We’ve all been there – completely smashing it with our diet plan, but all of a sudden, a stressful event or situation means that we end up falling off the wagon and reaching for the comfort food.
Many people turn to food to cope with their stress, because eating foods we enjoy can alleviate our moods and make us feel better. But sometimes, overeating and emotional eating can cause difficulties in reaching our health goals.
Read on to learn more about emotional eating, and how to manage it effectively.
What is stress?
Stress is defined as the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Although a small amount of stress can be helpful; the problem arises when we experience too many pressures, but we don’t have enough resources to help us manage them.
When our pressures build and we experience them for an extended period, that’s when our mind and body start suffering. Research shows that persistent, long-term stress not only affect our mental wellbeing and could lead to the development of mental health conditions, but it can also raise our blood pressure and blood glucose levels, which could increase the risk of developing more serious health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
What does stress look like?
The symptoms of stress are often very vague because we all experience stress differently. There are, however, some common symptoms to look out for. Physical symptoms we might experience are things like headaches, dizziness, problems with digestion, chest pain and rapid heartbeat; mental symptoms include inability to focus, constantly worrying and feeling overwhelmed.
Often these symptoms can lead to changes in behaviour, such as drinking and smoking, being snappy, and changes in sleeping pattern. Stress can also lead to emotional eating and changes in eating patterns.
What is emotional eating?
During stressful periods, or times when we’re stuck at home, it can be incredibly tempting to start comfort eating. It’s only natural that a lot of us may be turning to our favourite snacks for a little pick me up at the moment! There are 2 problems with this: we often dampen the problem, rather than solve it; we often reach for processed foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar to fill the void or make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame afterwards.
However, while stress eating or even emotional eating can make us feel comforted for a short period of time, it can move us further away from our weight loss goals. Plus, there’s the added risk that you’ll feel incredibly guilty afterwards, which isn’t the best thing for your mental health, particularly if you were feeling a little fragile to begin with.
How to manage emotional eating:
1.Create a routine:
Planning our meals and eating at regular intervals leaves less room for spontaneous snacks and overeating. Eating healthier snacks such as our exante snack bites filled with fibre and protein can also help with reducing hunger and feeling fuller for longer.