Everyone experiences stress at one point or another. Whether it’s due to losing a job, relationship issues, or just not feeling like yourself, stress can affect each person a bit differently. And, how people deal with stress differs from individual to individual. But, methods in attempting to manage stress aren’t always healthy. And, sometimes, they even lead to the development of further, more serious problems. For example, stress eating to attempt to reduce and/or manage stress. If you find yourself stress eating in order to manage or reduce stress levels commonly, it’s important to understand the dangers of this stress management technique. And, learn how to avoid stress eating so you can deal with stress levels in another, healthier way.
Identifying What Stress Is
What exactly is stress? Basically, stress is a reaction the body uses in order to protect the body from harm or danger. When something happens that either puts our physical or emotional states in jeopardy, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol in order to quickly respond. This is otherwise known as “fight or flight” and is our defense mechanism for any dangerous situation. However, stress is usually due to an emotional danger. And, our bodies can’t always tell if we’re dealing with an emotional or physical danger, so it may react the same in either situation. People that deal with high-stress levels deal with an overactive fight or flight response. And, may identify stress as experiencing:
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened senses
- Increased blood pressure
- Tightening of the muscles
- Heaviness of the chest
Unfortunately, those with high-stress levels and/or overactive fight or flight responses may be at an increased for chronic stress. This is when a person lives with high levels of stress on a daily basis. And, sadly, these constant levels of stress can end up leading to physical illness. So, it’s important that people with chronic stress understand how to effectively and safely manage stress.
Eating to Ease Stress
What is stress eating? Basically, it’s just eating to reduce stress levels. And, while we would like to say that it doesn’t work to reduce stress levels, that would be a lie. In all reality, eating high-fat and sugary foods does help to reduce stress. That’s because cortisol, one of the hormones that lead to stress decreases when we eat these types of foods.
But, when food is used to reduce stress levels, it can become a crutch for dealing with stress. And, lead to unhealthy lifestyles and even the development of eating disorders like Binge Eating Disorder. So, while stress eating is effective, it isn’t healthy. And, those who deal with this on a daily basis should seek help to overcome this behavior.
Tips to Overcoming Stress Eating
Do you eat to ease stress levels? If so, there are some things you can try to help and stop this behavior before it turns into something worse. Some tips for managing stress eating include:
- Getting a good night’s rest so you’re ready to handle any stress throughout your day.
- Try to count your blessings on a daily basis to get a better view of how stress affects your life.
- Don’t shy away from your emotions. Work through them instead of hiding behind eating.
- Eat healthy foods and regular meals throughout the day to keep cravings at bay.
- Stay away from purchasing foods that may trigger binge or stress eating.
Getting Professional Help for Stress Eating
If you’ve tried all the tips listed above and still struggle with stress eating frequently, there is help available.
Willow Place for Women is an outpatient treatment facility that specializes in helping women who deal with eating disorders of all types. This way, women can overcome things they deal with on a daily basis so they may establish healthy lifestyles. If you’re ready to overcome stress eating and adopt a healthier mindset and lifestyle, contact us today!