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Posted on: March 27, 2019

Start April Taking STRESS Seriously

Stress Awareness 1

As we wrap up National Nutrition Month and move into Stress Awareness Month (April), let’s take a breather. (Whew) Okay, its clear nutrition and stress are important topics – both affecting our lives in one way or another.

Stress is a natural response and often happens when you need a burst of energy or are responding to a dangerous situation. Our bodies go into “flight or fight” mode in stressful situations and produce hormones like cortisol until the situation is over. Cortisol suppresses appetite for the short term, but can have the opposite effect on the body if levels remain elevated.

Chronic stress puts your body in overdrive and can lead to a number of issues, including overeating.

Signs of a Stress Eater
In an American Psychology Society’s “Stress in America” survey, 42% of the people reported being stress-eaters. Chronic stress is an epidemic in the U.S. Here are some signs stress is driving your urge to snack; you:Stress Awareness 2

  • Eat when you’re not hungry
  • Eat when you feel overwhelmed
  • Eat to make yourself feel better
  • Think of food as a security blanket in times of stress
  • Have difficulty staying away from food when stress levels are high

Dangers of Stress Eating
Eating in response to stress is known to cause physical, mental and emotional side effects, including:

  • Cravings for comfort foods high in sugar, salt and fat
  • Weight gain
  • Increased insulin and A1C levels
  • Higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or self-hatred

3 Tips to Stop Stress Eating
Here are ways to help break the cycle:

  • Know your reasons – Identifying the source of stress can help you find ways to deal with the issue.
  • Know your triggers – Certain activities, situations or people can trigger stress and emotional eating.
  • Have an alternate plan – Plan how you’ll handle stress before it starts! Try yoga, walking or bike riding, spending time with family and friends or starting a journal.

Once you’re able to recognize your triggers and real reasons for stress eating, you can work on creating a healthier relationship with food and healthy stress management techniques.


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