Stress & Binge Eating

By Tess Donnelly

College is a stressful time for every student, especially when exams can be worth up to half your final grade. A semester is jam packed into sixteen weeks of endless papers, assignments and exams that all lead up to one week of non-stop scrambling to understand every bit of information possible. How are we expected to cope under the pressure?

The pressure to perform successfully can be overwhelming and intimidating. There are several ways an individual can choose to handle this pressure. For a lot of people when the going gets ruff, who can refuse the satisfying taste of a cookie?

Our mood plays a large role on what we choose to eat, which is ironic because the food we eat also has the ability to make us feel a certain way. An apple can make you feel energize while reaching for a bag of potato chips can make you feel drowsy.

Bad habits can lead to even worst outcomes. Binge eating is an example of a habit that causes negative consequences. Unfortunately resisting extra sweets and treats during stressful study sessions can be almost impossible. When you are dealing with stress, a scoop of ice cream could lead to the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Being aware of the dangers of binge eating and alternative coping methods is important for your health.

Binge eating is the most common form of an eating disorder. The term is characterized as an uncontrollable episode of eating where an individual consumes a large amount of food at one time. This behavior can be caused by genetic, biological or environmental factors. For example, a desk covered with textbooks and endless study guides.

This behavior can have severe consequences and be a potentially life-threatening condition. There is a correlation between health risks for an individual with a binge eating disorder and clinical obesity. High blood pressure, heart disease and type II diabetes are also possible consequences that can occur from a binge eating habit.

The good news is that there are several ways to combat this unruly habit and method of coping. Next time you find yourself in need of a study break, try one of these options before hitting the candy aisle.

1. Take a step outside. Stretching out your muscles in the fresh air will help you feel more awake and alert.

2. Socialize during study breaks to rest and refresh your mind.

3. Clean your room and clear your mind. Tidying up your space can be relaxing and studying in an organized area will help you to focus.

4. Refresh your mind, body and senses with a shower.

5. Take a deep breath. Deep breaths in and out stimulate a sense of calm throughout the body.

6. Boost your energy and bring out the kid in you by coloring in a coloring book.

7. Stimulate productivity by checking off a simple errand on your to do list.

8. Treat yourself to a healthy snack. Carrots and hummus or edamame are two great options that will leave you feeling satisfied and in good spirits.

Happy studying!

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