Written by Jenn Hand, Holistic Nutritionist, Board Certified Health Coach, NBC-HWC, Emotional Eating Coach

Work can be a big emotional eating trigger for many women.

In my very first office job, my coworker next door had a candy dish filled with Hershey’s Kisses.

I would raid her candy dish daily when I was stressed, bored, or frustrated with something at work.

Later, I would regret eating the candy, get mad at myself for eating too many, and feel guilty that I kept eating her candy in secret. So, what’s the solution for getting through the day without emotional eating at work? 

Here are 5 tips that have helped both me and my clients: 

Many people get caught up in emails, deadlines, projects, or focus on the classroom students’ or patients’ needs and go many hours without eating.

This causes our blood sugar to drop, so when we do have a strong emotion take hold, we immediately turn to food (because we need fuel AND we’re emotional.) Make sure you’re eating regularly throughout the day so you don’t get a drastic blood sugar drop and are more likely to eat emotionally. 

When I struggled with bingeing and emotional eating, I would make sure I took a lunch every day for 20 minutes to recenter myself.

I would even journal if I felt like I was having a very intense day emotionally. Whether it’s deep breathing, a mindfulness exercise, a quick journal, or a walk outside, it can be very helpful to create some time to tune into yourself to get a sense of your internal landscape. 

Sometimes, at work, we may feel a heightened emotion that we just can’t deal with at the moment.

See if you can give yourself permission to “box it up” to deal with after work. This can give you an “answer” on what to do when you’re feeling something but aren’t able to look at it more deeply because you have meetings or are otherwise busy with work. Come back to it later to explore the feeling to let it process and move through you. 

Assess your work landscape to see what triggers you to eat so you can create a plan to deal with them.

Is it a person? A certain time of day? Is it a lack of structure or boundaries if you work remotely? Explore who or what triggers you so you can come up with a game plan at the moment on how you’ll move through it without turning to food. 

Plan on integrating activities that de-stress you during your work week and on the weekends.

What do you find pleasurable and fun? What helps you relax? What would feel like a soothing, nourishing activity to help you let off some steam? Plan to incorporate a few of these things into your life so you can begin managing your work stress.  

 Take some time to yourself during the day.

Common Question

What healthy snacks can I keep at my workplace to prevent emotional eating?

Some great snacks to keep at work include nut butter and fruit, greek yogurt, protein bars with 12 grams of protein or more and hard-boiled eggs.

How do I deal with workplace triggers that lead to emotional eating?

Have a post-it note on your desk or computer that has 3-5 “things to do instead of eat.” I used to journal, go outside, 3 deep breaths and smell essential oils on my own notes to help remind me that I could do something else besides turn to food. 

What steps can I take to create a supportive work environment for my eating habits?

I’m a big advocate of setting up your environment for success! Keep your work area treat-free (so there are no temptations), have a clutter-free desk, and set reminders to help you pause to breathe or move throughout the day. 

Read More:

🌷3 Things To Know About Emotional Eating

🌷How To Stop Binge Eating After Work

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About the Author: 

Jenn Hand has been helping women like you become normal eaters since 2015.

She’s worked with thousands of women, helping them to balance their bodies, end bingeing, stop obsessing over food, and start feeling amazing again.  As a board-certified health coach and holistic nutritionist, Jenn knows how to support you in making real positive changes that last.

Her articles have been published on Mind Body Green, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and other local and global media platforms. She’s the author of How to Be a Normal Eater and the creator of The Normal Eater’s Club program. Listen to Jenn’s advice and tips on the Cake Doesn’t Count Podcast, or read more of her articles for free on the Food Freedom Blog.

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