Food Habits that Signal Stress and How to Combat Them

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We all get stressed now and again. Whether it be relationships, work, family or just general life, many things can affect our stress levels. A sure sign that you are feeling stressed is a change in your eating habits.

These changes can differ from person to person, and in this post I will detail a few common ones and how to combat them.

Overeating

Overeating is a common side effect of being stressed. Many people will experience this at some point in their lives. In this situation, people use the consumption of food as a way to fill their need for something good in their lives. 

They could overeat on unhealthy foods such as fast food and sweet things (most common) or they could overeat in general with larger portions and snacking during the day.

Many people say that they use food to fill a hole inside them.

A way of combatting this is to keep a food diary. Now of course you don’t have to always be precise with a food diary, you can tailor it to your own needs and normal diet. However it is a good thing to know what you are eating and a rough knowledge of the calories you are consuming. If the number of calories is over about 2200 then you know that you are overeating and should cut back.

Under-eating

Another common side effect of stress is under-eating. Many people become so focused on their work and on their stress levels, that eating goes out of their heads entirely. It is an inconvenience that they don’t have the mental head space for at that point in their lives.

Now, just like overeating, under-eating is very bad for your health and can increase your stress levels as your body has to work harder to do the same things it was doing on a full stomach.

A way to combat this is to make a meal plan and stick to it. Easier said than done I know. However, you can keep it simple with easy recipes and grab and go foods such as fruit and granola bars. 

Carbs

We all know about carbs. The devils food. So tasty and yet apparently so bad for us. A sign of increased stress levels is an increase in carb intake.

Carbs satisfy us with their taste and their texture, alongside the feeling of being comfortably full that follows. They are usually simple foods that are easy to make and this is why people who are stressed tend to favour them.

Now even though your body does need carbs to function, too many can be detrimental to it. You might get too full on carbs and then not eat protein or fruits, vegetables etc. When consumed in bulk, they can also lead to excessive weight gain which puts strain on your already stress body.

Combatting an over intake of carbs is a little more tricky. One way of combating it is through once again, meal planning and making sure that you know what you are putting into your body. 

Another way is to increase your intake of protein and vegetables. Protein and vegetables will fill you up and keep you going throughout the day. Eating more meats and vegetables, such as beef and green vegetables, will make your body run much more smoothly as well as making you feel more alert in your everyday life.

General Advice

Keeping a track of what you are eating is a healthy habit to get into, as this way you can ensure that you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins that your body requires to function properly. 

It is only when your body is functioning properly that it can really focus on reducing stress levels. The main way to improve how your body functions is through nurturing what it consumes and how it behaves. 

Making sure that you have a healthy balanced diet is essential in making your body healthy and prepared to deal with all the stress that your general life may throw at you.

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