Emotion, Stress and Appetite – how to crave less and eat more.

If we are stressed, busy and under pressure, eating a healthy diet is an imperative. Not so easy as I have discovered recently. If I have a lot to do and my ‘to-do’ list is on my mind more than eating, I will start skipping meals. Then, I will end up snacking on things that are doing me no good.

Quick sugar fixes and caffine usually comes into play with me. I then wonder by 10.30am why I am ravenous. If you are used to ‘running on empty’, I would hold stress and anxiety as a possible culprit.

I always find if I am dealing with more stess than usual and a busy diary, I find my appetite suffers tremendously. The urge to eat disappears completely. Of course, if your stomach is tied up in emotional knots, eating will be near impossible.

Prioritise your stress load:

We all have a lot of stuff to do. It may not be as important as other things on the daily grind list so prioritising is a must. If too many things mount up, we become unable to deal with anything productively.

So we are not overwhelmed with stress and start forgetting to do really important things (like eating), we need to ensure we are on top of things. Get a pen, get the diary and organise yourself properly so you can plan your daily tasks before you feel yourself becoming swept away by them!

Stay away from convenient comfort food:

It is so tempting to eat food that is emotionally satisfying and not nutritiously good for you. Ready meals are a curse for this. Full of sugar, fat and filled to the brim with emotional comfort. If we are emotional, anxious or stressed, we will not think in a way that benefits are physiological wellbeing. Sugar rushes are not what you are craving in fact.

You probably need some carbs! The body knows what it needs and while we are right to follow our instincts when it comes to food, always ensure you are following your intuition when choosing what to eat. Cravings can lead you astray if you are not sure what it is your really need. The answers – know EXACTLY what your body is craving.

Avoid emotional eating:

How many food purchases are based on emotional eating? Loads. I remember when I left home how many ulster fries I would eat out and make at home when I was a student. Why? Simple really. My mum used to make it for the whole family every sunday and it was amazing. They tasted so good! I couldn’t wait for Sunday every week.

I don’t think I could remember feeling so much satisfaction and pleasure from food in such a way. When there was no more left, it was the worst thing ever! Crispy bacon, pancakes, fried bread and maple syrup…the worst food that could go in me and I was a glutton for more!

The key: Not allowing yourself to suffer excess stress will enable your body to respond properly to what it needs.

© Christina McDonald 2014

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