When stressed out or anxious, some people turn to food as a way to comfort themselves. However, what may be soothing at the time can make you feel worse – and weigh more – in the end. If you tend to turn to food as a way to cope with a stressful situation, consider the following seven tips:
1 Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol (and don’t smoke) when stressed. These can heighten or prolong your anxiety and worsen its side effects.
2 Drink plenty of water throughout the day
3 Keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating several small, nutritious meals rather than three large ones.
4 Make sure your meals or snacks incorporate omega-3 fatty acids. Include walnuts, Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed in your diet.
5 When eating snacks, take out one portion and then close and put away the package. Leaving it open on the counter leads to continued munching.
6 Incorporate foods rich in magnesium, which helps relax muscles, into your diet. True whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds are good sources.
7 Above all, be aware of your eating habits. If you find yourself eating to combat stress, limit yourself to small portions, enough so you can savor the taste or texture. Then go for a walk or practice meditating: both are proven, healthier ways to address stress.
Hormone balance and weight
Anxiety and stress put great pressure on our hormones as they respond to the demand that these adrenaline surges make on the body. Whether it is an argument with a friend or a sudden hot flush, or anything else, your body starts to gather its resources to deal with it. Your body works on a system of priorities so it takes what it needs to deal with the stress and hormone balance comes way down the list. This is why you can find your symptoms worse without really knowing why until you sit down and think about what has happened or changed that has made the difference.
Anxiety and stress respond to the calming influence of progesterone, but for severe conditions you may find a combination cream of both progesterone and oestrogen will be more beneficial.