Stress has been written about extensively as one of the major causes of illness and it is also one of the major causes of sugar cravings, and over-eating in general, since when we have a lot of stress our bodies are telling us to give some relief. Relief can be rest, something many of us don’t get enough of, or it can be in heightened cravings for food, especially sweets and starches that give us a quick lift in energy. Dopamine seems to be the key, for it rises or falls accordingly as we have more or less stress, be it real or perceived.
I live on the east coast and recently we had to deal with the ravages of Hurricane Irene; while we are about twenty five miles from the shore, just the concern over high winds, downed trees, etc, created quite a lot of stress. In my area power was off for two days, and for thousands is still off, which means a whole host of problems like inability to cook, keep food in freezers from melting, etc. I’m in the country, on a well, so no water. Fortunately, with the good forecasting, we filled our tubs with water and could handle most household concerns.
Stress, both real and self-imposed, is a major problem for those who are sugaraholics, for all people under stress have to deal with problems of one sort or another. Sleep is a major, since it often goes out the door with high stress; anger management is another effect; increased anxiety is the one that usually leads to our desire for comfort foods.
The long and short of it is to recognize if you are under unusual stress. One confounding issue is that stress can be caused by the very same things identified as symptoms, so a person can get in a self-perpetuating cycle of stress related symptoms. Lack of sleep stresses the body which causes the body to react by further inhibiting sleep; a real catch-22.
If you find yourself repeatedly giving in to cravings, look to what may be stressing in your life. Deal with that, and often the cravings will go away. I’m still working on this one myself, since like many people I’m a past master of worrying about this and that, regardless of my ability to change things. I try to meditate and find time to get away to myself, and recommend this to anyone who is experiencing a lot of stress. A walk, listening to music, engaging in a hobby, and so on; these are all great stress relievers.
Just remember, that eating sugar-starch-artificial sweeteners will only increase your stress since most of us immediately have guilt over such responsive eating episode.
Working the plan and believe the plan will work for me.
Nan aka Sugarbaby