy choices during times of stress, eating nourishing, whole foods will help both the body and mind deal with stress better in the long term, allowing you to #GoFromHere.