One of the main reasons people turn to emotional eating is that they’re stressed out - meaning they have a high amount of cortisol being released in their body due to some unfortunate life circumstances.
Regardless of what’s bothering you, the effect on your physical well-being is the same. When you have too much cortisol, your body acts strangely. You’ll lose hair, gain weight, and turn to emotional eating to try to suppress those feelings.
Instead of eating, you need to address your stress in a different way. What you have to understand is that there is a very clear physical process going in your body when you get stressed out, and then when you relieve stress, you reverse that process.
There are many activities that you can do that have been shown to reduce cortisol production in your body, making you less stressed. However, the effectiveness of the activities varies from person to person.
For example, if you really love animals and you have pets, then you’re going to see a significant decrease in stress from spending time with them, petting them, and playing with them.
Both dog and cat owners have been shown to have lower stress levels when they’re interacting with their pets, so it’s a great activity for both you and your pets. Many people also have stress relieving reactions to certain types of music.
When they get caught up listening to their favorite songs, their bodies stop releasing the stress hormone and instead just focus on the music. It doesn’t have to be traditional calming music - just whatever it is that you really enjoy listening to, because the aim is to make you happier.
For the more athletically inclined, exercise is a proven combatant of stress. It gets your blood pumping and lets your body get distracted from whatever it is that’s making you get stressed out.
It also helps you look better and feel better. Whether it’s going for a 20 minute walk or spending two hours lifting weights, exercise is a great way to blow off steam and release endorphins.
What it really boils down to is doing something that you enjoy that’s productive, because what you’re trying to accomplish is slowing your body’s cortisol production down so that you’re not stressed out.
Whatever it is that helps you do that best is what you should do, as long as it’s healthy, unlike emotional eating. Food is something that should be enjoyable and a nutrition resource – but it should never act as a crutch to prop you up in times of turmoil.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.