We all know the effect food has on our mental state when we’re anxious or sad, food “comforts” us and helps to get through. But let’s not forget about the side effects of stress eating. Emotional food consumption becomes a problem quite quickly. We made a shortlist of tips on how to consciously deal with emotional eating.
Why do we stress eat
When we are nervous, the brain puts the body in a state of emergency, forcing it to work at times more intense than usual. This leads to the fact that energy reserves are depleted much faster than in the usual state, and the body, among other things, has to compensate for its costs in double the amount. To cope with this task, the brain increases the production of cortisol, which increases appetite, thus motivating us to snack more often and in large quantities.
In difficult times, we with particular pleasure lean on “tasty” (sweet and fatty) food. Physiologically, these foods are more “beneficial” under stress because they are nutritious and loaded with glucose, which doesn’t take much effort to process. When large amounts of sugar enter the bloodstream, the hormone insulin, which regulates glucose levels, increases, and when combined with cortisol, it can fight off stress. However, you should not reassure yourself that the body is able to cope with stress on its own. If you do not provide him with proper support, we run the risk of providing ourselves with a violation of hormonal regulation, the development of diabetes, and other diseases.
The physiological need is not the only thing that changes our diet and taste habits during stress: the defense mechanisms of the psyche also affect the choice of dishes when we feel bad. It seems that junk food, which in normal conditions we try to bypass, will help smooth out the depression, encourage and cheer us up – in the end, it’s time to allow yourself to relax even for a minute. There is nothing wrong with the desire to reward yourself with a delicious, albeit not the most useful, lunch, but it is important that such a decision be made consciously. The effects of stress – prolonged physical exertion coupled with mental exhaustion – deprive us of our discretion and reduce our control over our actions. In such a state, the idea of measure is often lost. When we wake up, we find that we eat not because we are hungry and get pleasure from food, but in order to take up, the freed up time or soothe anxiety in this way.
Do you know exactly what stresses you out?
It may not sound relevant at first, but to achieve the most in your fight with stress eating, or any stress actually, is identifying the source of it. Take some time and find out what exactly makes you anxious. Is it relationships? Maybe your job? Your friends? Believe it or not, pointing out what bothers you will go a long way in your physical and mental health.
Ease the problem in little steps
Did you find what leads you to eat more? Good, now think about the little steps to take to relieve that stress other than eating. Think about sport, hobbies, or ending harmful relationships if that is the case.
Switch to healthy snacks
When you feel the need to eat – reach for something healthy and avoid sweets and junk food. Obviously, healthy food won’t give you that quick satisfaction, but it worth it in the long run.
Get rid of tempting foods
The easiest way to avoid the temptation to eat junk food is not to have it at your home. Get rid of it and never bring anything like that home again.
Regular overeating and subsequent anxiety about it does not contribute to a healthy lifestyle in any way. There is, of course, the other extreme: an excessive preoccupation with proper nutrition often leads us into a state of stress, which we sought to get rid of by regulating the diet. But, no matter how tough deadlines get in the way of a full meal, try to take the time to eat. You should not completely exclude snacks, especially when time is sorely lacking: they can also be useful if you control the process. You can seize stress – the main thing is to do it right.