How you stop binge-eating when stressed [Press Interview]

By March 11, 2024March 20th, 2024No Comments

If you are a high-achiever facing stress or uncertainty, you might also eat too much, too fast and “the junk”. The newspaper Die Presse interviewed me on “How to stop binge-eating when stressed“.

Obviously, I’m neither a health-expert nor a nutritionist. Yet, I know how our brain sabotages ourselves every day starting unwanted habits. Discover a 3-step habit recipe to help you nail binge-eating (German article here, English below).

What’s one learning you take away? Share any time.

Thanks to Eva Winroither for this curious morning conversation we had, being a messenger for healthy habits herself.


Life Hack
By Eva Winroither

How to stick to your fasting goal

Fruit instead of chocolate? You can do it, but it often doesn’t satisfy the feeling you want to cover up with it.

Lent is here and the resolutions are so good: no chocolate, no chips, no alcohol, whatever you decide to do. You yourself are motivated, only part of your brain is not playing along. Habit Coach Eva Gruber explains why.

The resolution was great: no sweets for 40 days during Lent. The soul learns to do without and sugar-free is also good for the body. If it weren’t for the inner bastard or whatever you call the dark part of the brain that makes you sabotage yourself. Stress eating during Lent? Many people know that. But how else are you supposed to endure a high-performance job and a stressful family life? Sometimes you just have to be kind to yourself, right? And just like that, the good intentions are thrown overboard. Tomorrow then, you make up your mind. Only to fail again.

Vienna-based Eva Gruber also knows this problem. However, with her customers. She is a Habit Coach and guids people (often managers) to develop new (healthy) habits and stop self-sabotage. And as is so often the case, it’s about exploring the causes. When it comes to stress eating, she says, “You have to think about when it actually starts. Often it is a negative emotion.” This means we reach for a bag of gummy bears, a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine because we want to cover up negative feelings.

Negative emotions as a cause

Behind this is often fear as the opposite of love, but fear also has “many siblings”, such as shame, guilt, anger, anger, doubt, insecurity, says Gruber. One of her clients always grabbed a bag of chips in the office. Through emotional “detective work,” Gruber and the client finally discovered that the woman always reached for the chips when she had a bad conscience about her children. “She felt guilty because she knew that if she didn’t work fast enough, then she would have less quality time with her children afterwards.” Whenever the feelings of guilt flared up, the drawer with chips in the office opened.

Recognizing this cause is the key to preventing stress eating, says Gruber. “You really have to be curious and an explorer.” It seems as if she was deliberately formulating this in a positive way. It should be fun to get to know yourself.

Exercises to break the stress

Once you have identified the root cause, it is all about interrupting this negative stressful situation. Gruber recommends a “mental exercise” to neutralize stress in the brain. Like taking a micro-break. Sit down and breathe deeply into your stomach. Or just go to the window. Or, if you’re tired, close your eyes for a moment.

In the third step, a self-empathy exercise is recommended. Basically saying to yourself: “I am on the way to being the person I want to be”. All of this serves to reprogram the brain and reduce negative stress through new behaviors.

The customer took a micro-break, stretched herself, and thus interrupted the chips cycle. Of course, only after she understood what triggered her desire. Then she could stop sabotaging herself.


Reach out to me any time!