Stress can have a powerful effect on your appetite and food cravings. Stress affects the way your body chooses healthy foods, how you digest those foods and how you absorb nutrients.
Poor diet contributes to stress, which, in turn, contributes to a poor diet.
For a lot of us, food becomes a mechanism for coping with stress.
For example, after a night of not sleeping followed by a day crammed with work deadlines, the stress piles up. At the end of the day, you're not going to want to cook. Instead, you decide tonight was the perfect pizza night.
It may seem harmless, but when your stress hormones are all out of whack, staying even more in tune with balanced foods is crucial.
Also, continued stress can increase your cortisol levels, stimulating feelings of hunger. Cortisol is responsible for cravings for sugar and high-fat foods.
It also contributes to the formation of fat in your midsection, putting you at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, increased blood pressure and Type-II diabetes.
Do you know what type of a stress eater YOU are?
There are two types of stress eaters: the emotional eater and the restrictive eater.
Emotional eaters often turn to food when feeling anxious, sad or lonely. Emotional eaters have a tendency to overeat at every meal, or they put off eating all day and overindulge.
If you're a restrictive eater, you are restricting your food intake altogether. This causes stress because you are forbidding yourself from eating specific foods. Restrictive eaters set themselves up for binging, stress-related eating and life-long weight fluctuations.
How do you reduce your stress?
One of America's leaders and speakers on women's health and menopause, Mache Seibel, MD, shares the relationship between stress and your eating patterns and ways to find some stress relief without turning to food.