Why Do You Eat?
We all deal with stress. And we each have our own way of dealing with it. A very common way to deal with stress, especially chronic stress, is eating. When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, another hormone that is released is ghrelin a hunger hormone.
Ghrelin stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, this tells the body that it wants to eat. Cortisol is what triggers our food cravings such as salty, sweet, and fried. In other words, when you are feeling stressed, you have an intense desire for foods that give you pleasure and a burst of energy.
However, how do you know when you are eating because you are hungry and when you are driven by stress?
What is Stress Eating and Physical Hunger?
There are a few differences between eating when you are stressed out and eating because your body physically needs food. However, when you are stressed it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference. Here are some of the main differences between and stress eating and when you physically need to eat.
- When you are hungry because of stress, it comes on suddenly and feels overwhelming. Physical hunger comes on more gradual and doesn’t demand to be instantly satisfied. When you are physically hungry, all food sounds good. You just want to eat. However, when your hunger is due to stress you will crave specific foods, such as pizza or chocolate.
- When you are eating due to stress, you are typically eating mindlessly without really thinking about how much you are eating. (Like when you eat the whole bag of chips). However, when you eat for physical needs, you tend to be more aware of how much you are eating and when you are full. Read More