How Not Being a Stress Eater Can be Your “New Normal”

Lake Oconee Nutrition Consultants

There is no doubt that most people are experiencing more stress right now. That can lead to stress-related eating, which can lead people to becoming overweight or obese. Many people may feel they find comfort in food when the stress kicks in, but they may not have identified themselves as a true stress eater, or realized how harmful it is to their health. One doctor is on a mission to help get people to identify the pattern and take control of it once and for all.

“Who out there is not feeling the stress of worrying about what the future holds for you and your family?” explains Dr. Robert  “Bob” Posner, a world-renowned weight loss researcher and medical doctor who founded the Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program. “Most people are not overweight or obese because they lack willpower; it’s simply because of the brain’s connection to their stress feelings and how it impacts cravings. It’s all about the science involved.”

One of the first things Dr. Posner’s program does is get people to identify whether or not they are a stress eater. He asks them to get serious about such questions as if they crave carbohydrates, have low energy levels, feel sad at times and then anxious at others, and reach for the food during times of stress. Emotional eaters tend to eat when they are upset or under stress. This may start a cycle of the person feeling bad about themselves, and then eating again due to those negative feelings.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), emotional eating is when you eat food to help cope with difficult emotions. It has nothing to do with being hungry. Oftentimes, people who are emotional or stress eaters will not even realize how much they have consumed because they are taking in the calories while their mind is consumed by the stress, rather than being focused on the food. Making matters worse, the NIH also reports that the foods people reach for to help with stress are often high in fat, sugar, and salt. 

Stress eating becomes a habit for people, and after a while it can wreak havoc on their health. Dr. Posner offers several ways to help take on this issue and win, including:

  • Be mindful. Take a 5-second delay to ask yourself the question: “Why am I doing this, what benefit am I getting from this behavior, and what harm may I be doing to myself?”
  • Stock up right. Avoid having the derailing snacks and stress-related snack foods in the home in the first place. If you had to go out of the house to go buy a snack food, you may lose interest. 
  • Choose something else. Rather than grab food when there is stress, engage in stress-reducing activities, including yoga, meditation, exercise, crafts, reading, and writing. 
  • Set the stage. Skip having a scenario of distracted eating, which includes consuming bowls of popcorn, peanuts, or M&M’s while watching shows. Break the bad eating habit while watching television.
  • Protect your mind. Limit time spent watching stressful news shows. There is an abundance of bad news, and it can cause people to become stressed and filled with anxiety.

“People often try to lose weight only to lose the battle and eventually give up trying to get healthier,” adds Posner. “The truth of the matter is that they have just not been taught about weight loss and emotional eating. If they take the time to learn about it, they will be successful and they will enjoy that success for a lifetime.”

It’s important for people to understand the chemistry behind weight issues. Stress causes and increase release of cortisol and ghrelin and depletion of serotonin and leptin. Unfortunately, cortisol and ghrelin lead to increased appetite, lower satiety and therefore tend to be “bad” for weight control. Conversely, serotonin and leptin are “good” for weight control, so the depletion of these chemicals that occur with stress is “bad” for weight control.

Perhaps understanding that there are strong chemical components to “stress eating” is the first step in blocking the final component: Picking up those food and drink sources and placing them in our mouths. At the end of the day, we all can override these chemical signals to block the final behavioral component. Stress eating and the accompanying weight gain will only stress us more. Now, more than ever, weight control is of the utmost importance. Do not succumb to stress eating!

Dr. Posner created his doctor-supervised weight loss program because he believes that discipline is not the reason that people are unable to lose weight. Carbohydrate cravings are the reason people have weight problems, combined with anxiety and stress-related eating. They are all systems of physiological irregularity in the brain known as serotonin imbalance. He created the Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program based on this science, providing patients with a Food and Drug Administration-approved appetite suppressant, called phentermine, to help curb the hunger pangs. He offers a recorded webinar that people can watch:

With decades of medical experience under his belt, along with his free webinars, Dr. Posner offers telemedicine appointments, weight loss products, and more. He founded the Potomac Internal Medicine Associates primary care office in 1988, and the Serotonin-Plus, Inc. in 2002. He has helped thousands of people to successfully lose weight, and is the author of three weight loss-themed books. To learn more about him and the program, visit the site at: or

The Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program is doctor-supervised and focuses on the root cause of being overweight. Founded by Dr. Robert Posner in 2002, the program takes an approach to weight loss that considers the brain connection of serotonin imbalance. The program has helped over 20,000 patients to date. To learn more visit the website: or

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.