The Food and Mood Connection

Do you wish that you had more energy and less stress? Do you respond to stress and low energy with food, especially carbohydrates and sweets?

Such “emotional eating” may temporarily boost your spirits, but this effect is a short-lived quick fix that perpetuates chronic overeating. In his book “Calm Energy,” Robert Thayer describes how daily energy cycles fluctuate and outlines proven ways to fight the urge to eat when you are tired or stressed. Thayer believes that it is our moods, beyond nutritional needs, that signal our bodies to eat.

Eating is often our first response to a bad mood because eating is the easiest way to feel better. The more we eat to escape a bad mood, the more this becomes a habit. Moods can be managed, in fact; various forms of exercise are proven mood regulators, however; if the choice is food or exercise, the food will usually win unless we begin to understand our moods. This proactive approach to understanding and fighting overeating will help you to understand cravings and mood and establish techniques that will help you to stop emotional eating.

This is a simple concept and one that is easy to carry out. When you feel hungry, take time to check in to see if you are tired or stressed. If you discover that you feel stressed or fatigued, take a brisk walk for 10 minutes, do a breathing exercise to relax, or journal about what you are feeling.  Once you are in touch with what is truly going on with you, chances are that you will discover that you are not hungry. The brisk walk will energize you if you are tired, reduce your cravings for sweets and carbohydrates, and the breathing exercise will help you to become refocused so that you can continue on with your day.

Another technique is to go to the closet and hold whatever you were craving in your hands. Close your eyes and ask yourself” do I really want this, will this nourish me and give me the results I desire? These simple techniques will prevent emotional eating and help you to stay energized, happy and nourished.

WRITTEN BY: Marlene Dickinson
Holistic Wellness Coach/Consultant
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition/Food as Medicine

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