Why Meeting Core Needs is Essential to Stop Mindless Stress Eating

If you regularly find yourself mindlessly eating to get through the stressful days, then you are going to want to read on.  

Does this feel familiar? It’s been a hectic day. Work was super stressful and the kids are upset because you thought it was soccer day when it was piano lessons day. So you didn’t bring the soccer bag. Everyone is frustrated and whining. 

Then you spent the hour of piano lessons shopping because your spouse had to work late again on their night to cook. Once you cooked that meal for your starving pianists, during which you took a call from your best friend who’s on their third terrible date this week, your spouse finally gets home and eats quickly and silently before declaring exhaustion and citing the need to get up early to finish the project. 

Once the little ones are in bed, you look around, seeing what a mess the house is. Then it happens. While you’re methodically and perhaps a little grudgingly cleaning up, you find yourself dipping into tonight’s leftovers and finishing what was left in the pot.  

You start taking handfuls of chocolate chips as you clean up from the day. The clean-up goes quicker when you’re snacking, after all, and by the time the kitchen’s spotless, the stash is, too.

At this point I’m sure there’s some frustration and some shame too. “Did I really eat all my dinner and then all of those chocolate chips? How did I let myself do that again? I’m such a failure.” 

When we mindlessly eat like that, it’s a way to meet our needs; needs that we may not even realize we have. All that care and attention we lavish on our families and friends we oftentimes feel like we don’t get in return. So we get the chocolate chips to give us a little love. 

Undoubtedly you’ve heard of self-care and maybe even had some success in implementing an occasional long hot soak, spa day, nail painting or whatever it is that self-care looks like for you. But how often does it happen? 

Take a moment. How many times did you carve out time just for yourself this week to make sure you are really meeting your core needs? What about the last month? Now take a moment to reflect on the number of times this kind of mindless comfort eating happened, and when. Did you feel the urge to eat more when your needs weren’t being met?

The key to stopping the mindless eating comes through slow and steady behavior change. It absolutely works and the how is simple. It’s the same way the children in your life are learning how to play an instrument or a team sport: practice.

I can hear you say: “Okay, but practice takes focus and I’m so busy that I can’t even focus on myself for two seconds!”

I get it. Life is so full! Change takes effort and you don’t want to let anyone down. But let me ask you this: how can you meet the needs of others without putting on your own oxygen mask first? You might be able to for a while, but eventually exhaustion will set in, and so will the mindless eating.  

By focusing on yourself and taking care of your own needs, you will find that you are more readily able to help others. 

It’s time to start meeting your core needs now. Taking time to make sure you are taken care of the way you take care of everyone else is essential if you want to build the foundation to stop the unwanted eating.  

Want to keep learning with me and take these teachings even deeper? Make sure you get the invitation for each week’s Food Freedom Mini Class by signing up here.