Why do we turn to food in times of stress? It’s our brains!

Hey folks

On Monday, I talked about a 4 hour breakthrough session I had with an eating disorder specialist which has really helped me (you can read about it HERE). However, I held one thing back so that I could share it with you today. I don’t know but it just really clicked in my head and it’s all about stress.

One of the things possibly stopping me from giving up the anorexic behaviour is the fear if what if I put on all the weight. What if the weight just creeps on and I’m back to where I started 18 months ago? After all, we all have stress in our lives and I’ve been aware that, pre-weight loss, I could wander into the kitchen and unconsciously find myself eating. But the therapist explained something about why we can turn to food when under stress and it’s all to do with the pink part of the brain diagram: the basal ganglia.

This is what was explained to me. At any time, the basal ganglia will be thinking of about 8-10 things we could be doing. Perhaps check our emails, change the TV channel, grab a drink, tidy up the kitchen, etc . But when we’re under stress, eating often goes to the top of that list, obscuring any other option. So, we can find ourselves eating something which in turn increases the level of dopamine in our bodies which in turn reduces the stress we’re experiencing. Food can feel like it’s providing comfort for us; a culinary hug.

And this really helped me because whilst it’s to do with brain chemistry, I could see it as a linear process whereby changing my response to stress in the first place can make it less likely that I’ll turn to food. And this has given me huge comfort that once I’m back in that middle ground with my eating, I can make better choices so that I’m achieving balance in my life.

— ❤ —

But things are coming together in terms of getting support. Not only do I have an amazing therapist and a specialist eating disorder dietitian on board but I’m now in touch with a psychiatrist who seems brilliant and has already said about liaising with the other professionals. And sometimes it’s about getting the right people on board and, in my case, about creating Team Erika! I don’t know. Just feeling ‘held’ by others when things are hard feels like a good place to be so I’m really hoping that the next few weeks are going to see much progress.

And before I go, I thought I’d share my afternoon snack (snacks are new to me but I’m trying to eat little and often): blueberries with 50g of Fage 0% fat free Greek yoghurt. This isn’t easy but I’ll get there

As for my evening, England is through to the Euro 2020 semi finals so I’ll be glued to the TV tonight cheering on our lads (I’m so excited!!) and catching up on the Tour de France followed by a walk 🙂

I hope to be back here before next Monday

Take care

Love Erika

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