ETX nutritionist offers tips on how to conquer stress eating

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Work, children, relationships and money, just a few things that tend to build up in women's lives.

"Our stress levels can really get out of sight and it can leave our health on the back burner," Amy McLeod, RD, LD, Healthy Living Spokesperson.

Nutrition experts are monitoring how stress eating causes excessive cravings.

First Bank and Trust assistant Vice President Ashley Cole says there's never enough time to finish everything in her schedule.

For her, eating food becomes a stress reliever, rather than satisfying her appetite.

"The dopamine of those hormones kicks in that is seeking that reward because when you're stressed you're like I want to feel better right now," said McLeod.

Nutritionist Amy McLeod says women often seek fried, fatty foods and indulge in sweets to cope.

"I love my sweets and I eat a lot of chocolate so I obviously go to my sweets when I'm stressed out," said Cole.

Experts suggest exchanging what tastes good with what's good for you.

"If we can make a few healthier choice we do feel better and we do minimize our cravings," said McLeod.

A concept called mindful eating also helps to reduce cravings by slowing down and enjoying the meal, it minimizes over-eating.

"Taking the time to really savor every bite and enjoy and you get a little more reward," said McLeod.

It's something Cole wants to incorporate into her daily routine.

"Slow down, watch what I eat and really think about why I'm eating," said Cole.

Choosing food that is pleasing and nourishing will keep comfort foods from becoming part of the problem.

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