June 16, 2024

Is Stress Eating You or Are You Eating your Stress? By Tammy Beasley

STRESS – just the word can make your heart beat faster, blood pressure rise, and mood turn irritable. And stress can make you turn to food too, to feel better. It’s true that stress burns more energy (calories), especially the type of energy that supplies a chemical called serotonin.  This chemical helps relax and calm you, and carbohydrates start the process. This calming effect can be produced by a handful of whole-wheat crackers or fresh fruit, but often a handful of cookies is more appealing.

What can you do to STOP stress-induced eating?

Declare your desk, computer, television, loud music and any other distractions off limits until AFTER you eat something.

Plan ahead by keeping an ‘emergency snack pack’ available. Avoid higher sugar, simple carbohydrate foods as much as possible, which can actually increase your appetite even more.

Choose a combination of whole grains and lean protein such as a mozzarella cheese stick and whole-wheat crackers, or peanut butter and apple slices. If those aren’t convenient, prepare ahead by having your own trail mix of whole-wheat cereal squares mixed with slivered almonds and raisins handy.

No matter what, slow down and give yourself a 10-minute break to fuel your brain with healthy, lasting fuel to relax those stress hormones and boost your energy. And if emotions take over and you dive into a plate of brownies, clear your head by sitting down first, then slow down and savor each bite. Diffuse the quick rush and fall from simple sugars by adding protein, like a cold glass of low fat milk. Most importantly, get right back on track and don’t let guilt cloud your way. Remember it is what you do more often than not that makes a difference.

Tammy Beasley, RD, CSSD, LD, CEDRD
Rev It Up for Life

Speak Your Mind