Does Stress Make You Binge?
Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? It’s not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, your body produces as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, it leads to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating (or stress eating) is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. You might reach for a pint of ice cream when you’re feeling down, order a pizza if you’re bored or lonely, or swing by the drive-through after a stressful day at work.
Occasionally using food as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you’ve just consumed.
No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully instead of mindlessly, regain control of your weight, and finally put a stop to emotional eating.
5 Ways to Beat Stress at It’s Own Game…
If you’re like me and the thought of opening your inbox in the morning makes you want to dive naked into a bag of Doritos, then keep reading.
1 Understand that your thoughts are the cause of your anguish.
It’s always your thoughts. It’s not the stress itself that is the problem… it’s your thoughts about the stress (horror!) and subsequent reaction to the stress (eat chocolate to drown out said horror) that cause you pain. It’s your interpretation of the stress and the labels that you give it that make something good or bad. Nothing is GOOD or BAD in and of itself. Only YOU get to decide what something means.
2 Separate yourself from your thoughts
You are not your thoughts. You are the one who notices them (yes, I’m channeling my inner Yoda). One of the main road blocks we face is that, unlike animals, we can think about what we’re thinking about. And the problem is that, when we don’t REALIZE that YOU and YOUR THOUGHTS ARE SEPARATE, then we end up thinking that our thoughts ARE US and that we have to do what they tell us to do… such as, eat extraordinarily large amounts of chocolate. When you define yourself and your capabilities through your thoughts, you LIMIT YOURSELF
3 Make the connection
Let’s be real. As women, we need to vent. Or at least get together for a cuppa and a natter about the partner, the children or your neighbor who looks ten years younger than her age and you’re sure she’s had “work done”. Just getting the things that irk you “off your chest” can help. I have a trusted network of people I can rely on to listen to me and give me sensible advice (because, err… I can be quite unsensible)
4 Soothe it
If you’re stressed, you’re in need of some “me time”. Watch some TV. Try your hand at meditation. Understand that using chocolate to stop or “block” the feelings has not worked in the past and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Remember your feelings are a reaction to your thoughts so use this time to REFRAME
5 From another point of view
Ask yourself, what can you do, think or say to yourself to change the way you handle this situation without a chocolate bar in each hand? Will the challenge bring you closer to the woman you want to be? Can you learn the lessons and use them in the future (preferably to avoid these crazy-pants levels of stress from ambushing you again). How can you reframe and turn this into your moment of power?
So, how how are your stress levels? About in line with your chocolate consumption?
Imagine a peaceful and joyful relationship with food. It’s closer than you think.
This quick guide gives a simple 4-step way to get you out of that unwanted eating place and back in the driver’s seat.
- Get your 4 Steps to Stop Emotional Eating quick-guide CLICK HERE!