Anxiety can have a profound impact on our natural hunger and satiety signals. It can cause us to have no appetite, what feels like constant hunger, or even cravings for specific foods to come up that we might not typically crave at other times. It can be hard to really honor our hunger and fullness cues throughout these times. It also can be a very frustrating experience. Why am I so hungry? Why am I wanting nothing but food X right now? Why am I not really feeling like eating? These are all frequent questions people find themselves struggling with.
So how do you deal with anxiety and how it impacts food for you? The biggest tip that seems to be helpful for those I work with is rolling with what your body is telling you. Most importantly, doing so while reminding yourself this experience, like all others, shall pass. Wanting macaroni and cheese every night? That’s ok. Trust yourself and what your body is telling you. Wanting to eat a little more than normal? That’s ok. Trust yourself and what your body is telling you. Wanting to eat a little less than you might normally? That’s ok too, with the caveat that there is a point where this becomes unhealthy and you may need to eat even in spite of lack of feeling of hunger to fuel your body.
Human beings deal with a variety of emotions on a daily basis. All of these emotions can have an impact on our appetite. Recognizing this can help take some of the stigma away from these changes when we notice them and make them easier to sit with knowing it will pass. Our appetite and food cravings are not stagnant things. These are things that can and do change with time whether driven by age, emotions, life style etc. It’s a normal part of life!
Questions about anxiety and appetite or any other food or body image concerns? Feel free to get in touch!