Have you ever felt like you were in a fog while you were eating?
You find yourself eating when you don’t really want to be, and you feel urges and cravings that seem so impossible to resist. Trying to take responsibility when I also felt so powerless in the face of food was a difficult thing to do.
I like using the garden metaphor to explain what’s going on here. You plant a seed in the soil, and then some time later, the seedling pops up. A whole bunch of biology and nature occurs deep down in the soil before that seedling ever emerges. We love to watch the garden grow, but we rarely think about what’s going on under the soil.
All of our eating behaviors – the overeating, binging, emotional eating, the fog eating – it’s like the plant we see on the surface. But it’s the stuff that’s going on deeper inside us, this is where everything really stems from.
You hear time and time again that stress contributes to weight gain. It may be easy to assume that when we are stressed, we sometimes eat more and exercise less, but there’s way more to the story than this.
This week, we will take a deep dive into a paper from UCLA published in 2019 that really gets into the nitty gritty details of how stress can lead to weight gain and also how weight gain can lead to stress. I think you’ll come to agree that obesity and stress are much more intricately related than previously thought.
First of all, though, let’s take a quick look at what exactly stress is. In this paper, the author defines stress as “a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive and behavioral changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating to its effects.”
The stress response actually dates back all the way to our caveman days. In those days, our...