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By Sanusi Grace


All of us are distinctive individuals with unique life experiences. Despite our differences, we all share a same trait: a hunger for food. We all require food on a daily basis in order to exist. We all have relationships with food since we are all humans, but the way those relationships change as a result of anxiety can have a significant impact on our health.

An uncomfortable sensation of apprehension or worry about anything that has happened or might have happened in the future is described as anxiety by the Cambridge Dictionary. People react to anxiety in different ways. For me, seeing a growling dog would cause me to remain motionless. Some individuals might run as quickly as they can. The same logic applies to why some people lose their appetite when stressed while others gain it.

Before an exam, for instance, you could experience worry and anxiety and lose the desire to eat. Your stomach may feel as though it is twisted up in knots, or the physical symptoms may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, and an increase in heart rate. Most often, some of these bodily signs make you uneasy, and you could stop eating altogether. For example, feeling nauseous can make the idea of eating seem unpleasant. Many people who suffer from anxiety have too much on their minds to focus on eating regularly.

Some people may overeat in response to anxiety in a different way. For instance, in response to feelings like disappointment, you might experience an unusual craving for example, for ice cream. Binge eating disorder (BED) is defined by the NHS as consuming enormous amounts of food till you are uncomfortable. Some people attempt to use food as a means of calming their anxiety and end up consuming abnormally large quantities of food. When it becomes a habit, individuals experience a loss of control and start to overeat. Obesity and undernutrition can result from eating too much or too little, respectively.

As a result of my frequent skipping of meals during exams, I became aware of how I could handle it better after discovering that stress can make people lose their appetite. I ensured that I drank plenty of water to stay hydrated, I scheduled my meals by setting an alarm so that I wouldn’t miss breakfast, lunch or dinner, and I ate wholesome snacks more frequently, and consumed smaller meals. Finally, I also ensured that I got enough rest.

‘I am Grace Sanusi, a Counselling Psychologist in training. I am motivated to write for Anxiety UK because I am enthusiastic about educating readers on how to support friends, family members, and those who are experiencing anxiety. I like to read, write, and play the violin in my free time.’

To access our ‘Nutrition and Anxiety – a self-help guide’ where the various components of a healthy diet in relation to stress are examined, please see here.

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected] for more information.

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