Is Stress Making You Eat? Or is Eating Making you Stressed?
Family, work, money, kids, friends, parents, deadlines, relationships and hundreds of other issues can cause stress. We all know by now stress, and how people deal with it, can be a silent killer causing high blood pressure, heart issues, even cancer.
For many people when they start to feel stressed they turn to comfort food and/or an extra large glass of wine to try to get some temporary relief from the stress in their lives.
And for a very brief moment, while they enjoy those chocolates and wine or that cake or cookie or that burger and fries, they do feel better. Let’s face it all that sugar and fat tastes great while you are eating it.
But then what happens? They start to feel bloated and icky and become annoyed at themselves for eating that junk food (AKA poison), they stand on the scales and discover they’ve gained a few pounds, or if it’s prolonged several pounds and now they stress over weight gain and how their body looks and feels, and come Friday evening, they say “Oh heck, I’m having some chocolate and wine to relax” and the vicious cycle continues.
Scientifically here’s what’s going on in your body: when you are stressed or have a bad day your body releases a hormone called cortisol which makes you hungry and you want to eat the carbs and sugars. When you eat it satisfies those cravings and your brain triggers the release of serotonin which puts you in a better mood for a while until the "crash."
You feel bad again, along comes the cortisol, you eat, you get “rewarded” with serotonin, you feel good and before long you associate feeling good with eating junk and/or drinking. You gain weight, lack energy and stress over that also and the pattern becomes ingrained in your lifestyle.
It’s one of nature’s cruel realities.
But the good news is there is a natural healthy solution that you and only you can do to break the cycle.
Retrain your body to react differently to stress.
Here’s four healthy habits that you can start today to help you manage and overcome your stress so it doesn’t become a major health issue:
1. Binge walking instead of binge eating.
You remember the stress hormone cortisol? Exercise lowers it naturally and gets your mind off food. 10, 15, 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in how you feel and you will love the new fitter, healthier you.
2. If you eat it, document it.
Keeping a food journal for a month is eye-opening! Write down everything you eat and drink for one month and also keep notes of what happened to cause you to crave that cookie or wine … and how you feel afterwards.
3. Stop and smell the roses.
Whether you meditate, do yoga or some other type of deep mental relaxation exercise it helps ease anxiety and stress … try it, you’ll thank me!
4. Eat Healthy Comfort Food.
Before you get your next craving for carbs or sugar, go to your local grocery store or health food store and buy healthy snacks, healthy whole foods that will satisfy your cravings without the fats and useless calories. Next time you crave a glass of wine with dinner, if you want to be good, try a Kombucha tea instead. You will be pleasantly surprised.
I know for some people these changes will be easy, but for many they are very difficult to start and keep up.
If you feel you need help please call the office and let’s schedule an appointment where I will personally help you develop your game plan and get you started on your diet journal. You can also join our Detox & Cleanse Program to put you on the right track, starting now!
Additionally, we can run some tests to find out exactly what foods you should avoid and what to replace them with and/or what supplements will help you break the “stress-eat-stress” cycle.