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Comfort eating – Who is to blame for?

Posted in Weight Loss 17 Jan, 2011

Not many people are familiar with the term 'stress eating', although it happens all the time. It is when you start having one or two big bites at snacks not because you are hungry, but because you are simply stressed out or tired. Also known as emotional eating, it usually occurs when you start eating under the command of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is known as 'the stress hormone' and is released in increased amount when stress levels are high. Obesity can be the most damaging consequence of stress eating. The question is, who is to blame for this, cortisol or you?

Occasional slip-ups when dieting

This is how most emotional eaters would reason to defend their habit of eating without hunger. A harsh, and maybe a bit too critical response to such reasoning would be to say that you will never get tired to justify your bad habits. And it is in your best interest that you should be telling yourself that eating is not a solution to each and every problem you might be facing in life. On the contrary, emotional eating can build up stress fat in your internal organs, which may eventually lead to heart conditions, type-II diabetes and even cancer.

Dealing with cortisol

The stress hormone cortisol does not just encourage you to overeat, but also piles up excess fat in the abdominal region. In case you don't know, fat accumulated around your waistline is very difficult to get rid of unless you do regular exercise and eat sensibly. A good way to defeat the appetite stimulating action of cortisol is to focus on stress management and healthy diet. Try to avoid stored and processed food items. Eating an apple is far better than drinking a glass of apple juice. Similarly, it is advisable to go for a grilled turkey over a processed turkey burger. Also, start and end your day with foods that contain a high amount of protein and complex carbs. They can be a healthy weight loss diet and can also keep the levels of cortisol under control.

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