When you are feeling stressed or anxious do you notice yourself trying to soothe or calm that uneasy feeling with food? Do you notice yourself automatically reaching to nervously snack on something to make yourself feel better? If so, you’re not alone.
If you’re one of the many millions of people who are “stress eaters” then this article will help shed some light onto the habitual behavior that keeps you reaching for food instead of reaching for a more effective stress management technique.
The interesting part about stress eating is that it never really helps. It may feel like a temporary relief from the real world, but eating when you’re stressed out is only more cause for concern. Now you have to worry about all those calories, the self-critical voice in your head and the uncomfortable feeling of eating when you weren’t really hungry.
Even though we may consciously know eating won’t help ease the stress—and we know that it really only makes things worse in the long run, we do it anyways. Human behavior is strange and ironic. We are driven to do something—to act out a behavior—despite the fact that very soon afterwards we won’t feel great about it. But instead of learning our lessons we go back time and time again to ineffective strategies. What’s really going on here? What are we really up against here?
Stress-Induced Eating is on the Rise
I’ve personally been a stress eater for most of my life and the more I studied this issue, the more I was amazed and came to understand that sometimes our habitual behaviors and what stands in between us and change are deeply rooted instinctual urges driving us to act in certain ways because of our make up as human beings.
Not surprisingly, research has consistently linked weight gain to stress. With stress on the rise in our culture and over two thirds of the population overweight or obese, it’s hard to deny that the consequences of chronic stress are a key contributing factor to America’s insatiable appetite and the obesity epidemic. [Read more…]