How Stress Affects Your Nutrition & Simple Solutions
With work, family and other obligations, stress is a common part of our daily life. While stress is something we all deal with from time to time, stress can have a negative impact on your health if chronic. Overworking and under recovering can lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits, which contribute more stress, leading to a very negative stress cycle.
Picture you are facing a very tight deadline at work, you might make poor choices about what to eat, relying on refined sugars and caffeine products to help you through the day. Unfortunately, these food choices can contribute to more stress over time, as well as other health issues.
Below is a list of common bad habits people sometimes indulge in when overworked and under recovered
Drinking Too Much Coffee – People often consume numerous cups of coffee to help give them the kick in energy they need to power through the day. This keeps cortisol elevated and if consumed too late in the day affects sleep and recovery.
Solution – Limit caffeine intake and the time frame it is consumed in. Opt for water or water with lemon.
Poor Quality Foods – Due partially to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, stressed people tend to crave foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Several people are prone to turning to potato chips, ice cream or other junk foods after a stressful day.
Solution – If you know you are prone to binge eating when stressed, do not purchase those items when grocery shopping. If it’s not in the house you’ll be less likely to consume it.
Skipping Meals – Often when preoccupied with multiple projects or last-minute meetings, cortisol raises impairing hunger to allow to you stay focused. This comes at the expense of blood sugar swings and dysregulated hormones.
Solution – Block of time periods for you to take a break walk around and ensure your drinking water and eating. Don’t let a project take over your lunch break. This is your time to recover and fuel yourself to be more productive.
Mindless Snacking: On the other side, stress can make some individuals become emotional eaters, not because they are hungry but because they receive comfort. This leads to an increase in calories and usually not an increase in physical activity.
Solution – Don’t keep snacks in your office and ask yourself the next time, am I really hungry or am I just bored/stressed?
Fast Food – With so many options everywhere we go it’s easy for us to grab a quick bite to eat. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of consuming foods often highly processed or containing sugars, not to mention it costs significantly more than planning making a meal ahead of time.
Solution – Plan to grocery shop and make your meals for the week. This way you’ll always have access to high-quality meals.