There’s two types of people in this world, those who eat when they’re stressed, and those who don’t. I am type 1, 100%.
And since you're here, I’m guessing you’re feeling that too.
When we’re stressed, our body goes into a Stress Response. This means our hormones go to work and create a fight or flight response in our body. It does things like pump blood into our limbs, affects our heart rate and it also does a few things to our gut.
Our body releases a hormone called Cortisol, its job is to make sure we have enough energy to last until the flight or fight is over and we’re safe. Which means that it affects how our energy is used, by slowing down our digestion, saving more of that energy (storing it as fat), and making us reach for high energy foods. I believe that some people don’t feel this part as much as others; we’re all different in so many ways, physically and mentally.
Those high energy foods are usually filled with simple carbs and sugars, easy to break down and store. Think simple carbs, fast food, coffee, chocolate, etc. The problem with cortisol is that because it helps us store energy by converting it to fat, it stores that fat around your tummy. You know that fat that sits around your organs? Yep, one of the biggest causes of that is Stress.
So, what can we do when we feel overwhelmed and stressed out?
Sometimes we know when our day or our week will be hectic. Planning out how to combat that and by making sure you have nutritious and satisfying food to get you through it. This could mean meal prepping or having a snack drawer. The other part to the planning step is around your actual job, tasks, or work that is causing the stress or overwhelm. How can you minimise the chaos there?
I know, common answer. But this flows on from planning. Plan out your self-care time. Decide when you’ll relax, what you’d like to do, or even when you’d like to go to sleep. When it comes to bed time, do you have a bedtime routine? You might find this blog post worth a read. Taking time to chill and relax your mind and your body means that your stress response can take a break too. Your body can start to reverse all the actions it performed earlier so that you could rise to the challenge. We need this rest. A constant state of stress can lead to all sorts of chronic illness.
Give these two some thought and see how you go. You’re a clever cookie and you can’t be go-go-go like this forever. Your body will always keep score, and unfortunately it will always win. You deserve to take care of yourself.
Let me know if you’d like some support on this. I am a huge stress eater. I am moving to a new house soon and last night I ate two desserts. I have learnt to fight the urge but not last night, apparently.
P.S. I will have a new Guide coming out soon all about "Stressing Less" using 5 Simple Tools. Comment below or email me if you'd like a sneak peek. Otherwise watch this space!