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Nutrition Counseling: Stress

 The LodeStone Center provides nutrition counseling as part of our wellness services. We have a registered dietitian who you can schedule appointments with either stand alone, or along with one of our mental health clinicians. If you would like more information, or would like to request a first visit, you can either fill out the contact form on this page and we will get in touch with you or you can also call us directly at 847-802-4058.

How Can Nutrition Counseling Help With Stress?

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain that has come from a difficult or demanding situation. We all experience stress on a daily basis, but sometimes the stress is too much and has a negative impact on our physical and emotional health. Too much stress can result in headaches, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue or tiredness, and decreased appetite, as well as changes in hormone levels that may cause unwanted weight gain. Stress impacts everyone differently. However, stressful events whether major or minor trigger a physical response in our bodies referred to as a the “fight or flight” response. This physical response causes our bodies to get ready to stay (“fight”) or leave the situation quickly (“flight”). The body does this by dumping hormones or chemical messengers such as adrenaline and extra glucose or fuel into our system. Short term stress can have a positive impact on us by helping us have more energy and focus to face difficult situations or challenges. However, chronic stress or being constantly in “fight or flight” mode results in higher levels of hormones such as cortisol that lead to unwanted weight gain as well as other negative side effects; such as, difficulty fighting off colds or infections, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, digestive problems, and depression.

Chronic stress can impact a person’s eating habits. Here are some common side effects of chronic stress and their nutritional complications:
● Changes in gut function
○ Negative impact on levels of helpful bacteria in the gut (flora)
○ Changes in digestion and absorption including slowed stomach emptying, diarrhea and/ or constipation
○ New or worsening heartburn, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel disease, altered bowel habits and chronic inflammation
○ Inhibition of the body’s ability to break down and use nutrients
● Pain & Feelings of Fatigue
○ Headaches, sleeplessness, fatigue, nausea, muscle and joint aches, tension, and changes in appetite
○ Results in malabsorption of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals due to inflammation present as a result of the stress
● Unbalanced Diet
○ Decrease in antioxidants which help reduce harmful chemical reactions that take place in the body
○ Eating a diet high in simple sugars such as sweets and sugared beverages which lead to loss of minerals such as such as chromium and magnesium which help with relaxation
○ Increase in intake of caffeine or – – to help alleviate mood changes due to anxiety or other side effects
○ Changes in mood that may impact eating habits
A personal nutrition plan created by you and your dietitian will include consideration of:
● Times of eating
● Loss of appetite
● Increased appetite and food cravings
● Mindful Eating
● Current Diet
● Estimated Nutritional Needs
If you have any questions or concerns regarding nutrition counseling, please don’t hesitate to call and speak with us. We are happy to answer questions, help look into your insurance benefits or explain how counseling might be beneficial to you. If you have questions, and would like to speak to one of our professionals, contact us today.