Let’s talk about the physical, mental and emotional threat responses when we’re in fight or flight and how that impacts our body & food.

While certainly not fun to experience, threat responses are our body’s natural response to trauma, abuse, rejection, fears, etc. Our body naturally (and automatically) goes into instinct mode, which says survive and protect, without our consent or permission. It’s our body’s job to do that and most times it does this quite well.

When we find ourselves in these threat responses (there are 4 responses : fight, flight, freeze or fawn; this week we’re focusing on fight/flight), whether present or past, this informs the way we look at our food, our body and how we eat.

We cannot think our way out of a threat response but we can be a witness to what we’re experiencing.

The first part of that is being able to recognize the different indicators of a response.

Let’s chat about the physical, mental and emotional responses of fight or flight.

Threat Responses of Fight or Flight

Mental : racing, scattered thoughts vs. the ability to be settled, OCD, control

Emotional : defensive, rigid, emotions aren’t congruent with reality. An example of this would be eating a single cupcake and experiencing panic. You just ate a combination of protein, fat, carbs and sugar. It’s not a magical weight gain combo. Here, emotions aren’t congruent with reality.

Physical : Fast + shallow exhales, increased heart rate, braced body, constipation, substance abuse (to numb the feelings of wanting food), over-exercise

Take notice throughout the day of what case you to go into fight/flight responses and then notice how it impact your body, your food and your ability to have agency around your values.

And then consider that it’s not the way it’s meant to be if you go into a flight response when you think about what to eat for lunch.

Check out these videos below to dive deeper into the fight / flight threat responses.