How Does Stress Affects Hunger and Weight?

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Some people lose weight when under stress because they feel like they’ve lost their appetite and just don’t take the time to make themselves balanced meals. The more they eat the wrong foods, or too few meals, their bodies react by adding to the stress level when not nourished properly.

On the other hand, other people give in to eating comfort foods high in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. They slowly gain weight, which is detrimental to their health as well as their stress.

If they allow themselves to get too hungry, their lower blood sugar makes them want to eat anything in sight. We are much better off if we eat smaller meals more often during the day and keep our blood sugar on a better level.

Actually writing down your menus is a big help and takes a lot of planning and stress off your mind. Keep those menus and rotate between them to save yourself a lot of time and thinking.

The Right Eating to Overcome Stress

Make better food choices. Some of the foods that are considered “power foods” are dark leafy greens, dark orange vegetables, legumes, nuts, yogurt, citrus, other fruit, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, etc.

Watching portions and eating the smaller healthy meals will help your body and brain to combat stress.

The Wrong Things to Eat if Under Stress

Caffeine and sugar are known to make people “hyper”. Limit your caffeine in coffee and soft drinks and also limit your sweets. Enjoy a soothing cup of hot herbal tea instead.

Carbohydrates can make you sleepy because of raising the serotonin hormone, so limit them at breakfast time in order to be more wakeful during the day. Concentrate instead on whole grain breads, cereals, and fruit or fruit smoothies.

Stress can raise the cortisol output, also, and that increases appetite and cravings for the wrong foods.

Activities to Overcome Stress

Try to be as scheduled as possible. Work into your busy day a definite time for fun activities and hobbies. That doesn’t always seem possible, but if you are determined and realize that doing that is as important as completing necessary chores, you will be much better off. Your “to do” list should be cut down into manageable parts that can be accomplished in several days and not in just one.

Taking time to read a book, or work on a puzzle, or take a bubble bath, or make a new recipe can reduce your stress level quite a bit.

Exercise (including walking, biking, swimming, etc.) is a natural antidepressant and is good for you in so many ways and increases important brain chemicals.

Going out and socializing with people is a wonderful way to make yourself feel better. Think about the activities that you enjoy (bingo, a book club, a writing class, learning crafts, quilting, going to a movie, dancing, etc.) and find a group that meets weekly or monthly. When you go there and take part in the activity and talk to people who also enjoy it, it will buoy up your spirits. Plus laughing is an excellent “tonic” that allows the heart and nervous system to relax and boosts your immune system.

If you are pretty much housebound due to physical ailments or having no transportation, write to family and friends. There is snail mail and e-mail. Looking forward to their replies and taking part in ongoing conversations can put a bright spot in your day.

Live in the Present

Try to concentrate on what is happening right now and don’t worry about future obligations, your family members’ welfare in an obsessive way, a friend or spouse who is giving you problems, and other such aggravating situations. Think about NOW and relieve your brain of stressful thoughts.