Let’s face it. When we’re stressed it goes one of two ways. We forget to eat and starve ourselves, leading to loss of muscle mass and all the problems that go with it (about 40% of us). Or, we drive through the Dunkin Donuts drive thru for a 1/2 dozen pack that we have no intention of sharing. (another 40%)
It is becoming increasingly well documented that we have little control over these reactions and that they are hormonally driven. This particular article looks at the hormone ghrelin, whose role it is to increase our appetite under starvation. Under periods of stress, this hormone appears to increase our preference for calorie dense, low quality foods (comfort foods).
The problem is, when we’re stressed is when we need to be taking the absolute best care of our bodies, but the vast majority of us do the exact opposite. Wouldn’t it be great if we craved exercise, sleep and broccoli when we’re stressed?
Since this is obviously not the case, it boils back down to again stressing just how massively important it is to manage our stress on the front end so the bad things don’t happen. This means exercise, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, etc… In today’s society we’ve just accepted that stress is a way of life and there is little we can do to change this. This is absolutely not true. As much as we think we are stuck in our own little lives of stress and we can’t change it because it is always someone else’s fault, this is never the case. Stress kills. Accept that and change.