Causes of Stress Eating and Possible Prevention

The American Psychological Association estimates most people live with a stress level of 8 out of 10. Stress initially decreases appetite by causing an increase in adrenaline but if the stress persists, cortisol is produced. Cortisol ramps up everything, including appetite. Once a stressful situation is over the cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress persists, the cortisol may get stuck in the “on” position. (1)

Cortisol is known to cause sugar and fat cravings, possibly to create energy for “fight or flight”. These food preferences coupled with the tendencies to sleep less, exercise less and drink more alcohol all contribute to weight gain. Women tend to turn to food and men tend to turn to alcohol. Active stress correlates with weight gain. Some people produce more cortisol and they are more prone to weight gain.

Since we know that stress causes weight gain, we need coping mechanisms to stop it before it starts.

Do not keep “trigger foods” in your area.

Exercise, it tends to burn through the cortisol.

Get social. Positive friends and family naturally buffer the effects of long term stress. Just make sure that they are positive. Negative input can set you way back. Don’t associate with people that you don’t want to be like. We tend to acquire the habits of those around us by a process known as “social contagion”. Make sure that if you catch something, it’s something that you want to catch! Health minded people like our Followers will help keep you on top of your game. Visit often and be active, comment, join the “Topics ” discussion forum and download the Calorie Counter Pro. Search for topics of interest and recipes. At David’s Way, you are in good company. We reply to your comments and questions. ;-*


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Great advice!

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Thank you, Diane!

  2. David Yochim says:

    Great words of advice!

  3. Brenda Sue says:

    Thank you, David!

  4. Pam says:

    Love your article here… I am a stress eater, but I’ve worked hard to overcome it. Some days are better than others. Sugar is like crack to me, so I keep very little of it on hand at my house. I’ve also worked hard at keeping processed foods out of my home…i keep my fridge stocked with fresh or frozen veggies, on my counter, you will always some fresh fruit. I find that by doing this, it helps me grab for something healty to eat rather than the 1st carb filled, thing (chips) on the shelf in my pantry.

    1. Brenda Sue says:

      Hi Pam! BRAVO! for all your hard work! You are doing all the right things, the first one being that you recognize that you have to work at this. The saying “Being overweight is hard, Losing weight is hard. Choose your hard.” is true. It’s work finding what works. Once we get the sugar out of our diet, it gets easier because cravings begin to diminish. The processed foods use up calories but don’t satisfy. Keep up the good work! Exercise that is approved by your doctor will also help with stress eating. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! ♥️

    2. David Yochim says:

      Love having you here to read, and the positive affirmation that our work is worth while. We are trying to do our part to create a healthier world.

      I too have been known to be a stress eater, when my Post Traumatic Stress has flaired up in years past, I have found myself sitting onmy kitchen floor with a spoon and a jar of Nutella. This is anecdotal as correlation is not always causation, but since having gone completely sugar free I no longer get as stressed as I used to, and I certainly never get cravings any longer.

      It seems you have a grasp on what to do about what to have in the house and what to limit, kudos to you.

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