Living in the present day can be very stressful and it’s a no-brainer that stress can negatively affect your health. Obesity is one of the common consequences of being stressed since, according to American Psychological Association, overeating or eating unhealthy food is a common symptom of stress. This is something psychologists call emotional eating and it’s becoming a major problem among people, regardless of their age, gender, or social status. However, it’s not actual hunger that lies behind this kind of eating – it’s something in your mind that you’re lacking, but you’re trying to compensate with junk food.
Why is it dangerous?
Emotional eating is easily recognizable – it usually makes you crave for certain comfort food that gives you an instant rush, but not the real feeling of satiety and that’s why it often leads to obesity. On the other hand, researchers have proven that overeating might lead to hormonal disbalance. Namely, when your gut senses too many calories, it can shut off a hormone that tells your brain you’re full. This means that overeating leads to more overeating and you might end up in a vicious cycle that can seriously damage your health. Add the dissatisfaction you might feel once your body starts to gain weight to the equation and the pit of despair is only going to get bigger and bigger.
Getting motivated is key
According to science, stress is the number one enemy of the rational mind – it unleashes the impulsive side of you. Sometimes that’s good because it’s a matter of survival but, more often, it just weakens your willpower and makes you do things you know aren’t good for you, such as eating too much unhealthy food.
That’s why calming down and motivating yourself is crucial – taking 5 minutes to ground yourself and breathe deeply can calm down your nervous system and get your rational mind back in the game. Decorating your personal space to boost healthy habits also helps, so make sure you surround yourself with things that will support the healthier side of you.
Feed your hunger with something else
Feeding your digestive system is easy once you balance out your diet, but tricking your mind into feeling satiety is something completely different. Many people who deal with stress-induced eating turn to yoga and meditation because that kind of physical activity is not only good for the body but also for the brain. Reconnecting with nature and your true self can help you calm down and gain a better insight into your own mind to see what you are actually hungry for.
The same goes for any kind of regular exercise – once you embrace this healthy habit, your body will crave for quality food only and you’ll get your diet back in balance. Finding motivation to start exercising is the hardest part but there are some studies that show how wearing proper fitness clothes can boost your motivation.
Clear up your diet
Turning to healthy nutrition is one of the best things you can do for your body, regardless of your stress levels, but it’s particularly important when you start eating too much junk food. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to drink a lot of liquids, since people often confuse hunger with thirst. Start your day with warm lemon water to give your metabolism a little boost and try to stay away from processed food as much as you can. This means you should turn to the so-called real food that contains carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Another good idea for getting your diet back to normal is to eat from smaller plates since that will make your meal look bigger and thus trick your mind into feeling satiated quicker.
Finally, facing your problems and insecurities is the best way to overcome stressful periods. Find out what you are really hungry for and you’ll stop craving comfort food to soothe your mind. Whether it’s about your workplace, relationships, or your own mental health – getting to the core of the problem is the key thing in the process of making your life better and stress-free.