Here are our proven tips on how to stop stress eating for women over forty.

We frequently work with busy, professional women over forty. Something we see often with clients is people rewarding themselves with stress eating after a busy day of work. And it’s easy to see why.

When you’re managing a team of people, in back-to-back meetings and facing the stress of reporting to company directors, it can be easy for stress to become overwhelming. This can easily push people to reward themselves with food via stress eating as a pick me up after work.

For some people, this tends to happen during the week. They find themselves slumped in front of the TV after work, maybe even still answering emails, and filling up on chocolate, crisps and treats.

For others, they can keep their eating under control during the week, but as soon as they hit the weekend, they overindulge on unhealthy treats. Over time, both these patterns of rewarding yourself with food will lead to gaining weight. This isn’t easy when you’re already facing the physical and hormonal changes which make it easier for women over forty to gain weight.

This can quickly lead to your weight spiralling out of control! This leaves many women struggling to fit into their clothes, and choosing what to wear based on covering ‘problem areas’ rather than wearing things they like. Sometimes, then the stress eating becomes worse.

So, in our recent podcast, we reveal the top strategies we’ve used to help thousands of women over forty to break the pattern of rewarding themselves with food via stress eating. You can use these tips to get your eating under control, shrink your waistline and feel amazing wearing anything you like!

Break the pattern: Make unhealthy food hard to access

Most people think that if they just had a bit more more willpower, then they’d be able to say “no” to unhealthy food and drink. But this isn’t the case.

Here’s the reality, willpower only works when someone’s life is stress-free and they’re feeling full of energy. Your decision making ability is like your phone battery; the more decisions you make, the more you deplete it. Eventually, it runs out completely and the phone no longer works!

At this point, your willpower will be zero, and it will be nearly impossible to resist having a treat. Therefore, we recommend you don’t rely on willpower – it does not work.

Even TRINITY founders, Rob & Ben, who have been coaching people to lose weight for almost a decade, admit that they can’t resist chocolates or a slice of cake if it’s in the cupboard after a long day of work!

Instead, we recommend you focus on something that’s 100% reliable; setting up your environment for success. We do this ourselves and with our clients using a process called the Cupboard Cleanse. Here are some easy ways to do this:

  • Get rid of all tempting foods, either give them away or bin them.
  • Put kids foods in a lockbox (£30 from Amazon)
  • Get rid of takeaway apps and menus
  • Order a healthy shop!

This is something we do with all our 1-1 clients to kickstart their progress, and many lose 3-5lbs in the first week alone!

Focus on eating proper meals, NOT sugar and snacks for stress eating

The least filling types of foods are those that have very little nutritious value. This includes foods that are made up of simple refined carbohydrates and very little protein, such as biscuits, crisps, cakes, chocolates, cereal, sweets or pastry – basically anything beige!

Eating food like this is like pouring petrol on a fire; there’s a huge burst of energy that lasts a short moment, then the fire is back to where it was – needing more fuel to keep it going.

This leads to huge energy crashes, and can make it very hard to resist treats in the evening after a stressful day of work.

The most filling combination of food is when you combine fiber and protein – this is because both fiber and protein take a long time to digest in our gut. They slowly and steadily release energy and keep us full for hours afterwards.

This would look like eating lots of vegetables along with meat, fish or a veggie protein source like Quorn, tofu, eggs, low fat cheese or quinoa.

Complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice and oats are also very filling as they also digest slowly!

Eating foods like this, ideally 3 meals a day, is like putting a large log on a fire – it burns and releases a constant stream of energy for hours afterwards, and means it will avoid you being so hungry and tempted!

Always have some healthy options pre-prepared and ready to go

Work is unpredictable. Something could come up that throws your plans to cook a healthy meal out the window. In this scenario, if you have nothing healthy available, it’s very easy to turn to a takeaway or comfort food as a reward. You might end up ordering a chinese, Indian or a pizza that most likely contains more than your entire recommended food intake to lose weight in just one meal.

What works much better is to either:

  • Batch cook a load of food once or twice a week, so that you always have some healthy meals to hand
  • Cook an extra portion every time you do cook and put it in a tupperware for a night where you’ll be too busy to cook
  • Have a few low-calorie ready meals to hand – M&S, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s low calorie ranges tend to taste the best

Check the label on these, as some of the ‘home-cooked’ fancy labels look nice, but they can be up to almost 1000 calories per portion – which isn’t going to help with losing weight.

Challenge your thought processes

After a stressful week of work it’s very common to think:

  • “I deserve a treat”
  • “I’ll just have one”
  • “One more won’t hurt”
  • “Sod it, I’ll start again tomorrow”

For most people we work with, they’ve had these thoughts so many times it becomes an almost automatic process. As soon as they start thinking the thoughts, they’re opening the bag of crisps, reaching for the wine and chocolate or on the phone to the local takeaway.

However, it is possible to rewire the way you think to break these destructive thought patterns.

We do this inside our programs, using a tool called the Thought Transformer, and it enables our clients to see the effects of these thought patterns more clearly and to change the thought process in their heads. This way, they can make better decisions, even when stressed, and therefore lose more weight.

An example of this would be, instead of “I deserve a treat,” they might transform that into “I deserve a treat, but it doesn’t have to be with food” and instead they’ll run themselves a bubble bath and read a book!

Get some accountability

Clients tell us all the time how they nearly caved, but because they knew they’d be speaking to us on the phone the next day, they’d pull through and say no. It’s very easy to fail alone!

When you have a tough week at work and it’s cold and dark and you just want to comfort eat and drink a bottle of wine, what happens?

If you have no one to answer to, then most likely, you turn back to the old habit, undo the hard work from the week and you’re back at square one…

Every week we have catch up calls with clients, and they tell us that they still stuck to it all, even when things were really stressful, because they knew they’d have to report to us on how the week had gone. It’s like having a boss and knowing you’ve got to report what work you’ve done to them. It means you show up and get the work done, even if you didn’t feel like it some days!

If you’d like to hear more about how working with Trinity can help you lose 1-2 dress sizes in just 12 weeks, you can find out more here!