Depression and stress eating| The campus magazine

Depression and stress eating| The campus magazine

Does stress eating really exist? Well, yes it does and it’s also known as emotional eating which is as a result of the stress hormone.

Not all people find comfort in exercising as a distraction to stress as people respond differently. Amazingly, many young people today find themselves eating their emotions because they are afraid of facing difficult situations or do not know what else to do. I happen to come across several victims to stress eating, Lina, a 27 year old lady being one of them admits that she has been an emotional eater for seven years now.

“My first break- up with one I truly love I can say made me adjust my food intake as my method of coping with stress which I made a habit. For me, I crave for specific junk foods when I’m upset, chocolates being my favorite. “

Stress eating can ruin weight maintenance goals as it is consuming food in response to your feelings. For a 35 year old Leonne, finds his emotions dictating his consumption of food and not his body.

“My eating in relation to stress gets out of control. This is because I associate restaurants and cafes with letting loose which give me an opportunity to eat as much as I can then call it ‘treating oneself’.”

What they regret later is that yes, that big bar of cadbury chocolate can reduce stress level but I’ll make you gain weight which will eventually lead to greater stress. Never let emotions control you.

How to overcome emotional eating

It is not as easy as it may seem for it can be a habit.

1.Understand how change happens.

It is tempting to want to make big changes first especially if you are frustrated with your eating habits too. A lot of awareness is required to implement new skills.

2.Practice self awareness.

Most importantly, pay attention to how your eating is related to your moods. Always ask yourself two questions,

Was I hungry?

Did I want that food?

This will help you identify yourself through gathering more information about yourself and ability to detect if you are a stress eater or not.

3.Know that food can solve the problem of hunger only and all other problems have got solutions.

If you are eating when you aren’t hungry or eating food you don’t want or even eating way past your fullness, there is always something else going on. If your own methods don’t stop stress eating, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

According to doctor Ian Kibet, emotional eating is a habit. When we eat sugar or other yummy foods our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. It helps to shut down the ‘thinking’ brain. When we don’t want to feel those uncomfortable feelings such as stress, anger and frustration, we often turn to something that will release that dopamine and give our brain a little break for sometime.

So then you need to figure out what else is making you feel that way, but until you figure better ways, food issues will never go away.

We all need to learn to manage stress. So sit back, relax and let things pass without you overpowering your decisions.

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Sheila Kariuki

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