Here’s what an expert has to say…
Author Srishti Sabharwal
Senior Features Writer
So, you’re working on an assignment that’s taking forever to get done with and definitely giving you sleepless nights. Next thing you know your hand is reaching out for a packet of chips. Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there. A certain level of stress brings with itself the need to binge eat. There’s a reason it’s called ‘stress eating’! But why does this happen in the first place? We spoke to Bangalore-based Nutritionist and Food Coach, Anupama Menon to understand stress and how to manage it so you can prevent emotional eating.
What Is Stress?
Anupama beautifully explains what stress is and why a little bit of stress is actually good for us, “When a stone pedals down into the water, stress produces the ripple effect that drives the water into a radius it otherwise only hopes to achieve. And that’s what stress is supposed to do. Good stress is meant to drive us, make us achievers and help us push our limits. But when stress overflows into everything else that matters in your life, affecting it in ways you are not encouraged about, it’s time to break the commotion and restore some semblance of order in your life again!” says Menon.
That’s true for pretty much everything in life. It’s impossible to find balance in extremes. To channel stress positively, it’s important to take it in doses.
How To Manage Stress
Managing your stress levels is key to controlling your stress eating habits. “You don’t have to kill the stress, it’s like killing your drive. Keep the adrenaline flowing and stop well before you get acrimonious,” says Menon.
There’s very little you can do to control the food cravings if you can’t control the stress first. With help from the expert, we’ve devised a set of guidelines that’ll prevent you from getting stressed out too easily.
1. Make A Few Additions to Your Daily Diet
Nuts, 2 tsps ghee and about 10-15 gms of dark chocolate daily can help minimise food cravings that invariably accompany stress.
2. Maintain A Routine
Regulate your sleep times well within a time frame of half an hour. If you intend to or sleep daily at 11 PM, don’t let it stretch beyond 11:15 PM and don’t allow yourself to hit the pillow before 10:45 PM. This kind of regulation will bring in a pattern that will signal your body to rest at an indicated time, sleep will be restful and be summoned quickly
3. Meditate Daily
Meditate daily for 10-15 minutes. There is no key to meditation, so don’t wait to learn a method. A quiet spot where no one can reach you for some time, one where you can sit straight-backed and listen to your own breath and trace its pattern is good enough for a start.
4. Relax And Rejuvenate
Make time for friends and family and include any kind of exercise (preferably outdoors) in your daily routine. Every day, not just during the weekend. It’s a great way to relax and definitely a healthier alternative to stress eating!
5. Get Your Supplements!
Drink vegetable infused water (water infused overnight with cut cucumber, lemon and mint) as they can help restore your body into an alkaline zone, stress tends to make your body acidic.
You can also try adaptogens like ashwagandha, ginseng, phosphatidylserine – they help in balancing the hormones that go astray purely as an after effect of chronic stress. But remember, their effects are only supplemental in nature.
Follow these five guidelines and maintain a healthy lifestyle and you’ll shake the stress away…slowly but surely!