Have you ever fallen victim to the cycle of stress eating? Have you ever wondered why?


When life gets hard, people often turn to food. And often, eat way more than they want (or even realize). When we work with nutrition clients, emotional eating is often one of their top challenges and it’s not hard to understand why.


stress eating cycle

Eating feels good.

As a result, food offers a pretty great—if very temporary—solution to our problems. Think of it this way: When you “stress eat,” you’re using food to solve a problem (anxiety, pain, grief, discomfort). But unfortunately, it’s a problem that food can’t solve. What’s worse is that most people who experience emotional eating feel guilty afterward, which just perpetuates the behavior. Emotional eating can be so automatic you don’t even know what’s triggering it. This leads to the cycle of stress eating.


If you can relate, here’s an unexpected approach that might help:

Give yourself permission to overeat.

It sounds odd we know, but it can help identify the very specific triggers—certain sights, smells, people, and emotions—that drive you to lose control.


So what do you do, exactly?

Next time you get the urge to stress eat, treat it as an experiment.

So yes, go ahead and overeat.

It’s going to feel counterintuitive at first. Uncomfortable even.

But view it as a learning experience—a necessary step in the process. (Plus, there are worse ways to learn.)


Take notes. Find your triggers. See what you can identify and how it makes you feel.

Giving this a try and it can be the first step to breaking the cycle.

If you’re looking for help with your nutrition, reach out and schedule a chat with our Precision Nutrition Certified coach HERE