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March 24, 2019: Stress

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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Spring is upon us. It’s time to dust off winter, take a deep breath, and ready ourselves for a new season. How are your resolutions coming? Have you met any of the goals you set? If you're not where you want to be, don't stress. No, really, don't stress. Stress is a natural negative reaction in your mind and body to challenges. While it can positively motivate you to get through certain obstacles, it can also wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. This week, we’re going to talk about how stress can affect your eating.

Stress Eating

When you’re stressed out, you may feel like it’s an excuse to indulge to make you feel better. You know, those nights you eat your feelings after work? Yeah. That desire to stress eat is part of your body's actual response to anxiety. Stress activates the adrenal glands which then releases cortisol, the hormone that controls appetite (among other things), increasing your cravings. If you can get past the situation, the cortisol levels will drop, and you’ll be feeling normal soon after. But, if you live in a constant state of stress, the levels will stay elevated. Continuous anxiety will also disrupt sleep and boost your appetite even more. Oof.

The Stress-Eating Cycle

Studies also show that these reactions to stress increase the amount of high fat and high sugar foods consumed. But the vicious cycle doesn't stop there. Your brain can associate these foods as comfort under pressure, leading you to crave these foods when faced with a stressful situation. And overeating isn't the only thing contributing to the growing waistline when stressed. It also interferes with sleep, causes you to exercise less and drink more alcohol.

Dealing with Stress

You can't escape stress, but you can change how you deal with it. Next time you're faced with anxiety, take a deep breath and focus on why you're actually feeling this way before reaching for the cookies. Take a walk or practice yoga or any exercise where you can think about the situation and how to handle it without blowing up, figuratively and literally. If you do reach for the cookies, it's okay. Don't beat yourself up about it because it will only make you feel worse and self-compassion has been shown to decrease emotional eating.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about the health effects of salt and what happens when you have too much.

Want some expert help with reaching your health goals painlessly? Check out my programs! We’ll get everything taken care of in a way that fits into your current lifestyle so you never have to think about your health again. 

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.