Studies have shown that stress activates processes in the body that are responsible for digestion and receiving rewards in the form of food. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the case of experiences, we look in the direction of the refrigerator. Pink explains how to correct this.
The practice of seizing stress is laid down on many levels at once. In addition to all these childhood habits (“Don’t cry, here’s a cookie!”) and socio-psychological attitudes (“Don’t be sad, eat a chocolate bar!”, “Stop being sour, let’s go eat pizza!”), physiology puts pressure on us.
It has been found that cortisol, a hormone that is present in our blood during chronic stress, triggers the process of active food intake and accumulation of fat mass. The mechanism is laid down in the process of evolution: in case of danger and anxiety, you need to provide the body with the maximum supply of fat-you never know what’s next.
In particular, in countries where there is access to food and at the same time a high level of stress, the problem of obesity is more common.
Of course, it is not easy to resist all this. And first of all, it would be good to reduce the number of stressful situations and increase your resistance to them. But obviously, this is not always possible. Therefore, we will proceed from what we have: problems of overeating under stress. Here are some approaches that can help solve this problem.
Even knowing that you’re overeating because of stress can help you control your eating habits. Before ordering a huge burger or an oversized pizza, questions can be very useful: “Do I really want this or is this an attempt to eat stress? Why don’t we start with the salad and then we’ll see?”
2. Food diary
One more step towards awareness. You can use it to record what mood you were in and what you ate at that moment. Over time, this practice can teach you to pay more attention to satiation in times of despair and stress.
3. Extra caution in the evening
It’s no secret that in the evening we often stop controlling ourselves and overeat. Most at risk are those who decide to drink a little alcohol with dinner. Given this, you can try to replace the habit of relaxing with a glass of some other. And in order not to overeat, it is better to prepare healthy snacks for the evening in advance.
4. Watch your portion sizes
Experiments have shown that people who eat from small plates, their portion seems larger than it actually is. This also works in the opposite direction: on a huge plate, even an impressive amount of food can look modest. Usually, a serving of about 200-300 ml is optimal for our stomach (not counting leafy vegetables and other products that give a large volume in unprocessed form). Get small serving plates that will help you focus on this value.
5. Don’t take long breaks from eating
If you are hungry, eat. Do not expect that it is worth being patient for a couple of hours and the hunger will pass. Most likely, after a couple of hours, it will only be stronger, and the risk of overeating will be greater. Portion control at the same time will help not to gain excess weight. The good old advice of gastroenterologists-to eat often in small portions-is also relevant here.
6. Indulge yourself
Sometimes, when we are upset, we eat only to get some pleasant sensations. Therefore, a pan of fried potatoes or a bag of cookies may end up “unnoticed” — because you will only feel the taste at first, eating the first few spoons or pieces, then there will be mechanical absorption. Indulge yourself with new dishes, explore exotic spices and seasonings, and experiment with flavors. A very small portion with many flavors, smells and textures can give you more impressions and taste sensations than a pot of macaroni and cheese.
7. Find useful alternatives
If you find it comforting to crunch something, try nibbling cucumber or celery instead of chips. Do you like desserts? Start cooking yourself, with natural ingredients, with a minimum of flour and sugar. Do you feel safe when you eat a “cozy” stew with potatoes, like your grandmother used to cook? Replace most of the potatoes with less nutritious vegetables: zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers.
8. Saturate yourself with pleasant sensations
Often we associate comfort and tranquility with delicious food and a feeling of a full stomach. But you can try to rebuild yourself to receive pleasant bodily experiences in a different way. Buy home the softest to the touch blanket. Choose a shower gel with the most pleasant texture and smell. Fill your home with scents of essential oils that will send pleasant signals to your receptors. Make yourself feel good in all possible ways — they can become an alternative food source of comfort.
9. Plan your evening program in advance
Often, at the end of the working day, all we think about is a delicious dinner with a glass of wine. This becomes the most important event of the evening, which is designed to compensate us for all the failures and difficulties of the day at the expense of pleasant sensations. Of course, this is not possible, so overeating is a way to” get ” what is not received. To avoid this, in addition to thinking about a healthy snack, figure out a plan for what will help you really relax and unwind. If in the evening you still remain under the onslaught of stress and business-family, all the same work,- try to set aside at least half an hour or an hour for something that will help you feel satisfied and happy. Favorite TV series, meditation, jogging, a couple of chapters of a novel, carefree dancing, new music, a walk in nature, sex, home spa — the main thing is that you feel good.
10. Accept yourself
Dissatisfaction with ourselves and trying to meet the standards of fashion and advertising are themselves a huge stress factor that undermines our strength every day. Coming to terms with your body doesn’t mean you stop taking care of yourself. Exactly the opposite. This means that you have accepted yourself for who you are, with your experience, appearance, and habits. And you will continue to take care of your body and health-based on love and respect for yourself, not hatred. And nothing else.