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Why we crave when stressed?

When we experience stress, we crave the “happy” chemicals produced in our brains and guts.

Specifically, in an acute physiological stress response, cortisol raises blood sugar to give you the energy that you need to run away from the bear that’s chasing you or respond to the situation that has you stressed.  Once the acutely stressful situation has passed, your blood sugar lowers again.  

This lowering of blood sugar is why you crave food, sweets, or a beer after doing something stressful or physically taxing in a stressful way. You may be inclined to reach for something that not only raises your blood sugar again but also gets you that dopamine fix. The best thing to do when you feel this way is to reach for a source of energy right for your metabolic type.

Emotional eating comes from using food to feel better.  To overcome emotional eating, you need a pattern interrupt and a habit replacement.  You may need something that stops you from doing what you typically would do. That can include reaching for food to feel better but still causing you to experience the happy chemicals that caused you to seek comfort food in the first place.

This will be different for everyone, but our brains are so awesome – there are so many reasons your brain will hook you up with some dopamine.  

Eating a clean diet according to your metabolic type and getting good sleep increases your body’s ability to produce dopamine, so you won’t need to get it from big guns like sugar and alcohol.  

There are other things that you can do to get you that dopamine hit: 

Scratching a dog’s belly?  Dopamine.  

Hugs and high fives? Dopamine.  

Listening to your favorite song and breaking it down unabashedly?  Dopamine.  

Exercise? Dopamine.  

Sunshine!  Dopamine. 

Optimal is possible.   

You can overcome emotional eating by choosing a source of dopamine other than food!

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