Do you eat when you’re stressed?
Recently I was reading Deepak Chopra’s "What Are You Hungry For?” (which I TOTALLY recommend, by the way!) and it really made me reconsider the way I think about eating.
Actually, it made me think about what I was thinking about when I eat.
Turns out, I overeat when I feel tense. And I’m not talking mentally tense, which is what I work so hard to combat. I realized I was actually physically tense and that had a connection to the amount I ate. Weird, right?
Turns out, it’s actually pretty normal.
I started focusing my attention on releasing tension in my body through the day and I’ve been REALLY surprised. I had no idea that every little stressor was adding tension to my body and by the time I sat down to eat, my brain was desperate for any kind of release.
When we eat, we naturally release dopamine (AKA the happy chemical) and that release gave me the release I was looking for. The dopamine allowed me to feel happiness, which also meant my muscles could relax, and I’m hooked to that feeling.
Probably because my body knows that, as soon as I’m done, that tension will come right back!
I decided to follow the instructions in the book to make sure I’m getting the right foods and meditation, but I also tried one more thing. I decided to take a minute or two to take a deep breath and give gratitude for my food, where it came from, and how it heals me.
The effects were immediate. I’ve started eating less at each meal (and even feeling full!) and I haven’t been getting cravings to snack in between meals. By continuously bringing myself to a place of awareness, I’ve been able to reduce my food intake significantly!
The shift was so surprising, I knew I had to bring this awareness to my blog and share it with you! In the book, Chopra provides a quiz to help you discover if you’re a stress eater and if you think this might be an issue for you, I highly suggest taking the quiz!
Are You A Stress Eater?
Deepak Chopra’s: What Are You Hungry For?
“Check the items that apply to your eating and general situation.
___ Are you a woman? (Women are more likely to be stress eaters)
___ Are you sedentary?
___ Are you lonely or isolated socially?
___ Do you snack when you’re feeling nervous or restless?
___ Do you cope with stress entirely on your own?
___ Does daily stress and strain make it hard for you to fall asleep and keep sleeping for at least 7 to 8 hours?
___ Do you find yourself grabbing food between meals to relieve boredom or pressure at work?
___ If you feel stressed, do you immediately reach for sugary, fatty snack foods?
If you checked 1-2 items, you are likely not a stress eater. You haven’t set up a feedback look between daily stress and food. A score of 5-8 items (AHEM, ME) puts you firmly in the category of stress eating. You are coping with life using food, and a feedback loop has been set up so that the more you use food for comfort, the less effective it is, leading to even more eating.”
If you are a stress eater, don’t fret! Being aware of it can only help you improve. Start noticing how tense you feel, physically, emotionally, and mentally, and give yourself a few minutes to release that tension around food.
Did you take the quiz? Were you surprised by your results? Let’s start a conversation about it! Comment below and let me know your results!