A friend of mine recently posted: “When I was in Costco, a woman in line shared with me, as she threw a mess of potato and tortilla chips onto the conveyor, that she was emotionally eating because of the election. Then when I popped into Whole Foods, a woman impulsively grabbed two bags of cookies near the checkout and said to her husband, “So I can watch the news!” He told her to grab another bag. I knew at this moment that I was not alone in my Election Emotional Eating.
Has this election caused you to gain weight, too?
I’ve been snapping at my kids while digging into their Halloween candy buckets in a misguided effort to soothe my election worries. The polls freak me out. People I love post hateful, alarming things on social media, filling me with anxiety and sadness and stress. My stomach is constantly upset from worry, yet that hasn’t stopped me from eating things I know I shouldn’t.
According to , “Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.” During this election, I’ve seen non-drinkers post photos of empty wine glasses. A friend of mine who is an avid Weight Watchers follower posted a photo of an empty carton of ice cream with a spoon in it saying election stress caused her binge. Friends have admitted to binging on chocolate chips, stale crackers they didn’t like and stuffing their faces with kettle corn, trying convince themselves it’s healthy because “it’s a vegetable.”
You are not alone.
Writer Joelle Wisler of says in regards to the election, “I’m anxious, I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing, I’m snapping at my family more, I feel my blood pressure rise every time I turn on the radio or computer, and I keep baking cookies that I pretend are for my children.”
And perusing Twitter led to me these fellow stress-eaters:
@mopicklet: Thank God the election is almost here because I’m running out of fat clothes #grateful for J. Jill
@theladybeav: Don’t think my stretchy pants will survive the frantic ‘sprint-to-the-finish’ strategy my stress-eating has adopted at this point. #Election
@emilymcdowell: Would like to see data on our nation’s collective weight gain due to election-related stress eating. *shoves another mini KitKat in mouth*
@crazyauntpurl: The stress of this election is making me crazy. And chubby. And maybe a wino. I made wine slushees last Sunday.
@gretchen_scott: The Election 15. Like the Freshman 15 but from stress-eating because of this nightmare.
@alisonwillmore: “Stress eating” pulling way ahead of “constant nausea” in personal poll of how I’ve been expressing anxiety.
@svershbow: There’s a girl scout cookie sale at my office on November 8th. I’ve got to imagine this was pre-planned for election day stress eating.
@carolinetc: I’m stress-eating Halloween candy and reading murder mysteries, so I guess the election must be soon.
@jackiebateman: I’m stress eating stale Goldfish. I’ve hit election season rock bottom. Send help.
@jacktame: The polls may go up and down but the election’s impact on my stress eating is non-partisan.
@meeks_thomasina: Rather than drinking myself into a stupor I’m eating myself into a chocolate hangover with this untenable election…
@DavidLeftwich68: When the election is over, I think I need to spend a month drinking kale juice & meditating on pictures of cute puppies.
@eiratansey: “I survived the 2016 election and all I got to show for it was an extra 10 pounds from stress eating.”
What are healthier ways to deal with election stress?
I could tell you all these things you already know:
- Stop obsessively checking the polls.
- Get off of social media.
- Hide your Facebook friends whose posts upset you.
- Go to the gym.
- Distract yourself with activities that will keep you busy.
But the truth is, this is a time of very high anxiety and stress and you just have to remind yourself it’s almost over. And take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.
What foods have you been stress eating because of the election?