Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

How stress and food cravings are related.


Stress is a huge problem for most of us and if you want to lose weight and you´re following any program but for some reason you can´t stop eating, stress may be the reason.

Stress makes you eat, you may have heard of emotional eating which is something I´m sure you´ve done, use food to cope with stressful and emotional situations. You don´t need to feel like a failure, guilty or ashamed, I´m done this too and a lot more people but if you want to lose weight and improve your health you need to change that pattern.

Now, I need to mention that overeating is not completely your fault. There´s a reason why when you feel stressed, down, depressed, anxious, bored you go for unhealthy foods, this foods are high in unhealthy fats, loaded with sugar and extra ingredients to make them taste delicious but they also create addiction, they make you feel good by activating the reward center of the brain but this only last for a couple hours and then you want more of those comfort foods creating a vicious cycle.

I´ve mentioned in a past post that stress is good and we need some of it, if stress is used the right way it actually shuts down appetite because your body goes to the fight or flight response and turns off some systems and functions in your body that are not necessary at the moment and one of those is eating, but the problem comes when that stress remains high. When this happens other hormones on your body are affected by the chronic stress, hormones like insulin, cortisol, ghrelin play a huge role on how much you eat and if they´re out of sync you eat more.

So stress affects your hormones which leads to food cravings especially unhealthy foods and all the unhealthy fats and sugar that those unhealthy foods contain also affect your hormones and cause addiction so both of this situations lead to a negative cycle of overeating which not only makes it impossible for you to lose weight but also to maintain optimal health.

There are 2 ways you can stop this negative cycle, one of those is by lowering stress and the other by changing your diet. Here´s one tool to help you reduce stress:

1.- Breathing exercises.- Taking a couple of minutes every morning or every night or even when you´re feeling stressed out to do some breathing exercises is a great way to lower stress. You don´t need to do anything complicated just stop what you´re doing and bring your mind to focus on your breathe, take a slow deep breathe in, hold it for a couple of seconds, and slowly breathe out. Dot his 4 or 5 times and you´ll feel more relax and calm.

Every time you start feeling stressed and you catch yourself eating, the moment you catch yourself ask if you are really hungry or if you´re feeling any negative emotion or stress, if you´re not hungry leave whatever you´re eating and take some deep slow breathes.

If you ask the question every time you eat you´ll find out that there are many cases that you´re eating to cope with a negative emotion, because you´re tired, bored or you´ve made it a habit but you´re not really hungry so if you´re not hungry leave the food down and go do other stuff.

To stop cravings by changing your diet here´s what you need to do:

1.- Eliminate all unhealthy seed oils, and sugar. For this you need to read labels if you´re going to buy food that comes in a package, make sure to read the ingredients parts because that´s where you find out if that product contains something you need to avoid. If you want to take it to the next level and get rid of those cravings fast then just eat healthy fats and protein, just eat meat, eggs, bacon and some nuts especially pecans, coconut oil and olive oil. Going carnivore for a period of time is a great way but it´s so hard to get through it so if you don´t want to go carnivore which I´m not recommending go for meat and healthy fats as I mentioned before.

Remember that if you want to make a change to your diet you need to talk to your doctor or care professional first.

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