Chronic overeating and emotional struggles with our body and food trigger our stress response. Stress chemicals also make it much more difficult to manage our eating and weight in a healthy way. Rebecca Schauer, RDN Find Freedom with Food

Lose Weight by Reacting to Stress In a New Way

How do you react to stress?

Learning to deal with stress positively can make it much easier to manage your weight.

Stress triggers the flight or fight response in our nervous system. However, in today’s world, what we stress about is typically not something we need to actually fight with, or flee from, in order to save our life.

Today, our day-to-day stress is typically work deadlines, misplaced keys, running late, making a wrong turn, stuck in traffic, arguments with friends, kids, or family.

Chronic overeating and emotional struggles with our body and food, also trigger our stress response.

Emotional stress usually comes from two main emotions: anger or fear, and the different forms of those.

Anger and fear-based emotions always lead to stress in the body, and there is always an underlying reason why we feel those emotions.

The reason is the thoughts we are having. There is always a "story" we tell ourselves (either consciously or unconsciously) before we experience an emotion.

When we feel fearful, anxious, or upset, we often have habits of  reacting to those emotions. For many, those emotions send them straight into food.

However, we can break that habit of reacting and instead choose to respond.

The important questions to ask are:

1) What are the thoughts I'm having right now that create the feeling of anger?

2) What are the thoughts I'm having right now that create the feeling of fear or anxiety?

When we can begin to see the stories our mind tells us that create uncomfortable feelings, we have the power to change the stories and feel better.

Most the time if we are upset or anxious and react to those feelings without understanding them first, we make them much bigger than they are.  We suffer more.

Reacting is like living in an untamed emotional state and this causes a physical response in our body. It releases unnecessary bio-chemicals that overtime lead to disease and early death (80% of illness is stress related).

These same stress chemicals also make it much more difficult to manage our eating and weight in a healthy way.

Stress not only affects our physical body, it also affects our ability to make good decisions, to solve problems, to be creative, to communicate effectively, and to learn.

Therefore, we want to interrupt our stressful thinking habits that make us feel chronically stressed.

I always tell me clients to appreciate their uncomfortable feelings as a signal to tune in and pay attention to their mind.

Because, when we understand the stories that don't serve us and that cause us unnecessary stress and suffering, we can neutralize them.

That awareness and changing of the "stories" then allows us move on in a positive direction toward more physical health, mental health, and emotional health.

Comments 2

  1. Hi, I relate to what you wrote and I wonder if you were once personally facing these issues yourself? Every email I’ve received hits home and I’ve been dealing with these things my entire life with zero exaggeration, my ENTIRE life. I’m 54, in rehab from my ankle breaking in two places, crashing to the floor and fracturing my knee. I’ve lost some weight while here from the physical therapy and the food being so disgusting. You might be surprised by my story, maybe not. I think that it’s pretty unique just like me. Thank you for your understanding and insights. I appreciate you.

    1. Hi Trease – yes I struggled with binge and emotional eating, and I’ve also worked with and been around many women who struggle, so I understand it well. I’m sorry to hear what you are going through and I’m glad what I share helps you feel connected and understood.

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