Hey Friends! How’s it goin?
Remember my rant last week? Well, somewhere in there I may have mentioned that I hadn’t cooked anything for a week plus. That’s an understatement. I haven’t even been to the grocery in more than 2 weeks.
My impending unemployed/homeless/student status was weighing on me and I sort of gave up on any semblance of a planned healthy life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me.
I have many issues, but today I wanna tackle one in particular
Negative impacts of Stress on Nutrition
When I’m stressed, I tend to self-sabotage and make myself even more stressed.
Blog post due tomorrow? I’ll read a book all night and leave 2 hours to write in the AM.
Full week ahead? I’ll sleep in on Sunday, do no grocery shopping or meal prepping and add worrying about healthy eating on the fly to the mix.
I know I’m not alone in my loss of healthy habits when stressed. Many people turn to caffeine, skip meals or overindulge in high sugar, high fat foods. Speaking from experience, none of these are good coping mechanisms.
During times of high stress there is a higher than normal turnover of fat, protein and carbs so our bodies’ need for nutrients actually increases. When we skip meals and stop maintaining a proper diet our nutrient needs can’t be met, and health and energy decline.
High Sugar, High Fat Foods
When I’m stressed and not skipping meals, I’m reaching for comfort food. Breads, baked goods and chocolates are my usual fare in these times, especially during an energy slump after missing a meal. But, apart from the negative effects of eating sugar filled foods, using them as a quick energy booster leads to a vicious cycle of getting a quick fix, crashing and doing it all over again. Doesn’t exactly scream health does it?
I’ve spoken of the negative effects of caffeine before but here’s a recap: Caffeine can give you the immediate energy boost you’re looking for, but the effects are short lived. Plus, if you drink too much of it, eventually you’ll start to feel jittery, restless and irritable and eventually even more stressed. Talk about self-sabotage.
How’s about we stick to water instead?
4 Tips to avoid forgoing Nutrition when Stressed
1. Shop for healthy foods and prep meals
Yes, you’re stressed and probably strapped for time, but taking an hour and a half to go to the grocery and prep some meals isn’t the end of the world (this is something I need to remember). You’d probably spend longer than that searching for food during the week anyway- and stressing yourself out in the process.
Keep healthy food on hand and set yourself up to make healthy choices during the times you’re least likely to.
2. Eat Breakfast every day
This isn’t a breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day thing but a make-breakfast-a-habit thing. If you get into the habit of eating breakfast everyday, you’ll be less likely to skip it when you’re stressed. It’ll become almost a automatic for you to eat when you wake up and skipping breakfast will hopefully be a thing of the past.
3. Set Meal Alarms
The breakfast-habit thing works because it’s the first meal of the day. You haven’t really had time to get engrossed in your stressful life as soon as you get up. But other meals are not that easy to fit in.
My trick is to set alarms for lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. The alarm goes off and reminds you that you need to eat. You grab one of your already prepared healthy meals, devour and get on with your busy, stressful life.
4. Get Enough Sleep
I’m always touting the power of a good night’s sleep so this shouldn’t be a surprise. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night helps keep you on an even keel. You won’t be as tired, so the stress won’t seem as impossible to manage. And, it’ll help with the food and caffeine cravings. One stone, three birds- BOOM.
What about you?
How is your nutrition affected in times of stress? Do you have any tips to add?
Share in the comments below!
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