School is in full swing, the workload is pilin’ up, which means one thing: STRESS!
I used to be an emotional eater. In a tough situation, I would automatically turn to food without truly evaluating how I was really feeling. When I was stressed about an assignment or a huge exam, I would freeze and turn to food as an escape. I later found out I was doing this to raise my serotonin levels, which are the hormones in your brain that make you happy.
Think: chocolate and carbs. I would spend 30 minutes binging and over eating on anything sweet I could get my hands on, and then spend another 45 minutes totally beating myself up over what I just did. Those feelings of being a failure would seep into my studies and, the night was over because I was emotionally drained. But the truth of the matter is that I probably was not hungry, I just needed to take a deep breath and a short break because school -work is HARD and us students put so much pressure on ourselves.
School is only one high stress occasion that can trigger emotional eating, and in the future, we will talk about other situations that can have you wanting to jump into the candy jar and hide your emotions. I can proudly, confidently, and happily-tearfully announce that I have kicked my emotional eating habits to the curb. I still have moments where I over eat, because I am human being and sometimes the only cure is dark chocolate because econ is hard. However, there is a difference between over-eating and binging (again something we will talk about at a later date) and I have vowed to myself that I will never binge again in my life. SOOOO, I have found other outlets that have nothing to do with food, and that have made me so much stronger in times of weakness, low blood sugar, and sttreeesssssssssss.
If you need a break and just cannot look at your textbook anymore, here are a few tricks that will make your study break feel decadent but without any food!
- Call an old friend. I like to call my camp friends. Tell them about that cute boy from last night, and get filled in on what’s new with them. Or call a family member and tell them about your day. Just the sound of a loved one is soothing.
- Like I said, I would waste 45 minutes eating. I could have been watching an indulgent 30 min episode of friends, or Empire. ( If you don’t watch Empire, I suggest you begin. And then we can talk about Cookie #GirlCrush #GirlPower #YoureSoBeautiful ) Laugh the stress off, let your mind digest the 4 hours of studying you have just completed, then go back to work.
- Use whitening strips. Your mouth is literally out of commission. Knowing you can’t chew anything will make the fake desire to want food go away completely. And you are removing coffee stains from your teeth. Fabulous.
- I always turn to peppermint. Peppermint is known to have a calming effect so I chomp on gum or quickly brew some tea and it has changed my life. I used to read articles and it would say “smell peppermint, sniff fennel to relax” and I would think to myself, “I am in College Park right now, where the F am I getting FENNEL TO SNIFF?” Simply brewing a cup of Twining’s peppermint tea and sipping/cupping a hot beverage has done wonders to my Ari Gold like stress episodes.
This post is meant to guide you through times when you ate an hour ago and you are truly NOT hungry. I used to come up with these excuses like, I need the energy, I need to munch! And that’s TOTALLY VALID. Your brain needs food and carbohydrates for energy in order to sustain a long study session but you need to dig deep. Did you eat dinner an hour ago? Was your meal nutritious and included protein fiber and healthy fats? Genuinely see if its true hunger. If it is, honor it and EAT something. Check out my top choices for the best study snacks that will energize you, motivate you, and keep you in your skinny jeans.
It’s all happening!!! Xoxo, Rachel
Rachel Brief is a student at University of Maryland, and a food and nutrition advisor to SFTL. To learn more about Rachel, watch her video! Don’t miss a minute of She’s Fit to Lead. Click [here] to subscribe today.