Stress is without doubt a factor that triggers the desire to eat excessively, but before we find an external “culprit” we must see if there is an internal deficiency. Emotional based alimentary addictions are sometimes hard to control and stress weight gain shortly follows. But chocolate and other food do not present addictions like alcohol or nicotine. Still these alimentary “desires” can be dangerous for people that try to lose weight or to control diabetes.
Most cravings have a biological bases. This means the body tells the brain it needs a certain something. For example, hormonal fluctuations of insulin and estrogen can cause the need to eat in excess. Many women exhibit these needs before menstruation because of increased hormonal level, meaning because of the chemical changes that occur during this period. It is also known that depressed persons eat more candy because sugar and complex carbohydrates trigger the release of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone.
The best methods against excessive eating and stress weight gain are measure (or excuse me, common sense) and time. Most of the times if we do not react immediately to a certain craving, it can pass on it’s own. These cravings are not always candy, it can be pasta, bread, potatoes or other carbohydrates that cause fluctuations in insulin levels. Sometimes the urge to consume these aliments can be an alarm signal that there is a vitamin B deficiency in the body.
But if everything is all right and there is no chemical imbalance, eliminating or at least reducing the consumption of candy and flour is necessary. This can be achieved through regular and balanced consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables, and if necessary a multivitamin supplement.
Furthermore it is good not to have the food we are trying to get out of our diet around the house. If the cravings persist, making up a “food diary” is very useful because the exact aliments we consumed can be monitored and this way the ones that trigger the cravings can be discovered. The unusual activities also must be noted. And this way, as we get to know ourselves we can explain were the imbalances come from and it will be able to make adjustments. Further more changes are good. Lets us not let stress control us, but let us control it. That way you will avoid stress weight gain for sure.
You should also read How to avoid gaining weight because of stress and Can stress determine weight gain? Is stress fattening?
January 15, 2010
Health & Motivation