It’s fair to assume you currently have some stress in your life. It’s important
to know what we can do nutritionally to support our health and reduce negative impacts from stress. I’ll outline some of the key points to consider
Eat small and often
In times of stress your body is burning through more carbohydrates for
energy. It’s therefore common for those under stress to experience low
blood sugar levels, as demand for glucose is higher.
This can result in hypoglycemia, or at the very least, to increased cravings
for sugar. Those with high stress levels are typically on a constant blood
sugar rollercoaster and always looking for their next sugar fix. On top
of this, they rely on stimulants such as coffee and sodas to see them
throughout the day.
These uncontrollable food urges are likely to cause overeating, as the body
constantly strives for homeostasis to balance blood sugar levels. And that
overeating generally leads to weight gain.
It is important for those with a sweet tooth to eat regularly throughout
the day, with consistent meal timings. The goal should be to never go
Meals should be nutritionally balanced with adequate protein, fats and
carbs from high quality food sources. Sugary food, caffeine and alcohol
should be limited as these have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.
Don’t Fast (YET)
Intermittent fasting (IF) has become one of the most debated modern
nutrition protocols, and rightfully so because it breaks a lot of rules. For decades we have been told to eat every 2-3 hours and to eat breakfast upon
waking to ‘kick-start’ our metabolism for optimal body composition and
health. IF goes against this by reducing meal frequency and delaying breakfast.
Many fasting protocols suggest eating less during the day and feasting at
Fasting isn’t a tool I’d recommend for those with high stress levels as
it puts even more pressure on the adrenals to maintain a level of blood
When recommending IF protocols it’s important for the user to be in a good
state of health, already eating whole unprocessed foods, getting sufficient
sleep, managing stress and exercising well. It should therefore be used as
an addition to an already effective and consistent training and nutrition
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, and this becomes
more apparent during times of stress. To provide the energy to support
recovery from the stress, follow a higher carbohydrate diet.
A low calorie intake during stressful times or recovery from high stress will
only heighten the depletion of glycogen, breakdown of muscle tissue and
put more demand on the adrenals.
Therefore you should look to eat at ‘calorie maintenance’ level or a slight
surplus during stressful times.
Ready to start reducing your stress just a little?
Collab with me for a few minutes 10 minute before the weekend and see how Coach V's 2-Week Habit-based Nutrition Coaching Series can help you.
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