There is a terrible circle of events that relates psychological stress to poor eating habits, but understanding how that cycle feeds upon itself is the first step toward breaking it and emerging as a stronger, healthier person.
People under stress face dramatically increased likelihoods of developing eating disorders; disorder behaviors in general present themselves as coping mechanisms, and eating disorders are among the most prevalent. However, unlike healthy mechanisms for coping with psychological stress, stress eating actually exacerbates the problem, amplifying the triggers that led to the psychological stress in the first place.
Poor nutrition can make stress worse; no matter what external forces are driving a person’s stress, be it work, school, family, money or broader cultural and societal pressures, unhealthy behavior such as stress eating can have the effect of digging an even deeper hole. The notion that “comfort food” can salve the ills a stressed person might be experiencing can lead to the breakdown of health from inadequate nutrients, as well as the bad effects seen from the typical food people suffering from stress eating disorders turn to: specifically, high calorie, high fat, high sugar and high carbohydrate foods.
Stress eaters know, on some level, that they’re damaging themselves and making the situation worse; but often the drive to step out of the cycle and re-engage a healthy lifestyle is overwhelmed by the circle of stress where things become worse and worse.
The first step in alleviating stress is to recognize it cannot be “eaten away” with so-called comfort foods that lack the nutrition the body needs to keep itself healthy. The next step is to work with a physician to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses diet as just one part of an effective stress management process. For more information and to begin to break out of this destructive cycle, contact us today!