Why do we eat the way we eat when we experience negative emotions?

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When we get sad, angry or stressed we seek comfort, anything to make us feel better and deal with a situation.

When it is related to food we do one of two things; we either shut down and can't eat or we mindlessly stuff our faces with unhealthy food. 

Whether you're a starver or a stuffer, the consequences can still have a detrimental effect on your body. so why do we react in this way?

We have hormones in our body which react to stress and causes the fight or flight response and your body will react in one of two ways. 

1) Demands lots of fast acting carbs (chocolate, cakes, pizza) as it knows we need to escape this stressful situation.

2) It shuts down your digestive system as it needs to conserve energy to escape or fight.

Now the problem is, this is an evolutionary response and once we were trying to escape being an animals meal, now it's a breakup, or work-related stress but as clever as our bodies are, it can't tell the difference. 

Shut down and can't eat? Your body starts cannibalising itself for energy, meaning that weight you thought you lost, is more than likely more lean muscle than fat and you put that back on and more very quickly as soon as your emotions pick up.

Not to mention that but it also disrupts your hormones because we haven't got the fuel in our bodies to them to stay balanced. This then makes you feel more emotionally fragile and leads to a negative feedback cycle, where you don't eat, which puts pressure on your system, which makes you feel worse and so you don't eat.

If you're a stuff your face kind of person, it will be the carbs or the alcohol (also carbs) that we reach for. Again the alcohol and processed food we reach for, unbalances our blood sugar and hormones which also affect our energy, mood and makes us crave even more unhealthy foods. This is another negative feedback cycle you can get stuck in.

I've been the same, been stuck in this cycle of abusing my body when I feel sad and it's not easy as it can make you feel out of control. I've been able to learn how to manage it and shift it towards a positive one that can actually make you feel better.

1. Self-awareness of this negative feedback loop so the fact you know why you get stuck in this downward spiral can help you feel more in control. You are essentially battling against your hormones once you end up in this situation.

2. Start each day as positive as you can, even if it ends in wine and pizza the more fresh fruit and veggies you can get in is a good first step. If you undereat, opt for the healthiest foods you enjoy and can eat in small quantities. Even nibbling on berries and nuts.

3. Get outside and start moving, fresh air and just even walking can expand your mind and release serotonin, again making you feel better.

4. Get a stress buddy. Everytime time you want to grab a chocolate bar and cry, or feel sick at the thought of eating. Grab your phone and call, text, facetime your stress buddy. Choose the person who always makes you feel better. The negative spiral will soon flip to a positive.

5. Basically just get as much fruit, veg, nuts and seeds inside of you as possible. The more goodness you fill your body with, the better you will feel.

If you want to find out more about balancing your hormones for health and weightloss then get in touch now.