Influence of Stress on Nutrition Goals

Planning and Organization

Stress influences thinking, planning, multitasking…amongst other things. When we are stressed and preoccupied we end up going for the easy fix – like when we forget to pack a snack we go to the vending machine, or forget to pack lunch an go for fast food.


Stress hormones make us want to eat more – usually sugar, chocolate, or any those favorite foods that we usually avoid. 


While stress is influencing us to make poor dietary decisions (as well as likely drink more alcohol), it is also reducing our motivation to exercise. 


Stress also impacts our sleep. It keeps us up all night and then makes us crave snacks throughout the day to make us think that we have the energy to make it through the day.

Stress Messes With Mind and Body

It becomes a vicious cycle. We set a goal, put it into action, make progress, experience stress, breakaway from our plan, and give up. 

Then we likely feel guilty and start over.

  • Stress is real. Focus on addressing one stressor at a time. We cannot solve all of our problems at once.
  • Focus on one alternative to the methods used to combat stress (long walk, chat with a friend, distract yourself with a new activity that you enjoy, take a break/reflective moment)
  • If possible, try to avoid overcommitting.
  • Recognize the positive changes that you are making in your nutrition and health (positive self talk)
  • Find an accountability partner to work toward goals alongside you. You’re not alone!

In no way are we saying that all stress can be eliminated from our lives. Rather, let’s consider our methods for addressing stressors in support of sustaining our progress toward health goals.