Let’s go straight to the thing.
Overeating is the most important reason for those extra pounds and obesity (besides some medical problems).
You can’t lose weight if you don’t have a balanced diet and stop overeating.
And the most common reason for overeating is stress.
The term is stress eating or emotional eating.
What is stress eating?
A large number of people become obese because when they are nervous and stressed they seek consolation in food.
Stressed people eat uncontrollably. (1)
When you have emotional problems, for example, you seek comfort in sweets because sugar acts as a drug to your brain.
No matter what the reason is, you need to find a way to suppress your appetite and reduce hunger.
Everyone defines stress differently but the general definition of stress is a condition in which we encounter ourselves physically and mentally overwhelmed.
The result of that condition is increased levels of cortisol.
That leads to an increased heartbeat, faster blood flow in the brain and muscles, dilated pupils, palm sweating, increased blood sugar.
And all of that can make you feel unable to cope with stress which leads to damaging your health.
High levels of stress result in bad decision making.
These are the most common mistakes stressed people tend to make.
7 most common emotional eating (stress eating) causes:
1. Working late
If the reason for your stress is a work task, you probably stay late at work or you bring your work home.
Even when you decide that it’s enough for that day, the difficulty you have because of unfinished business can cause insomnia and you will wake up every few hours until your alarm clock finally rings.
So, you end up tired and sleep deprived which makes you eat more.
How to stop stress eating at work?
Don’t keep an unhealthy snack at your desk, drink plenty of water, and bring your own healthy lunch at work, or try some office exercises.
2. Food is your comfort
There is a reason for the term ‘comfort food’.
When you are stressed, you eat more greasy or sweet food.
As time goes by, you need more unhealthy food to feel satisfied, which leads to addiction, as with alcohol or other substances.
That way food isn’t just comfort.
Stress increases the levels of the cortisol hormone, and when the levels are high the control center which regulates many processes in your body, such as your appetite, period, growth and temperature, doesn’t work as well as it should.
Furthermore, the hormones that regulate hunger are also disturbed and that affects your metabolism.
3. You skip exercising
Going to the gym is an obligation that requires discipline, and when we feel down, we’d rather stay at home.
People that are chronically stressed are less active compared to other people.
So, remember even slight exercises help relieve you from stress.
4. You try to relax by drinking alcohol
You think that only alcohol can calm you down and distract you from negative thinking, but the effect is momentary and it can leave consequences.
If you drink to relieve stress, bear in mind that chronic stress is proven to be a risk factor in getting addicted to alcohol or other substances.
In addition, when you drink alcohol you intake extra calories.
5. You eat while doing something else
If you eat while doing something else, for example working at your desk, you probably won’t even remember that you have eaten.
When you focus on your meal, taste, and smell of your food, you slow down, appreciate your meal and enjoy every bite which makes you happier.
When you eat food and you are fully aware of it, you eat more slowly, intake fewer calories, and you know when you are full and when it’s time to stop eating.
6. You skip meals
Skipping meals won’t reduce the intake of calories.
When you are stressed you choose less healthy food.
People who skip meals rarely choose fruit, vegetables, or other healthy options.
Instead, they eat salty, processed food and they drink sodas, or other drinks high in sugars.
7. The TV becomes your ally in the battle against stress
Movies, videos, social networks can give you a certain relieve from stress and they can be relaxing, but staring at the screen for a long time can have negative effects on your physical and mental health.
Lying in front of the TV for hours can be the cause of ‘sitting disease’ which increases the risk of chronic diseases, including obesity.
Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress since it reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases.