Being stressed once in a while is necessary- a boost of focus, energy, alertness and speed that helps to respond to dangerous and potentially harmful situations. This is what is called “good stress”. When the body is stressed, your body enters the “fight-or-flight” response- this mode increases your body’s capabilities for a short time, and puts it in overdrive.
One of the hormones that is responsible for this mode, is cortisol, which is also called the stress hormone. Cortisol, once it goes beyond the permissible level can cause long-term effects, and can have the opposite effect of helping you. Chronic stress can put your body in a constant state of alertness and this creates a barrage of complications, right from heart attack and stroke risks, to obesity. Stress eating is also on this list.
How To Know If You Are A Stress Eater?
It doesn’t matter if you have embarked on a diet of plant-based foods, and want to soak in the benefits of healthy eating by including plant-based meals in your diet. All of it means nothing if you begin to eat fried and sweet foods the minute you are stressed from work or studies.
- Eat when you are not particularly hungry
- Grab for food the minute you feel overwhelming emotions
- You eat to make yourself feel good
- When the difficult times roll in, you think of food
If one or more out of these makes you go ‘yes’, then you know you have a problem at hand. If you engage in these on rare occasions, then it is alright. But, if you have been noticing this chain of events playing out for a long time, then it is of concern. You may be well on your way to serious health issues in the future, be wary.
Ways To Control It
Know Why You Are Over Eating- Know Your Triggers
If you have wanted food, especially when lunchtime is nowhere near, then stop and ask yourself ‘why’. Are you feeling ignored? Are you trying to relieve anxiety and want to see comfort in foods? Pinning down the plausible reason for the stress eating can help you understand the root cause of it and further progress towards rectifying it; not just rely on a quick fix.
Finding An Alternative Plan
Switch to fruits and plant-based foods to help you control the cravings in the beginning. After which, you can ease towards writing your journal, engaging in walks or stretching, or calling a friend, to better handle and control it in the future.