Stress eating is when you overeat or eat unhealthy foods as a result of stress. 2020 is the year of the upcoming election which means there will be a jam-packed schedule of primaries, conventions, and debates leading up to November 3rd. If you do not control your emotional eating, you could be dealing with serious weight gain and health consequences.

Upcoming Election and Stress Eating

A Stress in American poll from 2019 said that 56% of American adults felt like the upcoming election was a stressor to them which went up 4% from 2016. The food tracking app Lose It! reported that 3.6% of calories were consumed on Election Day more than any other Tuesday. In November 2018 during midterm elections, YouGov polled that Democrats were 50% more likely than Republicans to eat their emotions because of election stress. Election season can be very stress-inducing since even though you have control when you place your vote, you have no idea what the results will be. By eating your stress away, you feel like you are getting a sense of control back.

How to Manage Election-Related Emotional Eating

You may immediately feel the need to run to a fast food place or pick up a snack when you watch the election news or see voting signs as you drive past them. Foods laced with high fat and sugar can lead to unhealthy digestion over time. Clinical psychologist Jen Bateman believes that everyone should dedicate 20 minutes of “me time” every day and amuse themselves with podcasts, phone calls, reading a book, or anything else that makes you happy. Do any of these activities when you are thinking about food in order to break the vicious cycle.

Clinical psychologist Susan Albers believes that you should calm the body with deep breathing or yoga. If you feel like you need to watch the news about the election, do not start in the morning as you will be in a negative mood all day. Albers also recommends eating mandarins if you are craving something sweet since they are low in calories and the smell can be soothing. Look for foods high in fiber and protein-based foods. Just make sure that you do not avoid food altogether as this can make you feel sluggish and irritable. It is important to control what is in your hands, including the food you put in your mouth.

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