In the short term, stress can suppress appetite (“I’m so nervous I can’t eat anything”) – this happens when the nervous system sends signals to the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and the primal “hit or run” response. But if the stress doesn’t go away, the adrenal glands start releasing another hormone, cortisol, which causes the desire to eat more and more often (“I think I’m full already, but I can’t stop”).
We also know how to “eat” stress, negative emotions (as well as any other emotions, by the way), anxiety, anticipation while playing at a live casino online Philippines, and so on down the list. As a rule, with the help of not the most nutritious, but calorie-dense foods. At the moment, this gives many people satisfaction and a sense of control, but in the long run, of course, it doesn’t bring anything good for health, both physical and mental.
From Comfort Food to Serious Problems
Let’s start by saying that stress eating itself is a perfectly normal story. Psychoanalytic theory also tells us this, claiming that eating through the mother’s breast is the first metaphor for the love and security that a newborn infant encounters. And the neurobiological interpretation: there is food available, so we don’t have to be afraid to starve to death.
Many of us have familiar, comfort foods that make us feel a little calmer and more relaxed when we eat them. From this point of view, relieving stress with food from time to time can even be useful. It’s a form of self-care.
But at the same time, there are several diagnoses related to eating disorders and eating disorders that include overeating: bulimia nervosa, binge eating and compulsive eating. These are serious mental disorders that often require not only therapeutic but also medication.
The problems usually begin in two cases:
When food is the only way to relieve nervous tension (or when we regularly neglect other ways).
When the amount of food we eat begins to cause anxiety, leading to significant weight gain.
For some of the diagnoses in the eating disorder cluster, it’s enough for a person to seriously overeat at least once a week for three months.
How to Cope With Overeating on Your Own
The first thing to take care of is sleep. Lack of sleep is detrimental to many processes in the body, and at the same time increases nervous tension, which makes us resort to not the most environmentally friendly ways to combat stress. But also the quality of sleep determines how well we recognize the onset of satiety and understand how much and what we now need to eat.
The second tip is to eat enough. It so happens that overeating leads not only and not so much stress. Often it makes us skip lunch, and as a consequence, a strong hunger. Or prolonged adherence to a low-calorie diet, as well as a poor menu, which doesn’t include the right amount of micro- and macronutrients. It often happens in practice that a person, having established a diet and eating a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner with one or two reasonable snacks, stops overeating altogether.
Third, try to understand the situations in which you overeat. Maybe you go on a “binge” with two or three packs of chips and a bucket of ice cream after conflicts at work or in the family. Or maybe careful menu planning, cooking, and eating is your way of procrastinating.
Finally, the moment you go in the direction of the refrigerator without feeling hungry, ask yourself:
Why am I doing this?
Am I feeling lonely and depressed right now?
Maybe I’m experiencing intense but muted anxiety? Or anger?
What can I do to deal with these feelings without resorting to food?
Make and keep in a prominent place a list of things that make you feel good and calm. And refer to it when necessary.
When It’s Time to See a Specialist
Unfortunately, with stress overeating is not always possible to cope on their own. And it depends not on willpower, but on a number of factors, including the characteristics of your personality, the length of your “friendship” with this type of eating behavior, and many others.
Here are clear signs that you should work with a specialist:
You feel like you’re not in control when you eat large amounts of food. If you feel like you’re seeing yourself from the outside, or you’re in a trance-like state, you’re going to have a hard time dealing with this on your own.
You feel shame and guilt for overeating, so you try to eat stealthily, so no one can see you.
You hate the way you look and eating is like punishing yourself.
You induce vomiting. It does not matter whether you overeated before this really bad or moderate, but if to relieve nervous tension, you get rid of food, you should see a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Also, a red flag is the fact that you are constantly “working off” what you eat at the gym or drinking diuretics or other weight loss products.
You have long been in a vicious cycle of periodic attempts to lose weight, diets, breakdowns and food “binges” that bring you back to trying to lose weight again.
And remember, eating disorders are a serious problem that often leads to serious health consequences, and sometimes even death. If you can’t get a grip on yourself, it doesn’t mean you’re lazy and slack.