After speaking to some of my nutrition clients, I realized that stress is the biggest factor that controls their eating or “chEATing.” This stress comes in various forms such as: moving, work, finances, relationships , children, schedules, insecurity, jealousy, disappointment, etc.
So, I’ve been doing a lot of research about stress lately and discovered that when we are stressed- we physiologically have an increase in our appetite. Unfortunately our body tends to crave the foods that release serotonin (mood-boosting chemicals).
These types of foods are high in fat, carbs, and sugar- and are NOT healthy. Most people will cave in to the cravings and seek the desired food.
If we indulge in those foods, we do feel better temporarily, but the cause of the stress remains so the feelings of stress return. Eventually it turns into a cyclic process, but one that snowballs- you will have to start eating more to gain the same mood-boosting benefits. These types of actions lead to weight gain and cause you to think about these foods every time you are stressed.
Next time you are stressed here are a few actions to take instead of making poor food choices:
- Clean out your fridge and pantry to get rid of all the tempting foods- there’s no need to keep them on hand.You use the excuse they a re for you kids, but they should be eating better too!
- Opt for healthier foods: Fruit, raw veggies, or even Greek yogurt.
- Try to take a moment to yourself in a stressful situation to allow your thoughts to be rational and work through the issue at hand so you can respond instead of reacting. If you are still experiencing the craving- have a healthier option.
- Don’t use food as a source of entertainment, comfort, or fun. Food is fuel and should be kept that way to avoid eating just to eat. We should be eating because we are hungry and our body needs energy to sustain.
- Find a buddy to call and talk about your stress
- Learn a new hobby to avoid bored eating
- Train yourself think about whether you are eating because you are hungry or stressed
- Next time you are stressed, angry, depressed etc, give these tricks a go and see what works best for you!