How does Stress Affect Your Diet?

The DA Team 31 August 2020

Modern life is stressful. There is new technology being invented all the time in an attempt to make our lives easier, but between juggling work, family commitments, a social life, and education, keeping on top of everything can still be a constant struggle. Being this busy and rushed often causes stress in a lot of people, and stress can bring about a lot of different symptoms that can seem to make things even worse.

But how can it change my diet?

Almost everyone has been in the situation where they get home after a long and horrible day, and there is nothing in the world you would like more than to simply lie on the couch, and indulge in traditional comfort food, such as a Chinese takeaway, or maybe pizza. Nights like these are okay every once in a while, but if you find yourself frequently in this situation, then it is going to start having an effect on your health and wellbeing, and you will inevitably start to put on weight, not to mention putting your body under more strain to digest more sugars, fats, and starchy carbohydrates.

That’s not to mention the other end of the spectrum where stress can cause some people to lose their appetite completely, and they only find themselves picking up a snack every now and again. This is equally unhealthy as over-eating, as you are not fuelling your body properly or providing sufficient energy. This will mean that you’ll find yourself less able to cope with the stress you are under, and will feel considerably more run down.

However, long-term stress is intrinsically linked to weight gain. This is because when we are stressed, our bodies react the same as they would in dangerous situations, and enters ‘flight or fight’ mode. This means that the cortisol hormone is released in to the body. This is present in small, regulated amounts in your body at all times, but if you are suffering from chronic stress, elevated levels of cortisol can increase appetite and abdominal fat. It can also have a number of other negative effects, such as, decreased bone density and muscle tissue, higher blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances, as well as suppressed immunity and thyroid function.

How do you combat stress?

Managing stress can often be a lot easier said than done. However, learning how to combat stress can do wonders for your general wellbeing. Knowing you own body is key; learn to identify what triggers stress, and when you feel most relaxed.

When you are feeling stressed, it might be difficult to remain motivated on your weight loss journey, but eating healthy and taking regular exercise will actually help to combat your stress. Fuelling your body with the proper food will stop you feeling sluggish and keep you alert, and physical activity releases serotonin in to your system, which lifts your mood and make you feel more energised.

Eating little and often throughout the day will make sure that your energy levels remain constant, without bursts of energy that are followed by slumps. When you are feeling stressed you may not feel like it, but eating breakfast is important, as it will give your metabolism a boost, and help to regulate your blood sugar first thing in the morning. It is also important to eat a few portions of fruit and veg throughout the day, as these provide you with essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B that will provide you with more energy, vitamin C that will help to balance stress hormones, and magnesium that can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety.

As well as ensuring you are eating healthy, It is also important to be mindful of avoiding certain things. For example, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and smoking, are things that can affect the efficiency of how your body works. They can have contradicting effects on your energy levels, affect your sleeping habits, and even rob the body of essential nutrients.

The Dropaway diet protocol is designed to provide you with energy boosting foods, and all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs. The plan avoids excess sugar and starchy carbohydrates, while giving you a wide choice of nutritious fruits, vegetables and proteins to create your own meals. Following a diet plan such as this will significantly improve your chances of successfully losing weight, as it limits the temptation to throw together quick and unhealthy meals, which will in turn help to minimise the effects of stress on your body.