Are you the kind of person who starts eating whenever things go wrong? If yes, chances are you are doing stress eating which is bad for your health. This type of eating disorder starts as a craving for junk food and makes you hungrier when you are stressed or bored. Not only weight gain, but you might also develop other diseases if you don’t take care of this eating habit.
Learn how to stop stress eating by reading this article.
Stress eating or emotional eating happens when we are stressed out for some reason and need something to distract us to reduce our stress. Most people who are stressed eat fried junk food. This is bad because you start eating junk food regularly whenever you are stressed out. Because this not only happens when you are stressed but also when you are alone, bored, or in social places. This not only leads to weight gain but also might make you obese. The reason for this is the inability to control your emotions and mental health.
You can avoid stress eating, by avoiding its triggers and learning how to manage your stress.
The link between stress eating and weight gain
Stress eating happens when you are going through stressful situations, for example, lots of work or projects to do in a short time.
As you are stressed out, the body releases cortisol to give energy to all important organs and muscles to take necessary action to deal with that situation. This increased need for energy increases your hunger and craving for salty, sugary, or fatty foods to make you feel full and gives instant energy in those situations.
While this type of eating might reduce your stress by giving you the energy you need, if you do this every time, it can lead to weight gain. Because when you consume fatty foods (they are low in calories and high in fat) it gets stored as body fat. These foods don’t give any nutrients and vitamins, instead they make your body fatter.
Stress eating can also become a habit, as you start eating whenever you are alone, bored, or meeting people, even without any reason. Not only weight gain, but you may also develop obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels if you don’t take care of it.
How does stress eating work?
Stress eating is eating food to reduce your stress, loneliness, boredom, fear, sadness, etc.- all those negative emotions that make you sad and depressed. Eating works as a remedy to reduce stressful or negative situations.
When you feel stressed or low in life, your body produces cortisol hormone (which copes with stressful situations by giving energy to useful parts and organs to act). To send energy, the body also increases the urge to eat something that gives you energy. Most people’s cravings lead them to eat sugary, salty, or fatty foods.
These foods have good taste, make you feel full after eating, and make you feel good or hungrier for more until you feel satisfied. This cycle goes on whenever you go through negative and stressful situations.
Steps to control stress eating
Stopping stress eating is not an easy task. You need to take care of the triggers- which are your stress and negative emotions. To stop your stress eating, follow these steps:
- Try to avoid or reduce your stress: This is the first step you need to take. Knowing what makes you stressed out in your everyday life helps you avoid it. Without a stress trigger, the urgency and carving are not going to build which is what you need to stop your stress eating. And learning stress relieving techniques is also helpful to reduce your stress without building the need of eating. Mindfulness, deep breathing, and yoga are some of the techniques used to relieve stress.
- Avoid other triggers: Loneliness, boredom, and social influences are the common triggers that give you negative feelings and trigger stress eating. If you stay alone, it is time for you to make friends and start hanging out with them. Try to talk to your colleagues in the office, or college, and make friends that not only make you feel good but help you overcome this stress eating. If you get bored easily, find a hobby like playing a game, reading a book, starting cooking, etc. that keeps your mind away from eating.
- Remove the foods that are unhealthy: You should remove snacks and food products from your vicinity so that you don’t eat them whenever stressed. In fact, find different methods and techniques to remove that stress. This way, you won’t need to rely on eating whenever you are stressed!
- Get support: When you feel stressed or negative you need someone to give support, listen to your problems, and help you so that you can get out of that situation. So, share your problems with your family and friends to get the support you need. You can also join a community too. Remember, you are not alone!
- Keep a diary: Start recording what you eat, when you eat, how your mood is and what you are feeling. This gives you an idea of the triggers, and the reason behind your binge eating and helps you avoid those. You can also join a gym to work out and change your lifestyle, which helps you to reduce your stress and stay fit.
Stress eating is a habit that develops normally. It’s not bad until you start relying on it whenever you feel negative. So, to avoid that you can follow the above steps or ask your health care provider how to avoid this problem. They can give you advice or recommend therapy to help overcome your stress eating.
Need treatment or therapy for your stress eating?
Call us on 718-DORAL-55 to get an appointment at our clinic. One of the best weight loss clinics to treat your obesity. Contact us to get a free consultation.