Have you ever had a hard day at work and been tempted to pull into the drive-through or pizza joint for a quick fix of junk food? Or maybe you think about stopping at the grocery store for a pint of ice cream.
And you don’t even feel that bad about your plans to eat every single bite of it… After all, you’ve had a bad day, right?
Stress eating is real. But guess what? It usually leaves you feeling WORSE after you finish it. You’re bloated … you’re tired … you feel blah … and maybe you even have a stomachache. And, most of the time you regret it or feel guilty about giving in afterward.
Giving in to cravings can soothe you temporarily, but it sets you up for even more cravings in the future.
Here’s why: Your brain burns about half of your body’s daily carb requirements. Do you think that’s as AMAZING as I do!?
Regular short-term “acute” stress can mean your brain needs about 12% more energy, which might explain the initial cravings. When your stress becomes chronic, your body releases a barrage of hormones to help you cope with it – including cortisol and insulin. Over time, this can cause blood sugar swings, insulin surges, more cravings, and even slow down your metabolism!
Your body definitely doesn’t deserve that.
This is just one reason why trainers and health coaches talk so much about stress management – even when you’re not feeling all that stressed.
Trying to “walk it off” when it comes to stress doesn’t set you up for success, but being proactive and mindful definitely does.
- Spend some quiet time every day – either meditating, taking a walk outside, doing breathwork, praying, or journaling. The point is to be intentional with whatever you choose. Allow yourself to relax!
- On days you’re tempted to “stress eat,” before you take the first bite, distance yourself from the food by doing something else – take a hot shower or bath, go for a walk, read, exercise, play with the dog or the kids. Divert your attention to something positive.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.
- If stress is a big problem in your life, talk with your healthcare provider.
I hope these tips help you tame the stress monster in your life – and the food cravings that go along with it!