Stress, Emotion and Appetite

Many have been written about stress and appetite. When under stress more than the body can handle, bad things start to happen. One symptom is increasing appetite. If not managed well, the increased appetite can wreak havoc to the body, from high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, increasing weight and many more.

I experience this prolonged stress first hand on the first 6 months of 2014. We were pushing to launch a new system, and could easily spending 10 hours at office everyday, weekend included. And sometimes, I even continue for 1-2 hours at home, trading a good night sleep with 2-3 glass of wine.

During this period, I can easily feel hungry every hour. I can finish whole pack of peanut (250gr), and the next hour, will crave for a bag of potato chips. We ordered pizza for dinner, and I can easily finish 4 big slices in one seating. If in another hour, we still have leftover, I will happily finish it.

The result is easy to guess. I wrote it in detail in this post about my health turnaround. Bottom line is, my already high cholesterol hit a new record, and my blood sugar which was normally OK, is now in borderline of diabetic. I gained close to 4kg in 6 months, quite modest, as I still try to put in running in between.

Once the prolonged stress end, so does my appetite. I found myself in generally manageable stress situation, which allows another realization to uncover: Excessive amount of emotion will also alter my appetite.

There are a lot of happy moments in the 2nd half of 2014. Few family holidays, finishing several half marathon, and a full marathon, birthdays, or just some minor celebration in the office. Each of this trigger a “happy” emotion. And at the same time, I feel that my appetite increase in each of this occasion.

It is true that, some of those occasions warrant a higher appetite. Finishing a Marathon, or even Half-Marathon, for example. In this case, the increased appetite will do no harm. But most of it doesn’t really warrant more appetite. Small celebration in office with Pizzas, for example. In normal situation, when someone ordered a Pizza, I won’t be interested. But, if it is related to a celebration, such as birthday, I can easily finish 2-3 slices.

What am I going to do then? Well, removing all of my emotion like the Vulcan do definitely is not an option, as I’m not a Vulcan. Removing myself from all of these celebration is also not an option. It will make life less colorful. So, here what I’m going to do: Never come to a celebration with empty stomach. Remember, the main objective is to celebrate, to to grab all the free food that is available. Always eat before a celebration, and eat well.
There are finite amount of food that the stomach can consume at one time. And if you do eat something before celebration, and a proper food, hopefully it will limit the food that you will eat during a celebration.

Good luck with managing the appetite…….

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