It has been said that even if you are exercising well and maintaining a good diet, high levels of stress can lead to unsuccessful weight loss or even weight gain.
The reason behind it is that our brain responds to stress, after a stressful day it releases hormones, like adrenaline (also known as the flight or fight hormone) and cortisol, that taps into the stored energy, even if your body is not burning any calories and this is one of the reasons why feel hungry, as long as you are stressed the body keeps pumping cortisol, and the hunger mechanism continues.
Some tips to overcome this stress eating or binge eating as we know are-
1- Move your muscles- moving your muscles can work as an effective stress releaser. Just like the cortisol, it can fool the body into believing that you’re escaping the stressful situation. It has been noticed that even the slightest of activities like walking can help reduce the hormone level to a considerable amount.
Doing push-ups or any activity at such a time can prove to be beneficial.
2- Slowing down at mealtimes- when stressed, we tend to hog down a lot of food and go for a larger portion which can be harmful. Slowing down and savouring each bite can help you pay attention to the food you’re eating and make you aware. This awareness of fullness can help lower the levels of cortisol in the body, decreasing chances of belly fat and binge behavior, and shifting the fat distribution away from the belly.
3- Strict diets and restrictions- Being on constant and strict diets are known to be a reason for the rise in cortisol levels, this messes with the blood sugar level too. If your sugar level plummets and your brain is deprived of sugar, then no amount of self-control will help you against binge-eating.
4- Rewarding- staying in control is important, and during stressful periods it’s fine to yield a little, and indulge in your cravings, as long as it happens in a controlled, calm manner. If you have genuine trouble restraining yourself, you should take precautions and necessary actions so you don’t end up binge eating.
5-Caffeine and breakfast- increased caffeine intake during times of stress are known to increase the levels of cortisol considerably. People who have issues with caffeine should quit it altogether. Having deficiencies of vitamin B and C, calcium, or magnesium can also lead to stress in the body. Eating a good breakfast, high in nutrients can be help fight against stress, like orange juice, grapefruit, or strawberries for vitamin c, yogurt for calcium and magnesium, and whole grains for vitamin B.
All of these can be helpful in preventing any stress and understand our body and its cravings well.