Why we turn to food when we're stressed

I was looking for ways to avoid turning to food when I'm stressed, because I'm stressed 24/7, and the situation probably isn't going to get better any time soon. I found this article and thought it was pretty interesting:


It doesn't help me much, but it's interesting to know the reasons why stress makes us want to eat. Now, I think I need a hot bubble bath.


  • cjpg
    cjpg Posts: 433 Member
    It's called association. Humans love patterns and part of how our brains are wired leads us to associate actions with the feelings they give us.

    Association can be a good thing, if channelled properly. It's when we learn bad habits and associate good feelings to them when it becomes dangerous.

    For instance, I was addicted to food. No questions about it. I would eat when I wasn't hungry purely because I was bored and was seeking an activity. I saw EATING as an activity, not a necessity. I learnt to associate eating with feelings of happiness and satisfaction, but also learnt to associate food as a way to de-stress. This lead to me just eating when I felt bad. My emotional ties to eating was the guiding force behind me eating when stressed.

    I like to believe I've kicked that association for the most part but I still feel the need to eat when I'm nervous or upset but my MAIN vice is when I'm overly excited! Especially when I'm at a dinner with friends having a laugh, I just go for a couple of helpings of desserts and heaps of soft drink! I think that's okay - so long as its a social thing once a week that you'll make up for in the exercise.

    Basically if you find your eating habits can be associated with emotional responses, I'd strongly recommend trying to re-train your brain to associate these emotions towards a constructive activity. When I'm stressed, bored and seeking an activity I play the guitar, go for a run or play video games - basically anything to keep my hands busy and my brain focused.

    Sorry for the essay but I've just learned that there is so much to this and it is isn't something one can just decide overnight. It takes reflection to identify problem areas and action to rectify them.

    You can do this!
  • Pauline745
    Pauline745 Posts: 22 Member
    I was so majorly stressed out last night and I was really tempted to overeat or to somehow go get a bag of chips and pig out, but....I hung in there and didn't! :happy: And I think part of the reason for this, is I know I would've had to put down all those calories of this binge in my food diary and I didn't want to do that! lol

    Also, I have finished my dishes, my kitchen is ready to cook in (I cannot stand cooking in a kitchen with full of dishes on the counter) and I'm thinking I'm gonna use my new Flavor Turbo oven soon! Probably chicken. :smile:

    Pauline :flowerforyou: