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Think Before You Eat--And Stress!

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Stress combined with questionable eating habits can pack a powerful one-two punch. The truth is, though, stress often leads us to poor eating habits, which can then lead us to weight gain and discomfort in a very short amount of time.

Our personal reactions to stress and anxiety are highly individual, but when it comes to diet and health, the consequences of stress can often be uncontrolled eating or poor eating habits. This is true whether the source of stress is from a major life-changing event, or the residual build-up of a number of difficult personal events. For those of us who tend to react to stress by eating more (that‘s me, and I often don‘t notice it while it‘s happening), it's very good to focus on some positive reactions that won't lead to a cycle of unwanted weight gain and depression.

Add Some Structure to Your Life

If you're going through a tough time and your life is hectic, chances are you don't take much time to plan regular meals, don’t get enough sleep, and your energy level is low. All of this makes it very easy to just eat whatever is available and quick - poor food choices and high calorie snacks. While we don’t often have much control over the events that cause stress, we do have control over how we react, including how much we eat, and what we choose to put into our bodies.

At times like these, it's really important to build some structure into your eating habits. Some strategies that limit your choices of food and your opportunity to eat can really help when you don't have the time or mindset to think. Here's a few rules to help you keep it simple:

1. Try not to skip meals - eat at least regular three meals a day, along with a few simple snacks (like apples, a banana). Although we all try to eat less frequently to lose weight, we should all shy away from skipping meals too often and eating too little food. To do so actually stresses your body and mind more and cuts your energy levels.

2. Try to eat at the same time each day, spacing your meals and snacks out about every three or four hours. If you haven't overeaten at the last meal, you will likely be hungry within about four hours.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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