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How to keep stress snacking at bay | Natural Body Cafe

How to keep stress snacking at bay

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stress can have a number of effects on the body. What many people don't realise is that there are healthy as well as unhealthy forms of stress. For example, healthy stress is when your experience is temporary and limited to a fairly short period of time. Prolonged stress, on the other hand, can have a serious negative effect on your health. One of the most common reactions to stress is eating or snacking. Find out more about why we tend to react in this way as well as what you can do to curb this habit.

The psychology behind stress eating

There are a number of reasons why you could be one of the many stress eaters in the world. If, for example, you were given certain foods or snacks as a reward when you were a child, you could still associate various foods with that good feeling. If you enjoyed baking or cooking with a loved one when you were growing up, this can also cause a positive emotional connection with food. Not to mention the fact that we are bombarded with messages by advertisers that lead us to believe that happiness is a particular chocolate bar or ice cream.

Hormones can cause cravings

When you feel stressed, your body kicks it up a notch or ten. This means that you will have high levels of cortisol, insulin and ghrelin running through your veins. Ghrelin is also known as the 'hunger hormone' and this can make you crave sugary or fatty foods in particular. By giving in to these cravings, you will cause the inhibition of various activities in the brain that are linked to your emotions. Yes, you will feel less stressed but you will also feel a greater need for even more of these sugary or fatty foods. And so the cycle continues!

How to stop stress eating

There are a number of points to keep in mind when it comes to curbing those snacking habits. Here are a few points to help you stop stress eating:

  • Get enough rest. Fatigue makes stress worse and therefore worsens stress eating.



  • High-intensity workouts are great for reducing stress while you can also reduce cortisol levels by enjoying regular low-intensity exercises.



  • Eat several healthy meals throughout the day so that you do not feel famished at any point.



  • Set aside time for yoga, meditation and keep a journal so that you can maintain that initial sense of motivation.

By understanding the reasons behind stress eating and with these coping techniques in mind, you can avoid falling into this unhealthy cycle and set you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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