How Eating While Stressed-Out Can Actually Cause Weight Gain
Wouldn't it be easier if we craved a large veggie-filled salad when we're stressed? Unfortunately, it seems to be the opposite -- we tend to look for comfort in food when we're stressed out or anxious. Not only do our choices seem to change when we're stressed, but our body actually processes food differently when we're under stress.
Stress’ effect on your eating
Your hormones are naturally programmed to release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol when you feel stressed. Elevated amounts of these hormones regularly give us feelings of hunger, putting us on an endless cycle of reaching for comfort foods and eating more than we need.
Another side effect is a slower metabolism. Those stress hormones being released regularly slows down the metabolism. Because stress messes with our brain’s wiring for rewards and our cortisol levels trick us into wanting more fat and sugar, we automatically head toward those comfort foods during times of stress.
And finally, one of the most significant factors for making poor eating choices when you’re stressed out is lack of sleep. Lack of sleep affects the chemicals that control your appetite, which can begin another seemingly endless cycle of the hamster wheel. Make sleep a priority. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, even if you have to rearrange the schedule you're accustomed to.
What you can do
Now that you know where your stress is taking you, you can do something about it. First of all -- name your stressors.
What are the top things that cause you to stress?
Are they long-term or short-term stressors?
Can you stop doing or delegate tasks that are stressful?
What activities can you do to reduce stress or manage it?
It's important to fit exercise into your schedule, even if all you have time for is a brisk 10-minute walk. Exercise gives you a mental break and works off the energy that it tensing you up.
To combat stress eating, when you do sit down for a meal, practice mindfulness instead of zoning out in front of your phone or the television. Take time to enjoy the food and actually taste it.
Stress is something that we can't eradicate completely, but we cause a lot of the stress we undergo. For example, we feel stressed because we're unorganized, unprepared, and our home is in disarray. These are all very common reasons for being under stress, and they're so fixable! Make a plan to tackle the things that are causing you stress, and start chipping away at them.
You'll be amazed at how much your digestion improves, your sleep quality improves, and you'll feel lighter.
Understanding Food Cravings Guide
Cravings are something we all deal with, and it's fascinating how deep the meaning goes for why we crave certain things. I used to drive myself nuts trying to ignore my food cravings – especially when I was stressed out. Now, I find that there is a rhyme and reason to what I crave and that listening a little more closely to my body helps me avoid them.
Let’s figure out where your cravings are coming from, how to satisfy them in a healthy way, and how to ditch them in the future. Download my free guide!