cn2007rn cn2007rn (New Member) New Member

Tips for Stress Eater

Weight   (6,011 Views 16 Comments)
6,697 Visitors; 6 Posts
If you find this topic helpful leave a comment.

Hi Everyone, I have been a nurse almost 6 years, I really like my current job but still feel a lot of pressure and stress at times. I come home from work in the afternoon and if I feel a little stressed and a little hungry and I could eat the whole pantry. What do can I do to avoid the feeling that I need to eat everything in site?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

aw geez, i am no expert at all, in this topic, but, since no one else has answered,

know this--------there is hope.

You are in charge of what goes into your mouth. You can also participate in controlling your own reactions to stress. You might not be able to much reduce various stressors in your life, but, your reaction to how you handle the stress, is indeed, within your control, and no one else's.

but, your problem is very understandable, and in no way, are you the only person struggling with this exact same problem.

A few things you can try (til hopefully, someone more knowledgable in this area comes along and gives you some better advice)

#1---------PLAN and ORGANIZE your own self care, the way you plan and organize your patients' care. Bring along protein laden foods to eat throughout the day, as many nutritionists feel protein is better at staving off hunger than many other nutrients are.

Keep track of your own reaction to various meal plans or snacks. Which lunch held you better, the tuna with spices, or, the bag of chips and soda? What times of day are you most vulnerable to lose inner resolve, and which lower calorie snacks work well for you then? Do sugar laden foods, like so many of the boxed cereals, make you feel tired, and you end up eating to try to "get energy"? etc etc. these are only a few of the things you might discover,

if you actually fully focus on your food intake for a whlie.

actually FOCUS on, and even record, what you are eating, and your reaction to it.....kinda like you do for your patients' treatments.

"Diet" while in the grocery store. Me, i can't resist chips and some of the cookies out there, man, do i have trouble using any self control in portion control. Very embarrassing, you'd cringe to see me with a bag of chips.


i don't buy chips. They are not in my home. For ME, it's wayyyyyy easier to grocery shop while i am full, and resist the chips once a week at the store,

than it is to resist the chips every 20 minutes in my own kitchen. Overtime, my craving for chips has just about disappeared. I now view them as kinda gross waste of calories.

I've also found "chip-substitutes" in the site below, in idea #2 below.

#2, consider joining this FREE health website:

Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal |

^when i hit mental pause, i gained 20 lbs! It was like waking up one year, with someone else's metabolism!!

I'd never ever had to diet in my life, and found my first attempts failed, it was far far harder than i'd imagined!!!

and i ended up re-gaining every lb back, plus a few more.

Turns out, i had to re-train myself to eat healthy again, not "diet".

I joined MyFitnessPal, and fairly quickly lost my extra weight again. Not super fast, but, steadily and slowly, i re-developed healthier eating habits again. HABITS I CAN LIVE WITH, not a fad diet that i can not keep up forever ...but, i developed a lifelong management program on how to eat FOREVER.

It contains a huge recipe section, as well, with most of their recipes focused on being lower calorie.

Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal |

You can post a question about any type of dish that you want a lower calorie version for,

and within minutes, have several choices to look over.

THIS SITE, takes a few days to "get the hang of it". I recommend, if you do join it,

that you participate for two weeks, before deciding if it is going to help you, or not. NOt one day, but, at least 2 weeks.


^that site has very nifty calorie counter one can use to log their daily calories, too. That "food diary" will also measure your protein, sugar, potassium, sodium, cholesterols, etc etc etc, depending on which 5 nutritonal items you want measured.

The food diary can be set to private, or, you can allow others to see it, sometimes getting good tips. Members there

tend to egg each other on, to eat healthy, to get back up and try again if they messed up,

to generally support each other as they struggle with various food issues

or food-related health concerns.

That site has "sub-groups" too, that one can search for, and join, like "Diabetics" or "Weight lifters" or "Woman Over 50" or "People with over 100 lbs to lose" or "Bulemics" or "Arthritis" groups, you name it, there's probably a sub-group for it there...... etc etc.

I kind of think, anytime you ever take the few minute a day,

to log all your food intake, (even if it's only for your own eyes alone)

for a week or two,

you might have an "ah ha!" moment, might learn something about how you really do eat.

GOOD LUCK!!! Developing a healthier relationship with food, takes time. You will mess up, you will fail a few times, til you get on top of it. But, don't give up, press forward, it gets easier.

Edited by somenurse

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My stress-eating is certainly kept under control when I eat more often. I've been eating five small meals per day every three hours that are 250 to 300 calories each. In addition to the five small meals, I allow myself to have anywhere from 1 to 3 snacks in a day that are anywhere from 60 to 100 calories a piece.

The frequent meals keep my metabolism going. In addition, since I like to eat, I'll always know that the next meal is just around the corner.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an advertisement for "super skinny jeans" as I am reading this thread. I just don't keep junk food at home.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is current research that shows 6 meals a day does not boost your metabolism, but in fact, can slow you down because your body is constantly working at digestion. I tried the frequent meal thing, thinking that because I like to snack and am always eating that it would work for me.

It did not...I felt like I was a grazing cow, always eating, always something in my mouth...and yet I was still not satisfied, there was still this empty bottomless hole in my stomach that nothing ever satisfied. That is because stress eating, overeating and the other issues many of us who are overweight struggle with has nothing to do with actual HUNGER and the act of satisfying that hunger. If we only ate when we were actually hungry, we wouldn't be overweight, but we have lost contact with our body and what it is telling us. That is one of the problems with eating 6 meals a day. You are not eating when you are hungry, when you body tells you it needs foods, but rather on a schedule you have set to a clock that has nothing to do with your bodies natural metabolism.

Another is that it is difficult to eat so many meals a day and keep it healthy, especially if you are a nurse. You basically have to invest a lot of time into meal and snack prep, drag around a bulky lunch bag and make sure you have frequent break times to go get and eat your meal or snack.

Our bodies do not need frequent meals, in fact our bodies have been made to go long periods without food. Do you really think that when you eat something it goes straight to be used by your body for some essential metabolic need? If so, then why does our body store anything? What happens if we miss one of those 6 meals, do we just slow down like a robot with dying batteries? No.

I have found that I can eat a good breakfast of eggs with a little butter and I can go til well after lunch before I am hungry. Had a class the other that went over til 2p and I was fine. Everyone else it class had been hitting the vending machines since 11a for Mountain dew and chips. I actually went and ran a few errands and ate lunch at 230p, still not feeling rushed or like I was starving. I felt great that day, not slow or sleepy, not anxious, not obsessed over getting to my lunch, plenty of was not controlling me that day and it felt awesome to be free for once.

If I get hungry before lunch break, it is a temporary "reminder" my body is sending me, my stomach grumbles, then it goes away. Unlike with stress "hunger" where you get this nagging feeling that you just have to have something, often something specific but not always, sometimes you just NEED to have something in your mouth, just NEED to be eating something and the anxiety increases the longer you go without eating something, almost obsessive, until it evolves into an almost panic and you end up scarfing down whatever you can get your hands on. Then before you know it you are sitting there thinking what the heck happened? You have consume all this junk, several meals worth and barely remember it. All you remember is that desperate feeling.

With REAL hunger, it comes but fades if you don't eat and returns again later to remind you again. We have become so disconnected from our bodies that we can no longer tell the difference. I like an example someone gave on that website I linked on my previous comment above that I have recently started: If I think I am hungry then I ask myself "Could I totally eat some eggs right now?" If the answer is "Heck yeah I could totally scarf some eggs right now" then I eat, if not then I don't.

Even then, I still catch myself going to the fridge and opening cabinets and have to stop myself and make myself walk away. I find that I start worrying more and more about the food, I start to get more anxious and make several trips back and forth to the fridge and so I try to find something to do to distract myself or else I will give in, not to hunger but to the anxiety and the relief of that anxiety with food. I don't always win, especially if I am particularly stressed at that moment, but it has started to help.

Just the act of asking myself that egg question gets me thinking about what I am doing, gives me a little control and helps keep my from diving right back in to the mindless eating that has been ruling my life.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pets to People, you make some really great points, i so agree with this.

It is also possible, that what works for one human, could be different than what works for another. Ha, what works for me one month, can get tweaked from month to month, depending on how active i am this month or that month.

It's possible, that there might not be a "one size fits all" kinda solution to learning how to develop a healthier relationship with food. What works for one of us, might not always work for another of us. Some people do find eating steadily throughout the day helps THAT person avoid any sensation of hunger or finds it reduces their urge to snack. It works for that person.

For another person, it might backfire. some of us, much enjoy meal planning and cooking, and get pretty darn good at it, very efficient. For others, that might feel like a pain.

guess we are not all just exactly alike.

When i first had to learn how to develop a healthier relationship with food, i DID focus entirely on the subject, yeap, i sure did. I had a lot to learn or realize about the mistakes i was making and about better options to try. Also, going on in my head, was me coming to believe i could become healthy and fit again, i was also, in some hard to desribe way,

making a mental picture of my own self,

as healthy and fit again. for ME, if i can't see it, i can't get there. If i can't imagine it, i have trouble sticking to it.

so this whole "focus on my food" plan was a multi-layered mental thing, to help ME develop the inner strength and commitment to change, too.

I made some mistakes at first. but, eventually, i found what works for ME. but, what works for ME, might not be entirely useful for another person.

I thought about it a lot, at first, and paid real close attention to what i was eating,

why i was eating,

when i was eating,

and how i felt after i ate this or that. Nope, i don't have to still do all that, but, for ME, it was part of "assessment" of my own nutritional status.

Someone else might not have any "ah ha!" moments the way i did, so that whole assessment part of what and why THEY are eating, might not be needed for THAT person, but, it worked to get ME started on a new direction with a better understanding of what foods work best for ME.

Edited by somenurse

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

As i was thinking, about what works, and what doesn't, i was thinking over the list of "pals" i have on MyFitnessPal.

I have about 20 various people, all striving towards fitness, amongst my "friends" list. We can all see into each other's food diaries. We can also see each others comments, like, "wow, i made this awesome asparagus, only 60 calories for a whole cup, and it's delish!"

or "aw geez, i just ate the whole birthday what?"

or "I ran 15 miles today, so now i can have some ice cream, and not be "over" my calorie limit! yay"

and stuff like that.

or "darn, i haven't lost a pound in two weeks now!"

on and on. Kinda like facebook, only for health.:roflmao:

anyway, my point is,

on my friends list on MFP, there's all kinds there.

i have a guy who has lost 108 pounds, using the paleo diet,

and another pal there is using paleo and fast, paleo and fast.

and there is a woman who has lost 30 lbs and has another 80 pounds left to lose and IS steadily losing, but, she insists she HAS TO have her bit of chocolate every day, or she'll go completely off her diet entirely. She saves up some calories every day, to spend on her bit of chocolate. that works for her.

some eat 3 meals a day, plus 2 or 3 snacks (snack might be something as simple as an apple)

some eat about once a day.

some of them admit to having some mental compulsions to eat, or some are stress eaters, or some are just habitual overeaters, some don't overeat, really, but eat reeeeally fat laden items,

lotta reasons we are all there.


another pal there, is fitness buff, i mean, burns more calories in a DAY than i burn in a week ha ha, and she is huge healthnut, very very purist in what she eats. Because she is so active, she gets to eat about 3000 calories per day, just to maintain her current perfect weight. For her, it's not about the food, it is all about exercising, and she has trouble eating enough to maintain, cuz she is so active.

Another pal there, is older gal, who is vegan, and tries hard to eat enough protein every day, that's her focus there.

Another pal, who is also steadily losing, eats what seems like junk food to me, often eats boxed, ready made stuff, a lot of macaroni and cheese and hotdogs and yet, this works for HER. She is most motivated, and is doing it, by eating what she always ate, but, learning how to control her PORTIONS of those foods.


my point is, it is kinda fun for me, to see alllllllllll the various ways, that various humans on MFP are all finding out what works for THEM. and so many ways to do it.

Edited by somenurse

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
There is an advertisement for "super skinny jeans" as I am reading this thread. I just don't keep junk food at home.

Lol, oh i know! Isn't kinda creepy how the computer shifts the advertising on the sides in line with whatever you've just googled? Makes my scalp slide back. (not just THIS site, but, most anywhere you go on the net, pow! They know what topic you are on!!") shiver!

i do same as you, i "diet" IN the store, makes it easier for me to avoid having a gluttony fest with a bag of chips some weak moment.

For some of us, it is wayyyyyyyy easier to resist the 'bad' foods that we have portion control problems with, IN THE STORE,

than it is to try resist that food every 20 minutes. in my own kitchen.

and, like i said above,

once i weaned myself off of junk food, i did kinda come to see it as a kinda gross waste of my calorie allotment for the day.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is interesting what was said about ads coming up on this site (and others).. Twice I have been on allnurses, the nursing specialties section, and porn came up. Truly, I had not googled that. It was the same site, and it was nasty. Yuk.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have myfitnesspal on my smart phone. It helps me keep track of my intake and make informed decisions. If I have some calories left at the end of the day I might choose between a large apple or a run and diet coke.

I also pack my lunch and snacks for work. That really helps me keep my calories in check. If I'm hungry it must come from my lunch container or I can use myfitnesspal to figure out what I must forgo if I want to eat something someone brought in.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In