Chronic Stress

A multi-faceted reason why you might be craving sugar and fat.


Short-term stress can block hunger. But longer bouts of stress, those lasting more than four to seven days, can trigger hunger, particularly for comfort foods like sugar and fatty foods. This is because stress can affect the release of hormones like ghrelin, which can make you feel hungry.

Body fat itself can receive signals to release certain hormones such as cortisol when stressed. This can also contribute to the desire for more sugar and fatty foods.

When adrenal glands are taxed due to stress, they can affect the thyroid, decreasing its function and leading to a slower metabolism.

Lastly, cortisol production utilizes the same building blocks as testosterone, DHEA, and estrogen which means it can contribute to weight gain due to hormonal imbalances.


All that said, it's clearly not a state you want to be in. No matter how much willpower or mental energy you have, you can't beat an impulse your brain fires off 1000 times per day, weeks on end. So the question is what can you do to exit this state?

  1. Mindfulness and meditation: Regular practice of mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress levels. They help train your mind to focus on the present, reduce the frequency of negative thought patterns, and enhance mental clarity and calmness.

  2. Exercise: Regular physical activity produces endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It also improves sleep quality, which can often be negatively impacted by stress.

  3. Healthy eating: Certain foods can provide a soothing effect. Complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids have been found to moderate stress levels.

  4. Adequate sleep: Lack of sleep can amplify the body's stress reactions. Ensuring you get a good night's sleep can help regulate your body's stress responses.

  5. Social support: Connecting with others can help you manage stress levels. This can include talking about your problems with friends or loved ones, seeking professional counseling, or joining a support group.

  6. Relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or progressive muscle relaxation can help you activate the body's relaxation response, a state of rest that can help reduce stress levels.

  7. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This form of therapy can help you manage stress by changing negative thought patterns, improving problem-solving skills, and learning coping mechanisms.

  8. Time management: Effective time management can help you reduce feelings of stress by helping you manage workloads and other commitments, leading to a better work-life balance.

These are some ideas what you can do. You can discuss with your Leanrr coach or your therapist to see what works best for you.

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