Clinical Science Ph.D. student shares tips on stress eating on the news

July 17, 2023 - Shelly DeJong


Fox 26 Houston invited Clinical Science Ph.D. student Megan Mikhail to share tips on how to cope with stress eating. Mikhail discussed how to know when you may be eating due to stress and what kind of stress triggers this type of eating. 

Mikhail also discussed the shame that can come with stress eating. 

“People can have a lot of guilt or shame around stress eating and it can actually kind of amplify the problem. If people are stress eating or turning to food, it's really understandable. Everyone does that at some point in their life,” said Mikhail. “So, I think that self-compassion is really important. If you're going to that as your coping strategy, it might be because you're feeling really overwhelmed and you don't have other kinds of strategies. But in the long term, the ideal is to develop other kinds of coping mechanisms.” 

Mikhail went on to say that the long-term ideal would be to develop other coping mechanisms so that stress eating isn’t the only strategy they have to turn to.  

“Talking to someone can be really helpful,” said Mikhail. “That can be a therapist, or even through online therapy these days, which is really convenient for a lot of people. There are treatments to help with this to help people develop those coping strategies or to think differently or relate to food differently. But it can even be helpful just to talk to a friend or family member to break that cycle of shame, and to practice things like awareness of emotions and awareness of hunger cues.” 

Mikhail recommended trying self-care activities when you notice that you’re feeling stressed. Things like taking a nap or gentle walking can help when stress arises.  

Mikhail, a member of Dr. Kelly Klump’s lab, researches the links between socioeconomic disadvantage and the development of eating disorders. This work earned the 2022 College of Social Science Graduate Student Researcher award. Mikhail also works to address common misconceptions about eating disorders.  


Watch the full interview here