Stress + Eating + Work Doesn’t have to be a Perfect Storm

If you are stressed, and you are eating, are you stress eating?

Stress eating is a common problem that affects many people, especially those who spend a significant amount of time at work. According to recent statistics, an estimated 70% of meals are consumed at work, which can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health, as well as productivity and overall well-being.  So, if you have a stressful job, and you have to eat while you are at work, how can you avoid stress eating?

Step One: Choose the Right Foods

Consuming high-calorie, high-fat foods in response to stress can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, consuming large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

How do you know what foods will support your mind and body during stressful work days?  It’s helpful to think of foods falling into 5 tiers, or levels of health.  Making the most of your meal times by choosing food mostly in the higher 4 & 5 tiers will be supportive, foods in the bottom tiers will cause you to crash and burn. 

Step Two: Give your Brain a Break

Stress eating can also negatively impact productivity at work. Consuming unhealthy foods can lead to feelings of fatigue, brain fog, and lack of focus, making it difficult to perform tasks effectively. Additionally, stress eating can lead to a lack of motivation and a general sense of apathy, which can impede productivity and make it difficult to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

When you are needing to refuel, step away from your desk.  Sit by a window, go outside, or to the break room if it is a comfortable, stress-free environment.  Eat with mindfulness, focusing on the taste, chewing slowly, and savoring the flavors. Take this time to do some gentle movement, deep breathing, or quiet meditation

Step Three: Take it to the Top

Not only does stress eating affect the individual, but it also affects the company’s bottom line. Poor health and productivity can lead to increased absenteeism, higher healthcare costs, and a decrease in overall productivity. This can have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line and its ability to meet its business objectives.  Giving your leadership honest feedback on how they can improve the work environment may just be the missing link. 

Here are some essentials:

Clean, bright, cheerful break rooms with nutritious foods attractively displayed.

Employee input on what foods they would like to have available in vending machines for quick grabs and around the coffee pot for energizing breaks.

Tools to make it easier to manage the budget and demand.

In conclusion, stress eating is a common problem that affects many people at work, and it can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health, as well as productivity and overall well-being. To combat the effects of stress eating, it is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, to have access to healthy food options in the workplace, and to take regular breaks throughout the day. This will not only improve the health and productivity of the individual but also the company’s bottom line.