Stress, Anxiety and Emotional Eating – What it Means to You

It’s accepted that stressors are present everywhere today. In fact, stress is more prevalent in our highly complex and technologically advanced society than it’s ever been. That being said, perhaps one of the most important elements of maintaining healthy body weight is in understanding the impact of stress and anxiety on our body and how it contributes to weight gain that can lead to obesity.  While some stress is actually good and necessary, unchecked excessive stress and anxiety may lead to reactive, emotional eating. Even more alarming is that over time emotional eating can manifest into far more dangerous disorders such as binge eating disorder and bulimia.

Stress Increases Appetite

Keep in mind that those with chronic sleep disturbances, excessive irritability, restlessness, muscle tension or anyone who becomes easily fatigued may be experiencing unhealthy levels of excessive stress or a host of other anxiety disorders. When stress becomes a problem it can have a direct impact on appetite. Taking it a step further, not only can stress increase appetite but it can also drive a person to seek out specific types of foods that are known to promote excessive weight gain. Stress, anxiety, depression and other kinds of similar disorders hijack our willingness and motivation to make healthy food choices.

Food Becomes a Drug

One of the unique aspects of how stress triggers the desire for certain types of foods is that it tends to entice people to specifically eat high calorie foods that offer a comforting and satisfying taste. Research has shown that these foods actually result in the suppression of the feelings of stress or anxiety. In effect, in the brain foods high in fat and sugar acts similar to opiate drugs. An individual can easily develop both an emotional and physical dependency. One of the most alarming aspects of this eating cycle or pattern is that it’s very difficult to break cycles and habit patterns. Another problem that emerges is that as people develop an overweight condition (metabolic disorder) their desire for larger amounts of more and more unhealthy foods only increases.

Anxiety Induced Excessive Weight Gain

As a person gains excessive weight, social anxiety is typically added to the equation. This unfortunately tends to exacerbate the problem making anxiety and compulsive eating feel even more uncontrollable. In addition, weight discrimination and the effects of low self-esteem and poor self-image as a result of being overweight can cause serious lasting psychological problems. The good news for those suffering with stress and anxiety induced weight gain is that there is help! The BreakThrough! psychological program comprehensively addresses common causes for emotional eating and teaches participants coping skills that help end unhealthy behaviors. Contact BREAKTHROUGH! today to learn more about their unique weight loss and wellness programs.