Do you eat more when you’re stressed, or do you stop eating entirely?
People seem to go one way or the other – personally I tend to eat when I feel stressed.
If you’re a stress eater.
If you’re also a stress eater, you’re probably familiar with the call of sugary and fatty foods – it seems near impossible to resist cakes, biscuits or chocolate in dire times. There is a biological answer for that – cortisol, the stress hormone, impacts your insulin levels, which in turn causes your blood sugar level to drop. This leads to the sweet cravings.
When you also add into that the conditioning most of us have had over our lifetimes, that sweet things are a treat, when times get stressful we feel like we deserve a little bit of happiness. We often associate certain foods with happy times and so we go for them in an attempt to recreate that feeling.
I went through a phase not too long ago of craving chocolate orange, not only because it’s genuinely delicious, but because (as I found out with a bit of exploration of the subconscious) it reminded me of Christmas morning. We used to often get a chocolate orange in our stocking, the family were all together and we had a lovely time and I felt loved, cared for and excited. When I feel like I’m missing a bit of that in my current life, it’s often the chocolate orange that I reach for.
The important thing is to recognize that you are eating certain foods in order to gain a certain feeling, and you can find that feeling another way if the stress eating is becoming a problem or becoming more of a habit.
If you are a stress starver.
If you work the other way – where you tend to go off food when you are stressed, that’s mainly down to the fight/flight mode diverting a lot of the body’s blood away from the digestive system and other organs in order to give energy to the limbs. It can make you feel sick, sluggish, bloated when you do eat and things like that, which can put you off eating. The catch here is, if you don’t eat, your energy levels are going to dip quite quickly, and you’ll find the stress even harder to deal with. So, this can be a bit of downwards spiral too.
You’ll probably find that along side some other de-stressing techniques (you can check them out here), actually having a little something to eat will help you to feel calmer, less sick and less stressed. Keep it light but regular. You’ll probably have to set a reminder to eat and hold yourself to it for a day or so because you’ll probably not feel like it at all.
Which ever way you tend to go, notice it. Understanding what it’s about, what’s going on and showing yourself a bit of compassion is key.
Anxiety affects everyone in different ways. Whether its general anxiety, phobias, addictions, habits, weight issues or anything else you do it your own way. So, it stands to reason that the solution should be as individual as you are. I use a range of techniques, such as Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching, EFT, Reiki and many other tools I’ve picked up along the way to work with YOU to find the best fit. We can work online from the comfort of your own home, or you can arrange to come to my private therapy room near Carlisle, Cumbria.