Managing stress eating disorder: What you need to know

managing stress eating disorder

Stress eating disorder is not something you might have had to worry about before, but the COVID-19 outbreak has changed that. If you’re looking at managing stress eating disorder for yourself or someone else, here’s what you need to know to improve the situation. Let’s look at better understanding the definition of stress eating and a diet for stress management.

Why this topic is so relevant right now

The past year has been stressful for many people, especially those who have been furloughed or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in their healthy lives, individuals have been binge eating and stuffing their shelves with salty and high-fat items.

You might know someone who is distracting themselves with food, or it might be that you’re coming to terms with being in that situation yourself. Mindless and emotionless snacking while sitting on the couch and watching Netflix for the better part of the day won’t be helpful in the long run, unfortunately.

Stress eating definition

Stress eating, also defined as emotional eating, refers to ingesting food based on one’s emotions and not necessarily while you’re hungry either. Your emotions take charge and dictate how much you eat, not your body. From the definition, stress eating disorder goes against nature or conventional norms that a person only eats to sustain their body.

Stress eating disorder

According to Magnolia Creek, eating disorders are quite prevalent, impacting almost 30 million Americans annually. Children represent 1 million out of this overall figure.

The possibility of recovering from such a stress eating disorder is high, but sadly, around 10,000 people don’t make it. Therefore, stress eating disorder is a severe eating condition that negatively affects one’s health and needs attention to remedy it.

It is causing someone not to function in their everyday life. Examples of such conditions include bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.

Managing stress eating is essential if you want to maintain your overall health. Some tips suggested by nutritionists and health experts include:

  • Savoring your dish compared to just eating it
  • Slower eating
  • Coming up with healthier ways to “feed” your feelings
  • Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits

Nutritionists, as well as health experts, typically agree on the fact that a healthy diet for stress management is critical in managing stress eating. So, what does that eating plan look like?

diet for stress eating definition

Diet for stress management

Everyone has stress at one point or another in life. And some people seem to have more of it than others!

How you deal with it is what makes the difference. What you consume is one common way to deal with it.

Stress-busting foods, such as a bowl of oatmeal, can boost your serotonin levels, hence calming your brain. Put another way, that bowl of chocolate ice cream and boxes of cookies aren’t doing you any good. While you likely knew that already, now you have a physical explanation for it.

Also, including healthy options like avocados, walnuts, and eggs in your healthy diet regimen creates essential brain hormones that promote mood regulation. That process can also improve satiety and sleep, not to mention improving your energy balance.

However, it’s important to note that simple carbs like sweets and sodas can hit the spot when taken in small doses. The only downside is that the serotonin effect doesn’t last.

Nutritionists suggest that eating complex carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread is essential. It takes longer to digest, providing you with a prolonged supply of serotonin. Therefore, it would be advisable to steer clear from simple carbs like sweets.


It’s hard to figure out why people have a more difficult time dealing with their sweet tooth than others. As strange as may seem that people get comfort from food during stressful times, millions continue to be affected.

However, with proper understanding, a healthy diet for stress management, and doctor’s guidance, you can achieve a healthier path. When these different points come together, you are likely on a better journey for both the mind and body.

This post is also available in: French


  1. It’s great to see a post on this because stress eating can be a vicious cycle that leaves us feeling all the worse for it afterwards. I used to have eating disorders, including binge eating bulimia when I was younger, and stress eating remained for a long time. At times like this, perhaps all the more so when we’re at home and isolated, and as the winter draws in, stress eating can be a habit many of us fall into. xx


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