Stress Eating



I saw a TV show (btw, we had just our cable connection! yahoo!) that talked about stress eating this morning. The premise here is that when one is stressed out, he or she copes up with it by eating. So a person eats even not being physiologically hungry.


Food, actually, can alter your mood. They set off emotional and chemical reactions in your body that can temporarily make you feel calm or powerful. When your stress meter goes up, food can have a relaxing effect on someone, but this is only for a short time. It also brings many problems, starting with excessive weight gain. Stress eating is often followed by painful self-judgment that can actually drive you to reach for more food. You feel guilty, mad at yourself and believe something's wrong with you, when actually there is none.


So being so stressed out for the past couple of weeks, i realized that I had started to pig out more and more... that eventhough I have just ate 1-2 hours ago, when i see food, i just can't stop the urge and just reach out for them. Unfortunately, I have gained 1 kilo already after 3 months and that is no good news! So this must be the stress eating which had been quite a popular term nowadays in our health and figure conscious society. :P I am quite alarmed for the fact that I cannot afford to gain weight and store so much fat after finding out that I have higher than normal level of cholesterol despite being only 25 years old and with normal BMI (body mass index).


So anyway, this is taken from workplaceblues.com and tells about strategies that will help to decrease stress eating. I am looking forward to apply these to myself and perhaps, as early as now, I can deal with stress eating..



---However, there are ways to break that cycle and stop eating to feed emotional hunger.


1. Challenge old beliefs, especially the idea that willpower alone can solve weight problems.

2. Forget common diet advice of avoiding favorite foods. A little chocolate may help fight stress, since it helps release endorphin neurotransmitters, nature's morphine. Excessive stress depletes neurotransmitters that help regulate emotions. However, using food to alter your moods won't make the reason for your stress disappear.


3. It can boost the action of those feel-good neurotransmitters. Anything from a walk around the block to a gym workout will help lessen the effects of stress, while helping your body be and feel healthier. Exercise is essential to any weight loss program. You don't need an expansive exercise program - just start moving.


4. Don't deprive yourself of food, which often leads to binge eating. Instead, eat what you want and toss out guilt. Develop your own food strategy by making choices. You'll be more likely to reduce the quantity and not go overboard. Want a favorite dessert? Balance that choice with a healthier entree.


5. Do a stress inventory when you find yourself eating more, or not eating at all. Symptoms of excessive stress include: aching back or shoulders, procrastination, clenched hands, impatience, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, depression and anxiety. By tuning in to your physical and behavioral reactions, it's easier to face stress-causing problems head-on.


6. If you do much stress eating, ask your physician about stress reactive hypoglycemia. This condition can set off physical and emotional reactions, including tiredness, anxiousness and extreme hunger.


7. Learn what purpose food is serving. Stress eating is usually a response to emotional hunger. Keep a chart for two weeks to monitor your food and feelings connection. Divide it into columns noting when, where and what you eat; what precipitates eating; and your feelings during and after eating.


8. Analyze your chart for precipitating events that lead to eating. Your stress eating may be triggered when a conversation unleashes intense feelings, like being lonely, not good enough, trapped, helpless, or not in control, sometimes hours before that first bite. Trigger-situations need not be intense or with someone important. They may be over-reactions to the situation. Understanding what prompts your eating can be a key to freedom from food and weight problems.


9. Learn your core feelings - feelings connected to past trauma and loss, which may be reactivated by a current event, prompting you to reach for food as an escape. Such feelings can come from many sources - past abuse, a childhood in an unstable home, serious illness, being bullied and much more. Understanding your core feelings and their sources can help you to take action to disconnect in a healthy way, instead of using food. Professional counseling may be of benefit.


10. Find new ways to satisfy the feelings causing you to overeat. If you discover you eat because you feel trapped, explore what it will take for you to feel freedom. You may need to learn assertiveness skills, or leave an abusive relationship. Some people eat to hide anger, some to dull fear, some to mask their powerlessness. Why do you eat? What can you do to change that?

11. Overcoming stress-related eating isn't always easy, but it is possible. Many professional counselors specialize in offering help in these areas. The bottom line is that the more you know and care for yourself, the less likely you'll be reaching for food.

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