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You just got home from work and after having been stuck in traffic for quite a while, you need something to calm down your nerves; how about chocolate? Or, better still, you've been doing laundry, it's almost midnight - but your brain and stomach demand some chips, or ice cream, or that yummy apple pie that's been in the fridge for a couple days already. Recognize the stress eating desires?No reason to give you more excuses to run to the pantry, you got the idea. Studies have shown that the brain's reaction to high levels of stress is to demand high-energy foods, which tend to diminish anxiety levels. But don't despair just yet, there are ways around this stress eating that has been adding pounds to your body - and towards better dieting habits.Keep your cravings under control:Avoid the foods that you know are bad for you. So next time you make your grocery shopping list, forget about pretzels and chips. How about stocking on fresh fruit or frozen vegetables instead? This way, next time you feel like "chewing" something, you'll have healthier dieting options available and none of those fat-engorged snacks.Remember to hydrate yourself:Drink water, tea and fruit juices instead of carbonated drinks, but also include light soups in your meals. By maintaining the right amount of liquid in your body, throughout the day, you'll feel more rested and won't think as much about something sugary to "pass the time". Keep some yogurt handy, both at home and at work, so that you can have a semi-liquid snack ready for those times when you feel that you can't wait until the next meal.Watch what you eat:Eat slowly and try to pay attention to your food while you eat it. Don't type away an e-mail to your boss during your lunch, instead think that the beans that you're eating will improve your digestion and that piece of chicken breast will ensure that you have the right amount of protein to keep you going till the end of your work day. By concentrating on what you eat and the taste of your food, you reduce the need for stress eating between meals.Have a balanced diet:Plan your meals so that they include all the food categories that will keep you healthy and energetic through dieting, while getting all the vitamins and minerals to fulfill your body's needs.Set a schedule - and keep it:Spend couple weeks taking note of the times of day when you get hungry, then create a plan to help you with dieting. Make sure to include times for fruit or vegetable snacks between meals, and try to stick close to those hours when you scheduled eating. This way, you'll adapt psychologically to getting hungry around the times when a meal is "programmed", while decreasing the stress eating throughout the day.Remember that you can control your stress cravings if you consciously think about eating, instead of grabbing whatever your stomach - or your brain - dictates. You get energy from food. Why not carefully analyze your intake and feel better? This article is made possible by Argosy University.
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