A hectic lifestyle and busy schedule is often seen in the modern times since we all are surrounded by competitions, our goals and the hardships, struggle taking place at the same time. The most common thing in this journey is stress that most of us suffer from.
Stress is basically defined as a general term relating to our psychological (mental) and physiological (bodily) pressures felt by people throughout their lives which can affect our thoughts, feelings and our behaviour.
What happens when you stress eat?
Studies have found that stress eating or emotional eating disorder, if left unchecked, can contribute to many health problems physically such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, fatigue, sleep deprivation, muscle tension or pain.
Stress in general, can also have some common effects on our mood as well. It can cause anxiety, irritability, anger, sadness, depression, lack of ability to focus, lack of motivation & power, restlessness and exhaustion.
Not only stress affects us with these health conditions but it can also lead to some unhealthy modifications in our daily lifestyle which can cause extreme weight loss or weight gain.
- Overeating or Under eating
- Drug or Alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Exercising less
- Less focus
What causes stress eating disorder?
Studies have shown that while a person is suffering from stress eating disorder, they frequently feel hungry and crave especially for sugary, deep fried and junk food.
Due to more consumption of such high calorie and less nutritious food, people with stress eating disorder are prone to abdominal obesity more as compared to others. Our appetite is increased due to a hormone released by adrenal gland called cortisol, it motivates us to eat if the stress persists. It can cause overnutrition.
Nutrition Guidelines to manage Stress eating disorder:
- Carbohydrates: Since the blood sugar level is increased during stress, it is advised to avoid simple carbohydrates which are high in Glycemic Index and quickly rise our blood sugar level. So switch to complex carbohydrates, low in GI and which are also a healthier choice for better satiety. Sources : Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, legumes, barley, whole-grain bread etc.
- Proteins: Due to the metabolic changes during Chronic stress, to compensate the muscle protein loss, more amount of protein should be taken and increased by 20%. Sources include: Milk, yogurt, meat, cheese, poultry, soy, legumes, beans, lentils etc.
- Sodium: Sodium retention is seen during this kind of stress, which can cause high blood pressure. Therefore, consumption of sodium should be moderate.
- Water Intake: Water loss is high in the body due to extra heat production so, water intake should be increased on a daily basis. Drink at least 3-4 liters of water every day. Here are some tips to keep hydration on track.
- Intake of High Calorie and Less Nutritious foods: As mentioned earlier, craving for junk food is often seen among people suffering from stress eating disorder. The best strategy to overcome excess junk food consumption is to follow the tips above to ensure satiety and try maintaining an 80:20 ratio with a healthy balanced plate vs such high calorie foods respectively. Discipline is the key.
You can also consult a professional nutritionist to guide you better and someone who can keep you on track during your initial stages while dealing with stress binge eating.
Other tips to counter stress eating disorder
Studies show that meditation helps reduce stress, prevents many diseases and helps everyone introduce mindfulness in their lifestyle. Getting some counselling, therapy and yoga sessions may help in this case as well which you can get through Onsurity’s healthcare plans.
Exercising not only helps transform our body physically but mentally as well, by releasing happy hormones. It can vanish the stress away as it prevents the body from adverse effect of excessive heat production.
We’re all born in groups and societies. Seeking social support is one of the best strategies to avoid stress eating disorders. Join communities or ask for help from your closed ones. Always remember, you are not alone. Stay healthy, stay safe and stay happy.