Stress Eating

Earth Day Yoga

So what is stress eating? Well it is something we have all probably done at one time or another. 

When we are feeling particularly stressed we often turn to comfort foods which we think will make us feel better.

This is an unhealthy habit to get into and is not helped by the fact that the stress hormone Cortisol is also a powerful appetite stimulant, which means that one of the first things we feel when stressed is hungry. 

Unfortunately studies have shown that Cortisol also encourages a certain type of fat to accumulate within particular areas of our bodies which is one of the most difficult areas to get rid of fat, the abdominal region. 

The type of fat that is built up by stress eating and being stressed is known as stress fat and is particular dangerous and unhealthy for us.

Stress Fat

Stress fat is different from normal fat, it is not the same wobbly fat that accumulates under our skin but instead it gathers around our internal organs and is known to contribute to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

This stress fat can sometimes build up inside someone who externally looks quite a normal weight and so can be a hidden danger if not discovered and tackled early enough. 

This internal fat can be discovered by using certain machines at the doctors which can measure how much fat, water and muscle you have in your body. Or you can lie on your back and see if your tummy remains rounded as if pregnant. If it does then this is caused by the internal stress fat pushing up any external fat.

Preventing Stress Fat

Because stress fat is associated with compulsive eating often contributed by stress and anxiety, the way to prevent this build up of fat is to concentrate on two main areas of your life, stress relief and healthy eating.

Here we will concentrate on the stress eating and  nutrition area and it is important to understand that even with all the information available at your finger tips, there is one big aspect that only you can achieve, will power. If you cannot control how you eat or what you eat due to lack of will power, than no amount of information and guidance will be able to help, so make that decision right now to be strong and determined to beat stress and its related symptoms.

Diets

There are many diets out there all claiming they can help you lose weight and are healthy and indeed they all have their merits. However what works for one person may not for another and this is way those who diet can become increasingly frustrated and yes you guessed it stressed. Here we go again on that vicious circle of stress eating and guilt.

However there are some simple rules which most of the diets have in common, they are:

Try to eat as much food in its natural state rather being processed. So eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice and eating a grilled chicken breast is better than eating a processed chicken burger.

Eat nutrient rich foods instead of empty calorie foods. So carrot sticks over crisps and dried fruit rather than chocolate.

Start and the end the day with protein and complex carbohydrates rather than sugary foods or simple carbohydrates.

Eat a good sized breakfast, a fair sized lunch and a light supper.

Don’t eat until you fill totally full. It can take up to 15 minutes after eating before your brain registers that you are full, so if you eat until you feel full, you have eaten too much and in about 15 minutes you will feel over full and uncomfortable.

Treating yourself can help avoid a stress eating binge

Stress eating is sometimes caused by people who feel that they deserve a treat after a heavy day and turn to all the wrong foods to satisfy that need. But as seen this is a completely negative approach to feelings of stress etc. 

However we don’t have to deny ourselves treats, of course not, what a boring life that would be. 

However it is important that we look at treats differently if we are not to cause ourselves more trouble further down the line.

Look upon treats and something special and in which case make it special.

Instead of eating a whole bar of chocolate, choose a high quality expensive chocolate that you can saviour and enjoy in small quantities. 

The same can go for wine, learn about the wine and discover all its flavors etc. you will not only enjoy your treats more but you will have less of them in quantity but not quality.

Outside of the US? Find stress relief products in the UK and Canada.

› Stress eating