Your Body Shape and Your Response to Stress
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
One of the main reasons people overeat or binge on unhealthy foods is a desire to feel better, to comfort themselves. This is most often in response to stress. There is a reason it is called comfort food, you know. We turn to these foods because they make us feel better, they calm our emotions, they remind us of simpler times when things were not so difficult in our lives. And, if you are like most people, they are also not good for you.
The compounds and chemicals in food that release feel-good hormones and enzymes in our brains are among the least healthy. Salt, fat, and sugar all light up the same parts of your brain that other unhealthy substances, like drugs and alcohol, do.
The smells and tastes of many of our childhood treats also conjure positive emotions that we wish to reconnect with when we are feeling stressed. So, while your mum’s chocolate cake (which she likely made once a year as a special treat) made you feel wonderful as a child, you now seek out the same response any time life gets a little overwhelming.
Learning to reduce stress is important, as is developing coping strategies for managing your response to stress that does not involve food. Tracking what you eat while also noting your emotional state is essential when trying to identify stress-related psychological blocks.
What are the conditions that cause you to binge, reach for unhealthy choices, or to overeat? Getting a handle on this will help you avoid these in the future.
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