Well, theres the obvious….. its convenient!
It’s quick, found in most places, it stores for long, packaged and easy to eat, usually dry and not messy. A huge benefit is that it saves us a lot of cooking time and when we are stressed time feels even more of a rare commodity so snatching back some minutes with some super noodles can feel like a good option. However theres often an overlooked and deep rooted reason….
You know what you're going to get!
People ask me why people put on weight when they are stressed and that can be answers in so many ways using the science of hormone imbalance, sleep patterns and appetite.
When it comes to stress and eating we need to identify what’s going on in our mind. When we are stressed it’s usually due to the unknown outcome of a situation. Say I’m late for work…. will my boss be pissed off, not notice or not care? I have a position in the market worth a tonne of money….. will it or won’t it come good? The uncertainty, and thought of the negative creates the stress.
Convenience foods are designed to be exactly the same every time. Through the use of sugar, sweetener's, fats and E-numbers its no wonder we grab for them for comfort.
So when it comes to food and looking to it for comfort what we are actually saying to ourselves is “right everything in my life is an unknown right now however I know that a big mac is going to taste exactly the same as last time” "that mars bar will be identical to yesterdays" and "I know what I’m going to get"
The opposite is often (not always) the case with healthier foods “That salad might be nice or it could be stale, old and not particularly satisfying” "That apple might be sweet but it could also be mushy and bland". You see, the unknown drives us towards the known when we feel control slipping away.
This unfortunately is hard wired into our psyche but there is hope, we can fight back a little with some reasoning and experience.
The reasoning part is constantly reminding yourself in those moments that the better options are actually going to put you into a better space energy and health wise to deal with the stress at hand. Try and connect with your experience and remember the moments when you were stressed and made poor choices. Remember the time you grabbed for a can of coke and chips only to find that an hour later you felt even worse, knackered and ratty. The stress is still there you're just in a far worse place to deal with it.
Ending on a positive, think about feeding yourself for the challenge. Try some blueberries, green tea and a nutty superfood salad instead and before you know it you're pumped. If you’re up against it give yourself the best chance and get hydrated, eat well and take energy into the situation.