Anxiety can have a huge impact on your appetite. You might find yourself worrying about what you’re eating or not eating when you’re feeling anxious. Or maybe you eat to try to calm your anxiety and find yourself eating without even tasting or enjoying your food.
- You Eat When You’re Anxious or Emotional
If you find yourself eating without tasting your food or craving a particular food when you’re anxious or upset, you might be an anxious or emotional eater. Anxious or emotional eaters often eat without paying attention to the actual food. Eating may have a calming or soothing effect on you. Often when we’re anxious we crave foods that are comforting such as carbohydrates or sweets. Or you may crave “comfort” foods such as foods you ate in childhood or foods that have comforting memories for you.
2.You Forget to Eat When You’re Anxious
While some folks over-eat to comfort anxiety you might also find yourself forgetting to eat when you’re anxious. Anxiety can create upset stomachs or make us lose track of our appetite. When your stomach is churning with anxiety it’s hard to know if you’re hungry or not. This might cause you to forget to eat or skip meals. Unfortunately, not eating meals or not eating enough can cause your blood sugar to drop and actually make symptoms of anxiety worse.
- You Aren’t Aware of Your Hunger/Fullness Cues
If you’re struggling with anxiety or emotional eating, you’re probably eating based your emotions, not your physical hunger. You might even be reading this and thinking “what’s a hunger/fullness cue?” If you’re confused that’s o.k.-you’re not alone. Your hunger cues are the signs that your body gives you that it needs fuel (food). This can include a grumbly stomach, irritability or increased salivation in your mouth. Fullness cues are the signs your body gives you when it’s had enough food. This includes your stomach feeling full or food seeming less appetizing.
When we’re anxious we often lose track of these cues. We might over-eat or under-eat or not eat the foods that our body is craving because we’re so distracted by our anxiety that we don’t notice our body. This might also cause you to eat too quickly which can create digestion problems.
You can try practicing noticing the physical cues that your body is giving you that it’s hungry (such as a grumbling stomach, food looking/smelling better, etc.) as well as the signs that you’re full (fullness in your stomach, food doesn’t look as appetizing, etc.). This can take some practice but over time you can learn to notice the difference between physical hunger and anxious eating.