New research shows stress can make you pile on the pounds 7 years ago

New research shows stress can make you pile on the pounds

Ever wonder why you find yourself reaching for a bag of crisps or some chocolate when you’re snowed under at work or dealing with some problems? Research has found the answer. Apparently stress is the biggest cause of overeating for more than half of the country’s adults.

The Irish Daily Mirror reports that 2/3 of Irish adults are overweight and that depending on our levels of stress, the more likely we are to overeat.  And according to the research done by iReach for Slender, 58.5 per cent of us eat to try and make ourselves feel better.

“Today’s fast-paced and stressful life has given rise to alarming stress levels, and people are seeking any way they can to cope. From this research we see emotional eating is the single biggest cause of poor dietary habits in Ireland,” says Orla Walsh, a dietician and author from Dublin’s Nutrition Centre.

Ms Walsh describes food as a “coping mechanism” which people use in order to deal with daily life and the various problems and stresses that they encounter.

While women are more prone to emotional overeating, only 48 per cent of men admit to eating in order to make themselves feel better but that figure is still quite high when you take into account the rising levels of obesity in Ireland.

“Poor eating behaviour leads to weight gain and obesity and the psychological aspects of this need to be fully investigated if we are to address the fact that 6 out of 10 adults are either obese or overweight,” says Ms Walsh.

“Relationship stress or stress in an environment such as work can lead to emotional eating in another environment, such as the home and vice versa,” she adds.

What can be done to combat this overeating? A balanced diet is key, as well as becoming more mindful of what we’re putting into our bodies.

The survey also showed that almost half of young Irish people turn to alcohol rather than food when it comes to making themselves feel better.

“Emotional drinking is a very likely sign of alcohol abuse. More than one drink a day and binge drinking is likely to increase your weight,” says Orla Walsh.

It seems that as a nation we should adopt the following mantra for 2012: "Everything in moderation."