At last my reasons for eating tons of chocolate when stressed is revealed! In an attempt to be healthy and domestic I was reading my favorite cookbook Eat, Shrink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski and discovered why we crave sweets when stressed. It is a relief to know that it is not just a mental thing (I already have enough issues as it is) to have a chocolate emergency kit for those days when I just can’t cope.
Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards! Why We Crave Sweets When Things Are Going Crazy!
When we are under stress, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline rise. These stress hormones take sugar out of your liver and rush it into your blood, making energy readily available for fight or flight. I suppose if you are going to need to lift a car off someone or be chased by bears this could be beneficial but really how often does that happen nowadays? In this day and age most or our stress is mental rather than physical but our bodies don’t know the difference. Once the stress is gone, our bodies insist on replacing the sugar stolen from our livers (ahhhh-enter the delicious chocolate cravings). To do that, stress hormones make us hungry, especially for sweets.
Over long periods of time, too much cortisol wreaks havoc on your system, disturbing your sleep, lowering your immunity, and eating away at the muscle you need to burn fat. It also encourages the body to store abdominal fat for easy burning during stressful times. Since the body’s stress reaction doesn’t have an automatic “off” switch it’s up to you to find a way-mental or physical-to shut it down. Find something that relaxes you in those stressful times. Exercise, meditating (I always think of the ocean), a relaxing bath, reading your favorite book, whatever works for you. Amazing how clever our physical bodies are trying to help us out but now we just need to find a way to work together so that we do not gain weight and live on those delicious yet generally unhealthy sweets.
P.S. Sandi at Pregnant With Cancer passed on an award to me which I will post next time around. Woohooo! Thank you Sandi!