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Five Eating Patterns That Worsen Stress
Date:7/21/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Stress is a natural part of life. Yet it seems that between the economic recession, multiple health crises, and other seemingly endless things, individuals are experiencing heightened anxiety. People often deal with stress by trying to find methods that will lessen their intense emotions. However, a number of eating patterns that people develop to cope during this time actually worsen the stress.

Here are some common eating patterns that you may fall into when under stress:

1. Starting a new diet.

While it may seem like a good idea to start a new diet when you're going through a stressful time, any type of diet is stressful. This is true whether you're resolving to fast during the day, eat only one meal a day, or throw out all the junk food and start a whole new healthy eating plan.

When you're under stress, the best approach is to make tiny changes. For example, decrease the number of sodas you drink a day from ten to eight. Or better yet, just resolve to eat an extra fruit or vegetable a day. Wait to embark on larger changes until you are less stressed emotionally so as to avoid stressing yourself physically.

2. Eating more junk food than usual.

It's not uncommon to feel hungrier under stress. The extra cortisol in your bloodstream from the stress reaction can increase food cravings, especially cravings for sweets and high-fat foods. Eating sweets can increase serotonin in our brains, which makes us feel good--but so can taking a walk. Most importantly, if you do yield to your craving, eat mindfully, with your attention focused on how the food tastes and on how it feels in your mouth and your body. Mindless eating tends to lead to overeating or bingeing; by staying focused on what you're eating, you're less likely to let emotions or stress control how much and what you eat
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SOURCE The Binge Eating & Compulsive Overeating Workbook
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