#Stressed spelt backwards is desserts but it is an extremely unhealthy outlook towards food and mental health. We often end up drowning our sorrows in ice cream tubs or stuff our faces with burgers but there is a serious underlying issue here.
Stress or emotional eating makes a person find comfort in food, distract them from triggers.
If it happens once in a while due to a stressful situation, it's manageable but if you find yourself stuck in a pattern please seek professional help.
There are usually specialists that deal with stress eating and other eating disorders, but you can start by consulting a nutritionist or therapist and find the right expert for yourself.
Why do we eat when we are stressed❓
Your relationship with food is a sacred one, it helps you nourish yourself, survive and thrive. Most of us also grow up with emotional value assigned to food, with traditions and special recipes.
We started Happy Jars with the idea of keeping that feeling intact, the quality of ingredients and processes make the food healthy and delicious. Our goal is to help you get set on the health track without any compromises.
With emotional or stress eating there are some questions we'd like to break down for you:
Why do I want to eat when I’m stressed❓
When you're stressed, your body secretes comfort-seeking hormones, which is why a common stress response is calling up your friends or family and venting to them.
Another common phenomenon is to reach out for comfort foods which is why you'll often find people bingeing ice creams, bags of chips, lots of junk food and any other carbohydrate or sugary items defined in the cabinets.
Stress can also make one lose appetite. It is the imbalance of appetite that further aggravates other eating disorders.
How can I stop stress-eating❓
Stress eating cannot be managed overnight. It is a process that can take time, professional help, some self-reflection and/or assistance from your friends and family.
However, learning how to stop stress eating is not difficult. This is what you can do instead of stress eating -
- Check-in with yourself: you can start journaling, maintain a food diary and know when or what events trigger your stress or anxiety that may lead to emotional eating later on.
- Remove all temptation: if you find yourself craving salty crunchy foods, instead of keeping potato chips at home replace them with healthier crackers or papad.
Same for any sugar cravings where you replace basic milk chocolate with whole nuts, dark chocolate, peanut or almond butter.
- Control your cravings: Instead of restricting, find a way to balance your cravings, manage chocolatey cravings with protein-packed almond butter or peanut butter.
Cutting off items from your diet only makes you crave them more and binge later. You can even prepare some healthy snacks or keep dips (sweet and savoury) ready for any cravings.
- Avoid Boredom/Peer Pressure: Try not to let boredom or social influences stress you into eating food when you're not really hungry. Often, feeling lonely, pressured at work, bored or just feeling blank makes us lurk in our refrigerator and make bad decisions.
- Keep your overall health in check: emotional eating can be a result of mental, physical or just situational triggers. Keeping yourself physically fit and mentally at peace can make a world of difference.
What does it mean when you are stress eating❓
Anxiety loves sugar. The caffeine and sugar mix gives your body short term serotonin and your body uses that craving as a way to cope.
You'll often notice people struggling with anxiety are also heavy coffee drinkers and love sugary foods.
Sugar gives us an instant rush and suppresses the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis of the brain.
This is how sugar controls stress but the negative impact of it is how addictive or dependent we become. We need to look for healthier ways to manage stress instead of giving in to cravings.
So when you're stressed, try to take a moment of introspection, take one strong step to eat a healthier option like almond butter on toast, smoothie, your favourite fruit, or keep some whole-grain crackers handy.
What to eat to relieve stress
Before answering this question, there are two things you need to know - first, food alone is neither the solution nor the problem. Your stress is a combination of your mental and physical fitness.
Second, no change will happen overnight. Learning how to eat healthy when stressed is not easy, it takes a lot of patience and commitment but you must realise the value of taking that step.
Consuming sugar gives us instant relief and then our energy crashes completely. The result is a dependency on sugar for happiness, consumption of unnecessary calories, and guilt.
Eating the right food will curb your actual cravings like that of magnesium, proteins and minerals. Sure you crave a taste or texture but there are healthier alternatives to chips and chocolate.
Cooking yourself balanced nutritious meals can help you enjoy the process, know what you eat, make it healthy (and delicious!), and alter proportions of proteins to suit yourself best.
Why do we eat when we are stressed❓
Finding the right healthy alternative for stress is a game of nutrients and finding the element of fun in it. No one is asking you to eat bland salads, make them interesting with new recipes, challenge your palate!
Here are some easy things you can eat when you're stressed -
- Peanut butter or almond butter on toast: it's chocolatey, nutty, crunchy and warm. It's also protein-heavy and a good toast gives you the perfect amount of carbs for a snack
- Whole nuts: any kind you like, cashews, almonds, pinenuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, maybe one chocolate-dipped almond too but not too many.
- Fish and eggs: these are the good proteins with the right amount of fat to keep you concentrated on work, get you going in the day. Not to mention how easy it is to make them!
- Dark chocolate: the antioxidants, flavanols, and magnesium in it can help balance out any stress hormones and dark chocolate is undoubtedly a more delicious alternative to regular chocolate.
You can also buy protein bars, healthy baked chips, hummus and crackers instead of resorting to potato chips or other greasy sugary food!