When stressed one of the first things we struggle with is our eating behaviours. Normally we tend to overeat or struggle to eat at all.
It is vital to provide your body with a nutrient dense diet when you feel stressed. As your body uses more nutrients in this situation therefore needs more to cope.
The right diet can do wonders to reduce stress’s impact on the body. When you eat whole, real foods, you restore balance to insulin, cortisol, and other hormone levels.
Here are some very common eating behaviours that will make stress worse:
Eating More Junk Food Than Usual
It is definitely not uncommon to feel more hungrier when under stress. Due to the increased levels of cortisol when stressed, the body does not respond well to leptin which is the hormone that makes us feel full/satisfied meaning you will have more of an appetite and want to eat more.
Eating sweets can increase serotonin in our brains which makes us feel good but this is only a short term feeling. The thing is we can actually get this feeling from other things too but food is always the easy option, the one we are used to. Remember even the simplest of things can also give you that good feeling such as a walk, talking with a loved one or a relaxing bath.
If you feel the need to give into your craving, then do it mindfully. Actually sit down and enjoy every single bite, notice the texture, the flavour of what you are eating. When you snack mindlessly this will possibly lead to overeating. Pay attention, eat mindfully and really tune it, this can help you stay focused and you are less likely to let emotions or stress control how much you eat.
Losing Your Appetite
Your eating behaviours can really go one way or the other when you are stressed. Some people struggle to eat at all and others want to eat in excess.
One important thing to note is that if you lose your appetite, really try and eat, ideally small meals or snacks throughout the day, this can really help. By doing this you will reduce the likely chance of rebound hunger that would come later in the day which could end up in overeating or a binge.
Eating Out of Control
If you feel like eating, you have the urge and it won’t go away. Check in with yourself and ask yourself are you hungry. Ask yourself what you are really hungry for? What I mean by this is what emotions are you feeling. What emotions are you trying to comfort with food? Stay mindful to what your body needs as opposed to what you need emotionally and respond accordingly.