You’re Not Overweight, You’re Stressed!

Did you know that stress is the silent cause of rapid weight gain in most people?  It’s a complex dynamic, which is evidenced by the need to eat huge amounts of food and the less likelihood of engaging in activities in some people. It is commonly referred to as ‘stress eating.’ In the event of life triggers- for instance death, relationship drama or financial pressure, some people seek solace in food. Lots and lots of mindless munching of comfort food- usually, junk food.

Knowing that so many suffer from stress-eating, how can one overcome it? First things first, you have to let go of things that are beyond your control. Carrying burdens in your heart and mind that at that point can’t be changed is doing yourself more harm than good. Have a positive mindset, accept things as they are, be at peace with yourself and everything will start falling back into place. It’s easy to say let go of things, but find help if possible so that you can begin to unburden yourself from baggage that doesn’t serve you.

Stress eating has nothing to do with actual physical hunger and so it is important to ensure you that you are eating the right amount of food daily. Ensure that your meals contain lots of vegetables, which contain nutrients and minerals that help the body, especially when the body is going through stress. Keep yourself well hydrated, with regular water breaks and at least 2 servings of fruit per day. Try not to mix the fruits in a salad and opt for low sugar options such as apples, oranges, strawberries and passion-fruit, to keep your insulin levels steady. The temptation to eat processed foods is unbearable, however ensuring that you are eating the right portions of healthy and wholesome meals at the right time, will help you build your willpower and resolve.

As you check on your diet, it is important to get your body moving. Yes, not many people enjoy working out, because it is tiresome. But, working out doesn’t only help you physically, but mentally as well. Exercise releases natural feel good hormones within the body, that are especially needed when going through low spells in life. One doesn’t necessarily have to go to the gym, you can do it in your house with the help of an instructor, or alone using online tutorials and apps, which are very helpful. You can also engage in outdoor activities like hiking in the forest with a group or alone. Being outdoors and especially in serene environments, is a perfect tonic for a frazzled mind.

The art of journaling has long been recommended as a tool to allow one to streamline thoughts, and mental processes. In being able to clearly express the frustrations that one is going through, one is able to unpack the confusion and begin to review the situation in a less cluttered mental space. By journaling consistently over a period of time about the issues that arise and the feelings one has, one will be able to identify specific triggers that compel one to seek comfort in food.

We live in a stressful world, and now more so than ever, finding people to talk to honestly about the good and the bad that life brings, is increasingly difficult. We fear being judged or stereotyped and to numb the pain, and loneliness, we seek gratification from junk food. Nurture the relationships you have and don’t carry the load alone. You’ll be surprised to find there are many who will walk with you- literally and figuratively- but only you if let them.

By Michelle Kahura


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