Stress is often called the "silent killer" because it can cause many serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also affect your mood, your sleep, your productivity, and your relationships. But did you know that stress can also affect your eating behaviour?
When you're stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases your appetite and makes you crave sugary or fatty foods. These foods may give you a temporary boost of energy and pleasure, but they also add extra calories and fat to your diet, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues.
The Link Between Stress and Eating Behaviour
When you're stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol (the fight or flight hormone), which increases your appetite and makes you crave sugary or fatty foods. These foods may give you a temporary boost of energy and pleasure, but they also add extra calories and fat to your diet, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues.
The good news? Stress can be tamed, and its effects mitigated with simple yet powerful practices.
Managing Stress: Simple Practices for a Balanced Life
Pause. Take a deep breath. Engaging in intentional breathing exercises can serve as an anchor amidst the chaos. These exercises, whether deep diaphragmatic breathing or calming box breathing techniques, help calm the nervous system and reduce stress levels.
You can try the 4-7-8 breathing technique, where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes to feel more relaxed. Box breathing, inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and then hold for 4.
Exercise isn't just for physical health—it's a powerful stress buster. Whether it's a brisk walk, yoga, or a dance session in your living room ( I love Zumba ), movement releases endorphins, our body's natural mood elevators, alleviating stress and boosting overall well-being.
Finding a quiet moment to centre yourself through meditation or mindfulness practices can work wonders. It's about tuning into the present moment, allowing thoughts to pass without judgment, and embracing tranquillity amidst the chaos. If you'd like to listen to a relaxing session, click here.
Self-care isn't a luxury; it's a necessity, especially during stressful times. Engage in activities that nourish your soul; read, paint, take a soothing bath, or indulge in hobbies that bring joy. Anything that makes you smile...even if that means a long lie-in.
Planning Healthy Snacks:
Here's a proactive approach—plan your healthy snacks. By prepping nutritious options in advance, you create a buffer against stress-induced impulse eating. Opt for nourishing choices like fruits, nuts, or veggies with hummus. I use this with my 1:1 clients, and it works really well.
These are some of the practices I found helpful to stop eating stress and improve my well-being. I hope they will help you too. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and you have the power to change your habits and your life. You deserve to be healthy and happy, and I'm here to support you along the way.