Hungry or stressed? What is stress eating?
Biological hunger is the natural alarm of your body meaning that it needs a recharge with proteins, fat, fiber and sugar. However, there is also another type of hunger that shows itself when you are not even hungry. If you too are experiencing such an inner call to eat, you may be facing stress eating, in other words emotional eating disorder. This situation ruins your weight control mechanism and may turn to obesity in the long run. Believe it or not, many overweight cases are indeed emotional eating cases.
How stress causes stress eating?
Stress is a part of our being and is also a source for motivation. It makes us “stand up” for the target ahead and without it, life wouldn’t be productive. However, it triggers many hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, vasopressin, growth hormone, etc.) causing mood swings, and in some of us this state turns into an excessive eating habit. This increases the size, frequency and quality of your meals in such a way to threaten our health.
How to tell you have stress eating habit?
If you’re regularly eating after emotional fluctuations like boredom, anger, sadness or loneliness, this means you have stress eating habit. Nausea and indigestion after meals are other signs that you may be over-eating to repress stress. To tell whether it’s a serious case, note down your weight every day for a month. If you notice a regular weight gain, even in small amounts, it’s probably time to do something.
Simple tips to fight stress eating
If the source of your abnormally high appetite is your emotional state, you first must deal with it. Here are some simple expert tips to ease mood swings:
• Pen and paper: According to experts, writing down your mood’s story reduces the corresponding negative feeling. Write down what happened, how you felt, how you responded, etc. This will help you look at events from a different perspective and identify exactly why you’re experiencing sadness.
• Take a walk: If you feel the urge to eat for an emotional reason, go outside and walk. This basic exercise triggers the release of endorphins that provide long-lasting relaxation and you will see that you’re visiting the fridge less frequently. If you stick to walking, then you will have a brand new good habit instead of over-eating.
• Peel a citrus fruit: Yes, it sounds very irrelevant but peeling a citrus fruit (orange i.e.) with bare hands is a simple relaxation technique. Use both hands to enhance sensual focus, fill your lungs with the lovely smell of it and eat your fruit slowly. You will see that you no longer need unhealthy snacks.
• Be aware of the vicious circle: Research shows that pleasure and relaxation after an extra meal only last for 3 minutes, thus overeating to fight stress is not a sustainable solution. Keep this in mind and ask yourself what will make you feel better for longer than 3 minutes. The answer won’t be potato chips or a calorie-bomb ice cream.
• Meditation. Countless studies show that meditation reduces stress by slowing heart rate and blood pressure. It’s cheap, can be practiced almost under any condition and lets your attention focus to yourself.
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