If your chocolate cravings are any indication, you may have already suspected that high-fat foods are a woman's go-to snack when stressed. Now there's evidence to confirm your suspicions — UCSF recently conducted a study to examine the relationship between eating habits and chronic stress.
Researchers surveyed 600 overweight or obese women regarding their diet and stress. Issues classified as chronic stressors included job dissatisfaction, financial worries (like inability to pay rent or mortgage), or dealing with an ailing loved one. The women dealing with these taxing personal issues reported a higher likelihood of being unable to control what they ate, and a tendency to eat more fattening foods. Chronically stressed women were also more likely to force themselves to keep a regimented, strict diet to control weight gain, even skipping meals. The downside is that it's hard to keep up a regimented program, and being stressed means a plan like this is bound to backfire — ultimately there's a breaking point, and we're more likely to overeat.
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While this study may not offer any groundbreaking info, it does serve as a healthy reminder: Be conscious of when you're actually hungry, and remember, there is such a thing as emotional eating. Be more mindful of your mental health and how it affects your food choices, and make healthy eating a priority. If you need some creative, healthy snack alternatives, visit our Snack Attack group for ideas.