Stress Eating

Stress Eating (6th February 2021):

Is there a link between stress and eating?

When we are experiencing chronic, daily stress, we have different ways of coping with it. Although our friends and families are there by our side, we are often unable to find a way through our work burdens. It is then that we turn to stress eating, or sometimes even under eating for temporary relief.

Please be assured that is completely normal. Once in a while, eating for comfort is absolutely okay. Interestingly,we consume food not just for physical nourishment, but also as a response to daily experiences and emotions. And it certainly becomes troublesome as you are experiencing a compulsion to turn to food for comfort. This is ‘stress eating’.

The impulses that leads to stress eating are sometimes so strong and frequent that it becomes difficult to ignore them. Thus, stress eating can have unpleasant outcomes on our health and overall well-being.

So, how to figure out when or whether you are stress eating? And, how to keep it under control?

Under stressful situations, our body releases cortisol, the stress hormone, which can increase our appetite and our physical cravings for carbohydrates. This means, our minds won’t be at ease unless we can munch upon certain sugary food items like chocolates and cakes. Sugar in its turnreleases dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ chemical that activates the pleasure centres of our brain. This is the stress to pleasure cycle that helps relaxing during stress but affects general well-being.

But this solution is merely short term and harms in the long term.

So how to prevent stress eating:

Become aware of your stress levels, and signs of stress in the body like

  1. Headaches
  2. Indigestion
  3. and disrupted sleep patterns.

Pause and ask yourself what’s making you want to eat? Is it a part of your daily diet schedule or a response to what is around you? Can you withstand your hunger?

  1. Try using a journal to work out on your stressful thoughts. There you can possibly take note of the causes of stress, as well as your physical and emotional responses, or reactions to it in order to make you feel better.
  2. Always have a stress-relieving practice to turn to. 

The easy three:

  1. Three minutes of deep breathing before sitting down for work.
  2. Getting a hot bath with essential oils.
  • You can even go for a thirty-minute brisk walk outside…

Whichever stress-combating practice suits you, make sure to incorporate it in your daily schedule! Getting started is all what you need.

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