Junk Food Junkie


Dear Dharma,

I get stressed out at work and often reward myself for completing another day by eating junk food (ice cream, candy, chocolate, donuts etc).

What’s worse is that my office has junk food in every corner and going down to the mail room can be as dangerous as a cupcake and a couple of Ferrero Rochers!

Do you have any tips to help stop the binging?  I generally leave really early for work and don’t have time to prep the night before.  I’m trying to be strong and pragmatic with my approach, but I lose all my control when I see something delicious and tempting!!

Any tips would be wonderful!

So Hungry

Dear Hungry,

So the first thing I did, cuz it’s what I do, is I googled “eating emotions” and this is where I landed – Emotional Eating Helpguide.

And the main thing that jumped out at me was this:

Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? It’s not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, it leads to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.

Sound about right?  There’s lots of good info on this site, so take a few minutes while you munch away and check it out.

You say you reward yourself for completing another day by eating ice cream, candy, etc… I’m guessing you are purposely going out and buying these things then?  If so, that’s very different than giving into temptation when you see junk food around the office.

Going to the grocery store, choosing these items, putting them in your basket, and walking them to the register – these are all choices, non?  You can’t really blame that on not having enough time to properly shop and make real food.  It’s just as quick to buy snap peas and grapes as it is to buy donuts.

The first thing I would do is make a list (yup, there’s always a list somewhere to be made!) of all the foods I would be happy eating that aren’t terrible for me.  The second things I would do is fill up my house and my office with them.  Nuts, cherry tomatoes, carrots, low cal snack bars, protein bars, the already mentioned snap peas and grapes, pretzels, almond butter, strawberries, turkey pepperoni, low-ish fat cheese.  All of these things require very little, if any, prep, and are easy to bring to work.

If you’re going to overeat out of stress, then probably better to fill up on things like this than the things you are currently indulging in, right?  And you don’t have to eat these things 100% of the time.  How great would it be if you replaced even 50 – 60% of the junk food with healthier options…

And speaking of the stress, and lack of time, is there anything you can do to get a handle on that?  Without knowing your situation, it’s difficult to offer suggestions, but maybe put some thought into any solutions that might exist to ease your load both at work and socially.

The fact that you took the time to send in this question tells me you are ready to make some changes, so hopefully this is a good starting point for you.  It’s time to take your “strong and pragmatic approach” and put your money where your Oreo currently is! (especially those Golden Oreos – seriously, so good! Sorry… not helpful…)

If anyone else has suggestions to help Hungry out, please feel free to chime in below by leaving a comment.



Got a question for Dharma? She’s probably got an answer!

Go on, submit your question in the contact form on the toolbar. You know you want to! To submit anonymously, just make up a fake name and email – as long as the fields are populated, it works!

Like Dharma on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askdeardharma

Categories: Uncategorized


  • cutekitty411 says:

    You forgot a really important one – water. an excellent way to keep full…

  • Anonymous says:

    I take a bottle of water with me everywhere and it really helps me figure out if I’m actually hungry or just bored/tempted by junk food!!

  • AlwaysHungry2 says:

    Try changing the way you talk inside your head. Instead of mmmm I want that, try “I don’t eat food like that”. At first you’ll be haha yeah right, but keep saying it – they say it takes 7 days to change habits, so maybe make that your first step. Good luck!

  • Chill Will says:

    maybe most are missing the obvious solution, if stress is making you overeat, then yes, changing what you are bingeing on is a positive step, but how about decreasing stress? Mitigating the symptom is fine, but for a real “fix” then you need to decompress. Workwise this means maybe learning to better manage your time, or to prioritize what is really important vs what can be kicked down the road, or even delegating those tasks that others can or even should be doing.

    Personal time wise, don’t feel like you need to be doing something every minute, some of life’s wonders can be enjoyed at a very low key level!

    • Yeah Right says:

      In a perfect world this would work! Unfortunately very few of us live in that world! Some jobs are just stressful no matter what. Maybe you should look into a less stressful job? After all, your life shouldn’t be consumed by work. Find something you love!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey, this sounds like my house/office! haha

    Who’s spying on me?

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

%d bloggers like this: