April 20, 2012

Eating Habits Dictated by Stress and Anxiety are Unhealthy

Filed under: Eating Healthy — Tags: , — mjones @ 8:35 pm

How often have you binged on yummy fast food without really feeling hungry? Then it is time to analyze the quality of your lifestyle that you are leading. Research shows that women who experience higher stress levels are more prone to becoming obese than their no-stress counterparts. Women who are totally burned out due to stress, anxiety, and depression, tend to eat in excess, more out of habit than out of hunger. The main reason for this behavior is the general comfort feeling that they get out of food. This behavior is called ‘Emotional Eating’ and those engaging in it can ‘burn out.’ The upside to it is the feeling of comfort, while the downside is the tendency to become obese, and a reluctance to adopt healthy eating.

The Underlying Logic in Emotional Eating

The results gathered from a survey of people lists some reasons why women start eating comfort food. Most of the time, it is how we feel, that decides our determination to eat healthy food. So negative feelings emerging out of unemployment, work-life balance, stress and anxiety at home, work related pressure etc may fuel the consumption of comfort food. A widely distributed survey also reveals that when you are happy, pizza or steak may be a popular choice. When you are depressed, cookies, chocolates or ice-creams may tempt you. At times when you are bored, potato chips beckon you.

Also emotional eating turns out to be a vicious cycle where you might eat unhealthy to relax and feel at peace. And the same food might actually leave you a tad glum. When this cycle continues unbroken, obesity is its direct consequence. Studies show that women who continuously consume comfort food are more reluctant to give it up for better habits than those who are not so much under stress.

How do we adopt healthy living?

One of the first steps to switch to a healthy diet is to identify true hunger and pseudo-hunger. Emotional hunger is like a sudden pang of hunger where as physical hunger mounts gradually. Eating in spite of your stomach being full is due to your effort to soothe those negative feelings in you. Whenever the temptation to binge arises, try indulging in your favorite activities like sports or connecting with an old friend or just go for a walk and finish up any unfinished household chores, since these are great stress busters. Once you are in control of your feeling of hunger, the next step is to do some research and decide upon the perfect diet that would suit you. The last and final step is to follow it with some will power. These above steps will definitely get you out of the vicious circle.