It took Jane years to get her act together after years of eating fad diets and fluctuating weights.
She started eating healthy foods and the pounds started falling off.
She was feeling great at first–until she realized that her new eating habits make her moody and irritable.
Her friends and family were getting fed up with her, so she went back to her old ways of comfort eating.
Now she’s stuck in the same stressful eating cycle, and she’s not sure how to break out of it.
Stories like the one of Jane are what I hear almost daily.
People trying to lose weight only to be caught up in emotional eating.
The question they ask me most is:
How to stop emotional eating related to low mood?
Prevalence of Mood Disorders
The Archives of General Psychiatry reported that at least one in every two people will experience serious mood or mental health problems at some point in life.
In 2007, also in the Archives of General Psychiatry, it was reported that more than 9% of Americans have serious mood disorders, and 11% have anxiety disorders.
What Causes “ Low Moods”?
Stress at work, stress at home, commute, doing more in less time, feeling pressured, fatigued, tired, eating unhealthy foods.
One study showed that 80% of those with mood disorders were aware that the foods they were eating was affecting their moods often leading to a stressful eating cycle.
What Does Food Have to Do With Moods?
The nutrients in the foods we eat provide amino acids, the biological building blocks for our neurotransmitters, which are responsible for thinking and feeling. Neurotransmitters are mood-enhancing brain nutrients. Although nutrition is not the only factor that affects mood, it is a big one.
Low Blood Sugar Affects Mood
Low blood sugar contributes to mood swings and leads to emotional eating. Those with blood sugar issues usually have cravings or experience a lift from sweets or alcohol, but later experience a drop in mood and energy after ingesting them, get nervous, jittery, irritable, and inattentive on and off throughout the day; but calmer after meals, may have intermittent mental confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating?
If you think you have blood sugar issues, it’s important to speak to a nutritionist to overcome this problem.
How to stop emotional eating
Here are my seven tips to help improve your mood, prevent stress eating and reduce emotional eating
1, Avoid Low Blood Sugar
Keep blood sugar levels even. Eat three protein-rich meals a day plus snacks.
Emphasize protein and fat, reduce carbohydrates and add L-glutamine (500-1500 mg between meals) and Chromium (200 mg w B, L & D)
2, Eat Breakfast
Eating a low glycemic breakfast (high in protein or high fiber foods) improves blood sugar levels reduce appetite, prevents the stressful eating cycle, and reduces the amount of food one eats throughout the day.
3, Don’t Skip Meals
It throws off blood sugar for the entire day. Drinking coffee and skipping breakfast promotes high stress and low energy.
Download my “Balance Blood Sugar Guide” for more tips to balance your blood sugar and prevent stress eating.
4, Avoid Low-Calorie Dieting
This can be just like skipping meals with the same effect…unstable blood sugar. In addition, it can inhibit our biggest mood enhancers: serotonin and thyroid hormone.
5, Avoid Low-Fat Dieting
Fat is extremely important for our moods. Low-fat diets are associated with depression and irritability.
Additionally, low fat usually means high carb and therefore, low blood sugar, leading to mood swings, hypoglycemia, and diabetes. The brain needs certain fats to function properly.
6, Avoid Low Protein
Low protein usually translates to low energy and low mood because the brain does not have access to the amino acids it needs to make the natural antidepressants serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA.
7, Exercise Regularly
Walk for 60 minutes three times a week. This can increase serotonin levels by 100%.
Walking for 40 minutes prevents relapse into depression.
Finding the right foods to support your emotional health is important when trying to interrupt the stress-eating cycle.