Stress and anxiety have long been known to have a negative impact on our weight, but why and how does that happen?
Well, negative emotions like stress and anxiety create a general feeling of unease, which causes us to look for ways to alleviate that.
This, in turn, can lead to compulsive overeating – which is when we consume large amounts of food in a short time. For obvious reasons, compulsive overeating, or binge eating, is a surefire way to gain weight fast, so it’s important to know what can cause it, in order for us to get better at preventing it.
Anxiety isn’t as directly tied to weight gain as stress is, but it can indirectly have just as big of an impact – or bigger – because of how often and easily it leads to overeating.
When people feel anxious, they tend to look for a way out. Just remember the next time you’re feeling this way, if you get a sudden urge to eat something, the best option is to look for a healthier escape.
Try taking a few deep breaths to calm down, read, or listen to calming music. If that doesn’t work, a reasonable compromise you can try is eating just two squares of high quality chocolate.
Two squares isn’t a lot, and if you get chocolate with more than 50% (preferably more than 80%) pure cocoa, it should be enough to calm your cravings.
Unlike anxiety, stress can go as far as to have a direct influence over our weight gain, by increasing circulating cortisol.
Aside from that (and much like anxiety), it can lead to sudden cravings and impulsive overeating.
In either case, a good way to minimize those effects is working out regularly. Working out is not only a healthier habit we can develop to replace compulsive eating, but it may also work as generally effective countermeasure to stress.