Relationship Between Stress and Eating Behaviors.
Many people indicate that stress causes them to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, which they claim have negative behaviors such as making them feel sluggish, as well as making them feel bad about their bodies.
Stress is something that we all deal with. And we all have our own ways of dealing with it. One of the most common ways that people deal with stress, especially chronic stress, is eating. When we are stressed, our bodies release a stress hormone called cortisol, as well as the hunger hormone, ghrelin.
Ghrelin stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, which tells the body that it wants to eat. Cortisol is what triggers our cravings for foods that are salty, sweet, and fried. In other words, when you are feeling stressed, you suddenly have a strong appetite and an intense desire for foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure.
However, how do you know when you are eating out of hunger and when you are reaching for food because you are stressed?
The Difference Between Stress Hunger and Physical Hunger
There are several distinctions between eating to relieve stress and eating because your body requires it. When you’re worried, though, it’s tough to discern the difference. Here are some of the key distinctions between stress eating and eating when you’re physically hungry.
- When you get hungry as a result of stress, it occurs unexpectedly and may be overpowering. Physical hunger develops gradually and does not need immediate satisfaction.
- When you’re physically hungry, everything seems appealing. You simply want to eat something. When you’re hungry because of stress, though, you’ll want particular things like cheesecake or pizza.
- When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to eat mindlessly, without paying attention to how much you’re eating. When you eat for bodily hunger, on the other hand, you tend to be more conscious of how much you’re eating and when you’re full.
- When your stomach is full, physical hunger is satisfied. Even though your stomach is full, if you are stress eating, your mind will need more food. This is because stress and hunger do not originate in the stomach. Instead of feeling hungry, you’re fixated on the touch, taste, and smell of a certain dish that you can’t get out of your thoughts.
- When you eat to relieve stress, you may have feelings of guilt afterward. This may be because you ate an entire pint of ice cream or a bag of chips that you know is bad for you.
How You Can Stop Stress Eating
Knowing that you are stressed eating is the first step toward breaking the behavior since you’re admitting that food isn’t the problem. The true problem is stress, which must be addressed to eliminate stress eating. Mindfulness training is one of the most effective techniques to reduce stress-eating.
Women who received mindfulness training were less likely to stress eat, according to research published in the Journal of Obesity. Learning stress reduction strategies, how to properly detect hunger, and how to pay attention to the flavor of the items they were eating were all part of the mindfulness training.
It’s not necessarily a negative thing to eat for pleasure or to help yourself feel better. You are reaching for those foods for a purpose, and you may do so in moderation if you can identify the cause. Concentrate on the flavor and texture of your food. Instead of the whole recipe of brownies, try one bowl of ice cream instead of the entire container.