How many of you can say, “I eat when I am stressed!”?
I know I have been guilty of this!! There would be times I knew I had a big project and tons of other things on my plate and I would feel this sense of overwhelm and did not know where to start and instead of stepping back and looking it objectively I would hit the cupboard and scarf down some chocolate!!
But guess what? Not only would I feel ugh and then have horrible feelings of guilt afterwards, I would still have the same workload or issue that I needed to deal with. I really struggled with this for a long time. It brought up a lot of feelings of shame for me. Eating didn’t make it go away. It made it worse and created more stress for me.
Once I realized it was stress eating and not my appetite hunger it made it easier to learn how to handle.
So most of you have heard of “stress eating”. I know many people who eat when they are under stress – bigger appetite and more cravings. Emotional eating may not mean that you are actually hungry but rather you feel like you want to eat to relieve or soothe the stress.
What is Stress Eating?
Stress eating and emotional eating are very closely linked. This is when you are feeling down, sad, upset, stressed, or depressed, and you want instant gratification. Stress hormones can actually make you feel like you are hungry because you know eating something will provide short-term relief. This is the same way emotional eating works. You want a quick fix, so you think about how food will help, and then over time, every time you are stressed, you suddenly feel hungry. Except most of the time, it is not true hunger from not eating enough. It is related to your stress levels.
Increase in Sugar and Junk Food Cravings
There is also a strong correlation between the types of foods you crave when you are stressed. If you are constantly craving sugar, carbs, or fried foods when you are “starving” in between meals, it is probably more from your stress and not actual hunger.
Otherwise, eating an apple or salad or healthy dinner would satiate your hunger. When you don’t feel satisfied after eating something healthy, the hunger is more likely from how you feel mentally or emotionally. This can also be true of other foods that are comfort foods for you, even if it’s not necessarily sugar and carbs.
How to Manage Stress and Hunger
Once you figure out that all your extra hunger is from stress and not from your appetite itself, you know it is time to figure out some ways to manage your stress levels. This will help to balance out your appetite and give you more realistic hunger cues.
Find the source of your stress first: Where is it coming from?
Do you have a lot going on at work? A lot with your kids?
Maybe you are struggling with mounting bills and figuring out how to pay for upcoming college?
Do you have a sick parent that you are caring for and trying to juggle work and family?
Now once you find the source of stress is there a way to switch things up?
If it’s impossible to avoid, look for ways to relax at the end of the day to reduce some of that stress instead of just continuing to pile it on.
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I like do breathing exercises. Ask my kids – they are alway laughing at me. So glad I can be their source of entertainment!! LOL
Here is one that helps me be present and in the moment
Breathe in slowly, through your nose, to a count of 8. Hold the breath there for a count of 7. Then breathe out again, to a count of 11.
Yes, you are breathing out for longer than you are breathing in, but this is what actually calms you down the fastest. Some people advise deep breathing once an hour. You can either do it as often as once an hour, or you can just do it whenever you feel yourself becoming a little bit stressed.
Deep breathing really does calm the body down. This is a scientific fact!! Use it to ensure that you keep your body and soul calm and help you deal with stress more effectively!
If you need support and want to learn some ways to overcome stress, maybe learn some new strategies on how to tackle it…. think about booking ONE session with me to create your personal blueprint!! This week only $107 for the first three people to book!
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